Kunin: Golf In A Burka

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(Host) The August national golf club’s decision to continue to deny membership
to women has prompted a response from former Vermont Governor and commentator Madeleine Kunin.

I hadn’t thought that women were particularly dangerous golfers. Could
that be the reason that the Augusta National Golf club refuses to take
down its "No Women Allowed" sign?

I wonder what the male members
of the club are afraid of. Could they be thinking like the Taliban,
that women are too sexually distracting to play with or even in the
proximity of men? Perhaps if women wore Burkas and covered themselves
from head to toe – and I respect those who wear them – male golfers
would feel less threatened. But then again, Burkas would create a
terrible golf handicap.

It’s hard to take a swing when your arms
are restricted by the equivalent of a walking sleeping bag. It’s even
harder to see around corners, or even straight ahead, when you’re
confined to slits of light no bigger than a peep hole. But Burkas would
protect male golfers from being exposed to bare armed, bare ankled and
bare faced women.

On second thought, wearing them could be quite
dangerous for women. How could they dodge a bad shot from another
golfer? Male golfers could be at risk as well. What if a burka clad
woman were mistaken for a tree?. Suddenly, a shot comes from nowhere. No
time to duck.

Maybe it’s female competition they’re afraid of.
Not too likely, since women play in women’s tournaments and men play in
men’s tournaments, just like boys and girls bathrooms. No one goes in
the other door, except by mistake.

Maybe it’s the IDEA of having
women on what has traditionally been male turf that is so upsetting. It
seems that men, after all, can get emotional about that. You can’t play
with us. It’s our game and we’re going to keep it that way. The fear of
male and female golfers mingling – yes mingling – may go
back to the hunter-gatherer days. We hunt and gather, you cook and

A golf club may be a dangerous weapon, as Tiger Woods
discovered when his wife attacked him with one, but I have not yet heard
of a deer being killed by a golf club, even during hunting season in

It could be that women are denied admission at this
exclusive club – even when they are the female CEO of IBM and, one of
the sponsors of the Masters tournament – because they might blush at
dirty jokes or disapprove of foul language. I for one, have not seen a
woman blush in some time.

The good news is that Barack Obama and
all the past and present Republican Presidential candidates, including
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, are in favor of opening the Augusta gates
to women.

What does that mean? It could mean that if the
Augusta National Golf Club is afraid of letting women in, the
Presidential candidates are afraid of keeping them out. Hmm. Women may
be powerful, after all.

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