Historic golf club to vote on admitting women as members

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, Scotland
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, Scotland

Women look set to finally be able to join one of the oldest golf clubs in the world, 260 years after it was founded.

The Royal & Ancient (R&A) Golf Club of St Andrews has always had a male-only membership policy, but management are now recommending that women be allowed to join.

Letters have been sent to all 2,400 members of the Fife club urging them to support female membership in a vote later this year.

The club is “strongly in favour” of the rule change and the vote will take place in September, requiring a two-thirds majority.

A spokesman for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club said: “Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the founding club of The R&A, will vote on a motion to admit women as members.

“The club’s committees are strongly in favour of the rule change and are asking members to support it. The vote is scheduled to take place in September of this year.”

It follows political and commercial pressure on the R&A, which also serves as the governing body of golf and organises the Open Championship.

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, called the male-only rule “indefensible in the 21st century”.

Sponsors had also indicated that the issue needed to be addressed.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said in July last year that the issue of single-sex was “divisive”.

Yesterday, he said he was delighted with the recommendation.

He said: “We very much hope once the vote is taken we will be welcoming women to the club.

“Early indications from the members are very positive indeed.

“Society is changing, sport is changing, golf is changing and I think it’s appropriate for a governing body to take this step.”