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.

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