Muirfield Golf Club has voted to allow female members to join the exclusive club for the first time in its 273-year history.
Over 80 per cent of members of the privately owned club voted in favour of allowing women to become members. Currently, women can only play at the club if they are guests or visitors.
The news comes after last year the club received a public backlash and the Scottish course lost its right to host the Open Championships after its members voted against allowing female members.
At the time, 36 per cent of members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, who own Muirfield, voted against allowing women meaning the club fell short of the required two-thirds majority. At the time, some members alluded that their “lunch arrangements” might be questioned if women were allowed to join.
Since the decision, golf’s ruling body, the R&A, has confirmed that it will be adding Muirfield back to the list of Open venues.
However, despite the changes being effectively immediately the club did admit that it could be up to two years before the first woman becomes a member, due to the lengthy sign-up process.
Club captain, Henry Fairweather said, “This is a significant decision for a club which was founded in 1744 and retains many of the values and aspirations of its founding members.”
“We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club.”
Tracey Crouch, UK Sports Minister, said, “The decision has been a long time coming and it was right that the R&A made clear to Muirfield that the Open Championship would only be hosted to clubs that allow women members.”
“Golf has the potential to attract a more diverse audience to the game and this decision sends out an important message.”
“It is vital that clubs and sports organisations play their part in promoting equality.”