Olympic host course un­de­cided over rule changes to al­low women as full mem­bers

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

Board mem­bers at the club that will host the 2020 Olympic golf tour­na­ment failed to make a de­ci­sion about chang­ing their pol­icy of ex­clud­ing women as full mem­bers.

The Ka­sum­i­gaseki Coun­try Club came un­der scru­tiny re­cently when the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee in­quired about the club’s mem­ber­ship prac­tice. The is­sue sur­faced in mid-Jan­uary when Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urged Ka­sum­i­gaseki to ad­mit women as full mem­bers.

The club’s board of di­rec­tors con­vened a meet­ing in Tokyo on Tues­day to dis­cuss the is­sue but didn’t reach any con­clu­sions. All 15 board mem­bers have to agree to change the club’s by­laws. Ki­ichi Kimura, the chair­man of the board, ex­pressed be­wil­der­ment at the predica­ment.

“We dis­cussed how we should re­spond af­ter we ask our mem­bers how they feel,” Kimura said. “It’s ex­tremely annoying the sit­u­a­tion has evolved into what it is so quickly. Right now, we’re con­fused.”

Founded in 1929 as a pri­vate club funded by about 300 wealthy men, Ka­sum­i­gaseki is one of the old­est and most pres­ti­gious clubs in the coun­try and has hosted more top level tour­na­ments than any other Ja­panese course. To join Ka­sum­i­gaseki, an ap­pli­cant needs to ob­tain a ref­er­ence from a cur­rent mem­ber and pay 8 mil­lion yen ($70,800) to be­come a reg­u­lar mem­ber first, then pay an ad­di­tional 4 mil­lion yen ($35,400) to be a full mem­ber. The club does not al­low women to be­come full mem­bers or play on Sun­days. Only full mem­bers can play any day of the week.

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