THOSE who lobbied for girls to be allowed to play in club teams in Halifax, Huddersfield Junior League matches have won the day.
Girls up to 18 can now play in matches alongside boys “as guests”, the Union executive committee have agreed.
But the new move is for a two-year trial period only and the situation will be reviewed after 12 months.
While Junior League rules have been changed to permit girls to play for their clubs, the Union’s Constitution – among its objects is to co-operate with the strictly-male Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs – will not be changed so girls cannot be eligible for Union junior teams.
Furthermore, Yorkshire Inter-Union committee rules allow only male players to be involved in inter-union matches.
The question of girls’ involvement was raised at an executive meeting as far back as a year ago after three member clubs urged the move, but it was concluded it would not be in the best interests of the Union’s ideals.
Opposition to the suggestion again arose when the question was aired at an executive meeting early this year and on behalf of the executive, past Union president David Balderstone (Huddersfield) wrote to all clubs informing them of the executive’s decision of not being in favour of girls being members of junior club teams.
His letter said such a move would be detrimental to the aims of the Union, and that was recorded in the executive minutes. And by reducing the number of boys in teams by accommodating girls would affect boys gaining experience and “reduce the number and quality of players available to represent the Union at both junior and adult levels.”
The question of girls, who have few playing opportunities outside club competitions, competing alongside boys nevertheless got the go-ahead to be discussed at the Union’s annual meeting last month.
Though a vote was not allowed, a large number of clubs indicated they would be in favour, which in turn persuaded the executive to change their decision at their next meeting.
Junior teams consist of four players with girls being invited as guests. The league will be divided into two divisions and matches will be played off handicap over 18 holes.
The stroke allowance to the higher handicap golfer will be the full difference between the two players’ handicaps plus – for mixed matches – the girl will also get the difference, in full, between the ladies’ and men’s standard scratch score.
When a girl is receiving shots these will be taken from the ladies’ stroke index, a boy receiving shots will take them from the men’s stroke index. The handicap limit is 24 for boys and 30 for girls. Higher handicaps will be reduced to these limits
The Union has called a meeting of all clubs at Fixby on April 21 to familiarise them with the situation.
New members of the Union executive are Tommy Ward, a past captain at Longley Park, who will be involved in the junior set-up, and Marsden’s James Washington, secretary of the Halifax, Huddersfield Alliance who will act as assistant to Union secretary John Lawrence