The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers have voted to admit women members for the first time since their formation in 1744.
Muirfield, home to the Honourable Company, was taken off the Open Championship rota last May when members narrowly voted not to admit women into the club. Although 64% of members were in favour, the club needed 66% to pass the motion. Before the 36% even began celebrating, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers took the 16-time Open venue off the rota.
Six weeks after the first vote, the HCEG announced its intention to hold a fresh ballot.
The results of that ballot were announced today and in welcoming the decision, Slumbers reinstated the course onto the Open Rota.
“In light of today’s decision by the Honourable Company we can confirm that Muirfield will become a venue for The Open once again.
“Muirfield has a long and important history of hosting The Open and with today’s announcement that will continue.
“It is extremely important for us in staging one of the world’s great sporting events that women can become members at all of our host clubs.
“Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we very much look forward to taking the Championship back there in future.”
After a postal ballot, 498 members (80.2 %) voted in favor of allowing women to join the club, while 123 (19.8 %) voted against. In total, 621 members cast ballots, a turnout of almostn93%.
“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,” Muirfield’s club captain Henry Fairweather said. “We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club.”
There is no timetable for women to join the club. In an official statement the club said: “The current waiting list for membership at Muirfield suggests that new candidates for membership, women and men, can expect to wait two to three years, or longer, to become a member of the club.”