Olympics

Sexist Country Club Set To Host Golf At 2020 Olympics

Tokyo's governor, however, isn't having it

Olympics
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike — AFP/Getty Images
Jan 13, 2017 at 12:05 PM ET

Golf is a bit of a misfit sport at the Olympics. Several of the top males skipped last summer’s Rio Games and remain skeptical of professionals’ inclusion. The inaccessibility of the sport to a large percentage of the world, due to cost and geography, is another issue. Those concerns are debatable, but this one should not be: Gender exclusion persists in many highfalutin, old-fashioned, sexist country clubs—including the one slated to host the 2020 Olympic event in Japan.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who previously has called for less largesse in Olympic public spending, is now taking the scheduled Olympic venue, Kasumigaseki Country Club, to task for prohibiting women from becoming full members. Women reportedly aren’t even allowed to play its courses even as guests on Sundays.

“I feel very uncomfortable about women not being able to become a regular member in this era,” Koike said to reporters.

This is problematic already in a “this is the 21st century, for crying out loud” kind of way, but it’s further an issue because its exclusion runs contrary to the very nature and spirit of the Olympics.

The role of the International Olympic Committee, per the Olympic charter, is pretty clear: “to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement” and “to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women.”

Furthermore, consider the very first independent clause of the Olympic creed: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part.” Well, half the population can’t take part here.

Just as the Muirfield club near Edinburgh in Scotland fell out of the rotation for the British Open because of its lack of female members, so too should the IOC intervene here and prepare to choose a new Olympic golf course unless the Kasumigaseki Country Club changes its policy. This isn’t hard.