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A man has filed a lawsuit against Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club alleging the south Napa club discriminates against men because it charges women less for tee time on “Ladies Day,” Mondays.

In his lawsuit filed Dec. 12 in Napa County Superior Court, Steve Frye alleges that when he visited the club on Monday, Dec. 13, 2010, Eagle Vines illegally charged male golfers $44 for green and cart fees and women $30 because it was Ladies Day.

“Eagle Vines discriminated against plaintiff, as well as other male golfers, on Ladies Day by charging plaintiff and other male golfers a higher price than it charged female patrons to play golf — no matter how wealthy golfers were in comparison to male golfers, or no matter how experienced or skilled female golfers were in comparison to male golfers,” said Alfred Rava, a San Diego attorney who represents Frye.

Frye’s hometown is unknown. He is described in the lawsuit as a California resident.

Eagle Vines representatives said Ladies Day is a promotion to attract more women to play.

Marcus Sharit, PGA head golf professional at the 18-hole golf course, said that women actually pay $40 on Ladies Day to play and men, $44. The lawsuit, he said, is “frivolous.”

Other golf courses offer similar promotions, General Manager Nobu Mizuhara and Sharit said in separate interviews.

“It’s not a unique thing,” Sharit said. “In the golfing community, this is being laughed at.”

Mizuhara said he has not heard of any other similar complaints.

In an email Friday, Rava strongly disagreed that the lawsuit against Eagle Vines is frivolous.

“I don’t know of any person who would consider a lawsuit against a California business for charging its customers different prices for the exact same goods or services based solely on the customers’ sex or some other protected personal characteristic to be a ‘frivolous lawsuit,’” Rava said.

“Perhaps the only people who would call a lawsuit about a sex-based pricing promotion ‘frivolous’ would be the same people who would consider it frivolous for an African-American or Mexican-American to sue McDonald’s if McDonald’s had a Caucasian Day that charged people of color more than whites, or if the Napa Valley Register held a ‘Men’s Day’ and charged women more than men for the paper or for a classified ad that day based solely on the patrons’ sex,” Rava said.

In his lawsuit, Rava cites California’s anti-discrimination statutes, California Supreme Court opinions, actions by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the California attorney general, as well as regulations from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Don Barr, a golfer and one of the Eagle Vines club’s 60 members, said Thursday he was not aware of the lawsuit. The club offers all kinds of promotions, he said. “They have specials for everything.”

Monte Koch, PGA director of golf at nearby Chardonnay Club, which has about 100 members, said the club offers special rates, including

15 percent to 20 percent discounts for public safety and military personnel and for members of the Executive Women Golf Association, professional women who play golf for fun.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in December 2010 did send a letter to Eagle Vines saying possible disciplinary action could be taken against the club’s alcoholic beverage license after the agency was told that the club charged different prices for men and women, according to a letter from ABC.

But Michael Korson, the ABC district administrator who signed the December 2010 letter, said on Friday that “nothing was filed.”

The Frye vs. Eagle Vines case is scheduled for a hearing on May 22 in Napa County Superior Court, according to court filings.


This story was altered since first posting.

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