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Olympic golf venue amends membership policy to fully include women

20 March 2017, 07:52 | Joan Schultz

The club scheduled to hold the 2020 Tokyo Olympics golf events voted to admit women as full members yesterday, scrapping an all-male policy that had been heavily criticised and put its hosting rights in jeopardy.

"I'd like to extend my gratitude to the members of the club for their understanding and cooperation", Mori said in a statement.

The first female governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, has said she felt "very uncomfortable that women can not become full members in this day and age".

Kasumigaseki Country Club voted to permanently change its membership policy today at an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Board.

Kasumigaseki Country Club, which is located about 30 miles outside of Tokyo and founded in 1929, had barred women from becoming full members that would give them various rights to the club, including playing on Sundays. The famed Augusta National Country Club, which hosts the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia, every April, admitted former Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice and prominent private investor Darla Moore as its first female members in 2012.

"I also would like to express my admiration for the club's endeavour to come to an agreement in such a short period of time".

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The vote came amid threats from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that another venue would be chosen if they didn't change their policy on gender.

Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo, was critical of the rules as well.

Kasumigaseki had come under intense pressure from the International Olympic Committee who earlier this month threatened to strip the club of the competition unless they admitted women members.

It led to calls for the venue in Saitama prefecture to be switched to an alternative location such as the Wakasu Golf Links.

Meanwhile, Olympic silver medalist Lydia Ko said she hoped the notion of golf as a men's game could left behind in "the past generations", stressing how popular the women's game has become in Japan. Within a few years of its opening, the club started allowing female players.



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