Tokyo 2020 Golf Venue Changes Policy on Women to Keep Olympic Games

by Maura Hutchinson

The private Kasumigaseki Country Club in Japan has voted to change its policy on female members in order to keep its status as the Olympic golf venue for Tokyo 2020.

It was announced on Monday that the club’s board of directors voted unanimously to admit women as full members. Before this week’s vote female golfers were forbidden from playing at the club on Sundays and weren’t allowed full membership. Earlier this month it was widely reported that the International Olympic Committee had told the venue it would find another golf course to host the games if it didn’t change its policy.

With Monday’s decision it looks like Kasumigaseki will indeed host both the men and women’s events in July and August 2020. Something the Olympic organisers seem pleased about.

“On behalf of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, I’d like to extend my gratitude to the members of the club for their understanding and cooperation,” committee president Yoshiro Mori said in a statement. Adding, “I also would like to express my admiration for the club’s endeavour to come to an agreement in such a short period of time.”
March seems to be a time of change for archaic golf clubs as less than a week ago Muirfield in Scotland also voted to admit female members. This came after the club’s first vote on the issue last year went against the inclusion of women, a decision that led the R&A to strip Muirfield of its Open venue status.

While it should be seen as great progress that golf’s governing bodies and Olympic committee are pushing for change and equality in the game is it a bit disappointing that it takes the threat of losing big events (like The Open and the Olympics) for these golf clubs to make the move to include women? A decision we see as pretty straightforward in the modern age of golf.