Just two months after Muirfield members cast their vote to accept female members; this letter was forwarded to me.
It was found crumpled in a side street bin in Gullane. Its author, Beryl, must have had second thoughts before sending. I present the letter in its entirety as a plea:
Beryl, get in touch. I have an answer to your question.
Ever since the vol-au- vent catastrophe of ’09 you have owed me a favour.
As you are aware, my husband and niece are both keen golfers with a very different outlook on the sport.
After a recent turn of events, their quarrelling has become unbearable. I am hoping you can repay the favour you owe by answering a vital question.
Before I ask, let me take you back to the morning of the 20th March. Reginald was polishing his clubs and I had invited Emma over for croissants.
As usual, they were arguing.
Reginald was screaming from the orangery. Emma was talking at him and he wanted it to stop.
She was asking whether he had voted to allow female members at his club because ‘golf is already intimidating enough, particularly for young girls, without attitudes like his being so prevalent in the game.’
Reginald tried to ignore her when she told him of a time a member had stopped her from entering a clubhouse before walking in with his dog – what did she expect, that he leave his Chow Chow out in the rain?
I could see my husband was becoming distressed so I took my place by his side and stroked his first chin. I told him to go to his special place – it’s a scene from Mad Men where some young cad forces a lady to show him the colour of her undercrackers – he shut his eyes, put a pillow on his lap, and hummed the national anthem.
But Emma kept badgering, ‘Why are you so afraid of women?’, ‘Why are you so terrified by change?’, ‘Why are you so against me golfing?’
‘IT’S NOT A VERB.’ He roared.
Reginald could take no more. His cheeks wobbled as he flew into a rage. I hadn’t seen him this furious since he overheard the church playgroup sing Baa Baa Rainbow sheep.
I tried to soothe his temper by letting him rest his hand on my side bottom. But it was too late.
He stood up.
‘You asked for it, Missy.’ He told her.
He said that a real woman is to be enjoyed, that she doesn’t bully, and isn’t forward.
He said a real woman is delicate. Pardon my effing and jeffing, Margaret, but he put that girl in her ruddy place.
Reginald told her that it was his type of attitude that made the sport exactly what it is, and that without it, golf would be completely different.
But Emma continued. She told him that ‘despite participation in sport never being higher, over the last ten years it had actually consistently decreased in golf.’
I could see that Reginald was getting upset again, so I tried to entice Emma to the kitchen with a plate of fig rolls. Nevertheless, she persisted.
She said that female participation in the sport had remained at a ‘staggeringly low fourteen percent,’ and that ‘despite all the positive campaigns, any good work is instantly undone when a lifted veil reveals such an ugly face.’
It was such an unfair attack, Margaret. Reginald loves his women. He just doesn’t want any fussing with them.
Emma said that all she wants is equality.
Well, Reginald hates that word, more than when a children’s’ nursery rhyme is ruined by political correctness gone mad.
‘So it’s equality you want is it?’ He told her, ‘well, Buttercup, if you think you’re so equal, maybe you should step into the ring with the heavyweight champion of the world. Maybe a couple of healthy bops on the nose from a strapping gent will teach you a lesson. Or a swift hook delivered by his rippling, oiled, naked, bulging, sweaty, pulsing... ... fist.’
And then he sat back down for a few minutes with a pillow on his lap, humming the anthem again.
I gave him a celebratory fig roll and patted his flat backside on his way to play his morning round. He left with such a spring in his step that his tweed plus fours almost dropped loose.
You see, Margaret, the truth hurts this pampered generation, and if they disagree they need to learn to just keep their mouths shut. There’s no such thing as a safe space in the real world.
But, when Reginald returned from his men-only clubhouse, he was subdued.
The members had voted to admit ladies.
Reginald thinks it’s only a matter of time before there will be denim and Lidl shopping bags in the pro shop.
I tried to console him. I told him nothing would change.
‘You’re right,’ he said, ‘Vote or not, surely even ladies can get the message in their pretty little heads. Why would a woman want to join a club that had to be forced to have them as its member?’
Despite these final words of optimism, we both knew things wouldn’t be the same.
Now he frequently wakes in a cold sweat, mumbling of nightmares about girls in the same room, or gossiping on the driving range, or sobbing on the practice green.
He has told me our niece is no longer welcome in his house.
I had no idea my husband was so delicate.
So, my vital question:
Should I use arsenic or cyanide for a 17st dinosaur?
Aspiring author. Experienced teacher. Inadequate father. Brilliant husband. I have been known to tweet about golf.