Open Championship venue Royal St George’s has voted to allow women members for the first time in its 128 year history.
Royal St George’s in Sandwich had been one of three clubs on the Open rota with a men-only membership policy – Muirfield and Royal Troon are the other two courses.
A “decisive” 90% of members voted in favour of altering the Kent club’s rules and allowing women to join with immediate effect. The rule change will take immediate effect. Checketts said it usually takes a year to accept new male members, but the timeframe can be quicker for juniors, and that could be the case for women.
A statement from the club read: “The Royal St George’s Golf Club is pleased to announce that, following an extraordinary general meeting held on 14th February 2015 and a subsequent ballot of the full members of the Club, a resolution to alter the Club’s rules to make ladies eligible for membership has been duly passed. The club has said it looked forward to welcoming ladies as junior and full members.
The eligibility of female members in Britain’s leading clubs was a hot topic that was brought further into scrutiny in September 2014, when The Royal & Ancient Golf Club voted to end its male-only policy after 260 years. That club’s corporate structure, the R&A, organizes The British Open.
The club has hosted the Open 14 times, with the last tournament in 2011, when it was won by European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke.
Dame Laura Davies, one of Britain’s most successful golfers, said it was “great to see” the club following in the footsteps of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in allowing female members.
Mel Reid, Professional golfer who has played in the Solheim Cup, also welcomed the decision, saying “Women golfers certainly want to be equal to the guys and this is another step towards that. Anything like this would always benefit the women’s game.”
James Bond author Ian Fleming was captain-elect at Royal St George’s before his died in 1964, the course was said to have inspired his idea for a golf showdown in the 007 classic Goldfinger.