Couple kicked out of California golf club after challenging men-only rule

Craig Kohlruss/The Fresno Bee

Couple kicked out of California golf club after challenging men-only rule

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Couple kicked out of California golf club after challenging men-only rule

A couple that stood up to a policy they deemed unfair at a golf club they belonged to have now been expelled from said club.

Per The Fresno Bee, Meredith and Tim Orman were recently kicked out of San Joaquin Country Club – a course where they had been members since 2006. Why the sudden boot?

In a letter to the couple, the club’s board of directors described their conduct as “improper and likely to endanger the welfare, safety, harmony or good reputation of the Club or its Members.” That seems like a reasonable explanation for expulsion, but the issue is more complicated.

Meredith openly resented a San Joaquin Country Club regulation that stated that only men could tee off at the club before 11 a.m. on Saturdays (the regulation was amended to 10 a.m. in 2014). She objected as far back as 2013 and not much seemed to be done until the rule was again amended last year, this time to “members only” before 10 a.m. on Saturdays.

Wording was changed from “Ladies” to “Spouses” in reference to those who couldn’t play before 10 a.m.

That did little to quell the bad feelings, as about 90 percent of the members were men (and thus the vast majority of the “spouses” of members were women). With Tim being the member and Meredith being the spouse, she (and other wives in her position) was still unable to play before 10 a.m on Saturday unless she bought her own separate membership.

Here’s how a regular membership at the club is described, per its website: “This proprietary membership entitles the entire family and guests to enjoy all of the club’s amenities including golf, dining, social events, swimming, tennis and access to events and facilities.”

Meredith wasn’t satisfied by the change from “men only” to “members only” and voiced her thoughts on Facebook.

“It’s a word game, and I called them out on it,” she told The Fresno Bee.

As did her brother, Tal Cloud. The businessman and former congressional candidate put up a video on Facebook to detail what was happening at San Joaquin Country Club.

As it turned out, that video ultimately played a role in setting San Joaquin’s board of directors off.

In that expulsion letter, the board implied the couple worked with Cloud in a campaign to damage the club’s reputation via social media, emails and radio ads. Cloud denies that was the case, noting to The Fresno Bee that he had seen enough of how his sister was being treated and decided to take action himself.

Tim Thompson, the club’s vice president, told The Fresno Bee that the current 10 a.m. rule is a membership benefit rather a design to keep Saturday morning male-only.

“The best comparison I can give you is (the local gym chain GB3),” Thompson said. “I will guarantee you that with your membership your wife could not show up and demand access to the club. It’s the same thing with country clubs.”

Regardless, the Ormans are no longer members and claim they were offered $10,000 by the club to sign a nondisclosure agreement about the situation. They declined.

Instead, they wanted the issue to come to light following their expulsion.

“This was pure retaliation for us creating resentment in the club over the antiquated, discriminatory rules,” Tim Orman said.

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