Country Club Initially Refuses To Let Woman Play In Golf Tournament

By Ken MacLeod, WBZ-TV

WESTMINSTER (CBS) – Amanda Fadden loves golf — despite the frustrations.

The 27-year-old Leominster native has played virtually since she could walk.

But something that just happened off the course infuriates her.

“Everything was good,” says Fadden, “until my brother got a phone call saying ‘She can’t play!'”

Amanda and her brother, Matt Paradise, have played together since they were toddlers, learning from their Dad at the Westminster Country Club.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports

So when her little bro invited her to play at the club’s member-guest tourney this weekend, she was stunned when the club insisted the event was for men only.

“They came up with these lame excuses,” says a frowning Fadden. “They said ‘There could be swearing on the golf course.’ They didn’t want me to be around swearing. And they were afraid I might beat somebody and that might have repercussions.”

Amanda has always hit from the men’s tees, and won trophies playing with the boys at St. Bernard’s in high school. So she just couldn’t believe what she was hearing — especially after a lady golfer on the Cape sued a Dennis club for discrimination under very similar circumstances and won.

Some other golfers we found on the driving range Monday afternoon were also disbelieving.

“What’s the harm?” asked Jerry Portante as he hammered a bucket of balls. “Who’s she hurting?”

But Donald Leblanc, General Manager at the Westminster Country Club, argued his club was not discriminating against women because it also offers both ‘ladies only’ and ‘mixed’ events.

“Here we are in 2011,” says Fadden, “and stuff like this is still going on — where women can’t do what men do. It’s really sad.”

Come Monday evening, however, the board at the Westminster Country Club apparently had a change of heart.

That’s when General Manager Leblanc acknowledged that barring Fadden was a mistake — not to mention legally indefensible.

So from now on — Leblanc pledged — all tournaments at the club will be gender blind.

While happy with that, Amanda Fadden is still sorry the debate had to veer off the cart path along the way.

“It’s just unfortunate,” she says, “that what could’ve been a positive, turned into a negative.”

As for the tourney this weekend, she and her brother have already made plans to golf together — elsewhere.

But she does worry about the future reception her Dad and brother will get from their brethren at the Westminster Country Club.

More from Ken MacLeod
  • Marley

    General Manager Leblanc has saved the day. Now FIND OUT WHO THE DUMMY WAS THAT SAID “NO FEMALES” and excise that individual from the CC grounds forever.

  • Common sense

    Hey marley you do realize that it was the same person that banned her right? Read the beginning of the article he says that she couldn’t do it and it wasn’t until he had to meet with the board at the country club that they told her she could play

  • Ajay

    She wasn’t happy playing in the mixed or ladies events? Have we gone too far with this equality thing?

    • petem

      Seriously? “Have we gone to far with this EQUALITY THING” What 1960’s rock did you crawl out from? Why shouldn’t she be allowed to play?
      I guess she should also be satisfied if she’s paid 75% of a similarly qualified guy? Or are you a ‘women should just stay at home and have babies’ neanderthal?
      No wonder this county’s such a mess.

    • Lynn

      Her BROTHER invited her to play this weekend with HIM. why should she say no and go play with ladies only. what centry were you born in?

  • Paul

    Sooooo….If a Man wants to play in an “all women’s” tournament…..this would be ok….right?

    • Lynn

      Sure. Do you think he would have a chance of winning? No seriously, a man or a woman should not be discriminated against playing in any game.

      • Paul

        How long do you think that they would allow a man on the women’s golf tour, or softball….how about women’s track and field? Gloria Allred would have a field day. Women and minorities want “equal” until it is to their disadvantage. I believe in equal pay and equal rights….but if you want to eliminate the sex separation in its entirety….I will be more than happy to meet you in the showers.

    • Lynn

      hmmm, ok i do admit that although i would want to play softball, racketbell etc on coed teams, i also would have to admit that i am not as strong as some men. i can hit a ball and have a bullet to first base but i know my boyfriend can hit further and throw harder. racketball is a game i prob can beat him at because it requires a person to more agile. So, there is a seperation in some but not all games. So who should decide the whos and whats? Because i would be madder than a hornet if someone said i was not up to playing softball or racket ball on a coed team

  • gigi

    Sorry – I have to disagree. I am a female and I am perfectly fine with the fact that there are men’s leagues, women’s leagues and mixed leagues- in any sport or club. It’s not always about discrimination, it just it what it is. When you throw a party, some people get invited, others dont. Feelings are hurt but you cant sue because you werent invited – you werent invited to THAT particular event, not in general for all events. I dont know, I guess I just dont understand the hub-bub.

  • Steve

    G.O.L.F. Guys Only Ladies Forbidden…Sorry LeBlanc, but times have changed. Let the ladies play!

  • Denise

    Well if her brother and father are “members” maybe they didn’t read the fine print when her brother signed up for the event. Ya know that application said… Member and Male or Boy Guest! lol… Maybe her brother and father want to reconsider joining a club that allows the WHOLE FAMILY to be a guest. I believe that there should be Womens and Mens only functions/gyms etc… But it needs to say it up front. Discrimination comes in may sizes, shapes and colors… I give her a lot of credit for taking the high road in this situation – I’m sure the TV publicity will be more interesting than a long drawn out court case..

  • fore

    So she can play..who cares? I suppose I can go walk into a women’s only gym and workout now? Of course not…

  • Denise

    it was a MEMBER/GUEST tournament – not an ALL MEN Tournament. Get over yourselves! Last time I checked a guest could be any gender! but if her brother just didn’t read the rules that said that “GUEST = MAN/BOY” .. then shame on them for making a big deal over this.

  • dms

    …and now that all future tournaments will be gender blind, no woman will ever win a tournament at the club again. Congratulations. You have successfully proven your point.

  • joemazzjr

    westminster country club has one of the friendliest golf environments on earth – it is a great place to play golf – this tourney was obviously meant to be a men’s tournament and was suprised by this invite – let her play in next year’s tourney and see what happens – if there aren’t any problems make changes to the rules of the tourney – if there are problems take augusta national approach to this tourney as men only – it’s hard to run a 3-day female tourney because there are not enough female teams to generate enough money to make it happen – i will always enjoy playing golf at westminster country club no matter what decision the make

  • Denise

    DMS – you seem to have a very low opinion of the skills of the women golfers in the world – I hope one of them gets a chance to prove you wrong! ;-)

  • dms

    Denise – I don’t have a low opinion of women golfers at all, I’m just being realistic. We all know that men have a physical advantage when it comes to certain sports that depend on strength. That doesn’t make them better humans or athletes, that’s just the way it is. I’m sure there are tons of women that play much better golf than most guys, but the fact remains that even the best women wouldn’t make to top 100 in the men’s circle. If it’s a casual affair, then make it mixed. For any serious competition it just doesn’t make sense.

  • Karen

    I have been a female member of the Westminster Country Club off and on since the mid 60’s. I have always been treated fairly. It is a great place to play.
    I certainly never felt offended my men only or women only tournaments. Much ado about nothing. I am sure that no disrespect or discrimination was ever intended!

  • Nancy

    This is a complete lack of RESPECT.. She could have played with her daddy and brother any time she wanted, however she would rather draw attention to the fact the she is not a rule follower. I bet she parks in handicapped spots also and is proud of the fact that she get away with it. Some people will do anything for there 15 minutes of fame. I would call this 15 minutes of SHAME.

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