Tokyo 2020: Golf course bows to pressure over female membership

Kasumigaseki Country Club, founded in 1929, was the first golf course in the Saitama prefecture.

Story highlights

  • Japanese golf club admits women as full members
  • Will now host golf event at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

(CNN)After weeks of criticism, Japan's Kasumigaseki Country Club has voted to admit women as full members for the first time.

The Tokyo 2020 golf venue had faced the potential removal of its hosting rights after the International Olympic Committee said it would only go to a club with a non-discriminatory policy.
Despite having over 200 female golfers on its books, women were not allowed to become full members and couldn't play on certain Sundays -- restrictions that did not apply to men.
The IOC made it clear it would have no trouble finding another venue if the policy remained in place, and the club's board members have acted swiftly to change its membership policy.
"I'd like to extend my gratitude to the members of the club for their understanding and cooperation," Tokyo Games chief Yoshiro Mori said in a statement.
"Kasumigaseki Country Club is an outstanding venue with excellent courses, and we are proud it will be hosting top-tier golfers from all over the world for the Olympic Games."
Which golf clubs have recently admitted female members?

Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, U.S. -- August, 2012

St Andrews, Fife, Scotland -- September 2014

Royal Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland -- June, 2016

Muirfield, East Lothian, Scotland -- March 2017

The Kasumigaseki Country Club, Saitama, Japan -- March 2017

Mori also praised the "short period of time" in which the agreement had been reached following the public outcry.
Yuriko Koike, Tokyo's first female governor, had stressed she felt "very uncomfortable" women could not become members "in this day and age," adding it should be "a venue open to everyone."
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," with the world No. 1 stressing how popular the women's game has become in Japan.
Tokyo 2020 will be golf's second appearance on the Olympic program since 1904 after its return in Rio de Janeiro.
Skateboarding, karate, surfing, sports climbing and baseball/softball have all been approved by the IOC for upcoming Games.