THE UNPLAYABLE LIE: The Untold Story of Women and Discrimination in American Golf by Marcia Chambers

THE UNPLAYABLE LIE: The Untold Story of Women and Discrimination in American Golf

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KIRKUS REVIEW

For a sport that promotes itself as ""the game for a lifetime"" for everyone, golf has a pretty sorry record where women are concerned, and Chambers recounts some of the key battles. When the second US Open was held in 1896, the United States Golf Association's leadership bravely allowed John Shippen, who was half black, half Native American, to play. Regrettably, the sport has had a less brilliant track record over the rest of its American history; but in the wake of the Shoal Creek scandal surrounding that country club's exclusionary membership policy, things have begun to improve for minority men. Not so for women. Chambers, whose unusual credentials (contributing editor to Golf Digest and a columnist for the National Law Journal) make her uniquely qualified to tell this story, recounts the various ways in which private country clubs have traditionally given women golfers the shaft. Providing a wealth of anecdotal evidence, she shows how women are excluded from full membership by many clubs. Barbara Litrell, publisher of McCall's, found that the prestigious Wykagyl Country Club would allow her husband to be a member but not her, even though her company was paying the initiation fee. We also see how women whose marital status changes are unfairly discriminated against (unlike men, widowed or divorced women who remarry must often pay new initiation fees), and how determined individuals have fought back with mixed results. At a time in which the sport is experiencing a continuing boom, with 37% of all new players being female, the issue is one with a growing impact in the sports world. Unfortunately, although the book is well researched and reported, it is rather drily written and awkwardly structured, with an uneasy mix of history and activist how-to. Despite its shortcomings, a useful study of one of the less examined dark corners of American sport.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Pocket