Private club wins ADA case

A private club in the Boston area has won an Americans With Disabilities Act case that could have ramifications beyond the ADA.

A federal district court judge granted summary judgment for Woodland Golf Club, holding that it was a private club not subject to the requirements of the ADA, even though the Auburndale, Mass. club allows nonmembers to play its golf course or attend weddings.  

Bob Lobel, a well-known Boston sportscaster, filed the discrimination lawsuit in 2015 because the club would not let him use his SoloRider vehicle on the golf course. Lobel is not a member of the club, but had been invited by a member to play the course 

Lobel said he needed the special golf cart to play the course. But the club declined, saying it would damage the greens.

The court said the undisputed evidence shows that Woodland has all the basic characteristics of a private club, including genuine selectivity of membership and exclusion of non-members from regular or indiscriminate use of its facilities. While the club hosts events open to nonmembers, the court held that the limited non-member use of Woodland’s facilities, including use of the golf course during tournaments, is not enough to disqualify it from private-club status.

It also said the willingness of a club to host charitable events should not, as a general rule, serve to endanger its private status.

Lobel earned national fame for his 29-year run as a sportscaster in Boston. He has spinal stenosis and must use crutches.

Comments

I agree, private clubs should be able remain exclusive. What I would like to see, is for the courts/ADA focus on public courses, ensuring they provide adaptive devises for people of need. Golf for most, is much more than just a game. It is a way to enjoy life, with friends and family. Golf is a healthy life style in many ways that can essentially reduce medical cost... Thank you

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