The report highlighted four private clubs in the Chicago area that restrict women from stepping foot on the golf course, in the clubhouse and even driving into the parking lot.
NBC 5 Chicago recently produced a feature on gender exclusivity at four clubs in the Chicago area that all exclude women to some degree.
Butler National Golf Course in Oak Brook, Ill., NBC 5 reported, has not hosted a PGA or USGA tournament in twenty years because of its admissions policy. Old Elm Club in Highland Park, Ill., Bob O’Link Golf Club in Highland Park, Ill., and Black Sheep Golf Club in Sugar Grove, Ill. were also cited as examples of clubs that do not allow women anywhere, from the golf course to the clubhouse or anywhere on the property.
Old Elm allows women inside the club once a year to buy holiday gifts in the pro shop for Christmas, NBC 5 reported.
“All of these are signals to women to say that they are second-class citizens,” Veronica Arreola, a professor who studies gender issues at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told the station. “Not only that they’re not worthy of membership, but they’re not even worthy to walk through the door.”
NBC 5 pointed out in its report that instituting such rules at a private club is not illegal as long as the club remains officially private, does not take certain tax or federal exemptions, and adheres to certain laws.
“You have to be careful that you are truly a private club, that you don’t allow people to come off the street, and you don’t use the facility for public functions,” said Vince Solano, owner of Black Sheep GC.
“It might be discriminatory, because every time you make a choice, you’re discriminating against the other non-choice,” Solano said. “But it’s not illegal. It’s a private club, and under the rules of the land you have a right to gather and have your own club.”