I appreciate your passion and love for the game and rest assured that County Parks needs your passion and support. We had every intention of offering free golf for ladies during the month of June for years to come. Let me be clear that it was not the complaints from a few individuals that ended this promotion. There have been plenty of complaints during the past two years and we frankly did not care as we believed we were doing he best thing for the game of golf and still believe that to be true to this day! County Parks' golf program was threatened to be sued for gender discrimination earlier this winter if we offered the promotion again and this did not discourage me either. That is until I asked our County counsel (also a woman) if the threat had any substance. She asked if we had provided such an offer in the past. Upon my response of yes, she stated, "I'm surprised you have not been sued already" because this is in fact an example of gender discrimination. Our golf program cannot afford to call someone's bluff when there is already a set precedence within civil law.
Put yourself in the other seat and imagine if we were offering men a free golf month and how would that situation would make you feel? I'd probably be upset if I were a woman and my wife and daughters would be too. Although this type of treatment at a golf facility may be just "par for the course" and you would likely shrug it off.
I cannot wager the future of our golf program to all of the seniors, juniors, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, or other demographic to fight the gender inequality that golf has in the US. I still believe in providing golf to women and hope that you will help me to introduce the game to more ladies. Europe has a 30-40% participation rate for women and I would love to tout that SLO County is a leader for women's golf just as we are for Zero Waste.
Again I appreciate your passion, but I cannot afford to reconsider this issue as it would reduce the affordable golfing options for many in our county. Our intention was to provide ways to introduce women to the game of golf to invite more participants to the great recreational and social activities that golf provides. Women's golf is still very important to us and the emails I have received only prove that we are in the right track. Please feel free to call me with your concerns or ideas for future efforts. We will be conducting focus groups to best understand the wants and needs of women golfers and non-golfers in an effort to be more welcoming and inviting to our current and potential female customers. Thanks for your support!