Garden City’s male-only golf club has no plan to admit women, yet

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GARDEN CITY -

The Garden City Golf Club on Stewart Avenue hosted the U.S. Open back in 1902 -- but today the exclusive club wouldn't be eligible to do so again.

That's because professional golf rules for both the PGA and USGA block clubs that don't admit women from hosting competitions.

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The Garden City club, which opened in 1899, is one of only a few remaining country clubs in the United States that only allow men.

Critics say the policy is antiquated, but one member told News 12 Friday that the no-women rule is a tradition that's been in place for more than a century.

Julia Fenster, president of the National Organization for Women, says a change to the policy is overdue.

"In the simplest sense, this is a form of discrimination," she says. "It doesn't represent our county. It doesn't represent Garden City. It doesn't represent our community. And I frankly find it astounding."

The club's president Brian Nelsen says he doesn't foresee a change anytime soon. It's a private club, after all, and members are free to admit or keep out whomever they want.

"The Garden City Golf Club has a 119-year tradition as a private club which accepts male members," he said in a statement. "As a private club, any rule change must be voted on by its membership. Although our entrance requirements may change in the future, we don't currently have plans to change our criteria for membership."

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