THE Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of allowing women members for the first time in its 260-year history.
Club secretary Peter Dawson said: “I am very pleased indeed to announce that the membership of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has voted overwhelmingly in favour of welcoming women members.
“More than three quarters of the club’s global membership took part in the ballot, with a decisive 85 per cent voting for women to become members. This vote has immediate effect and I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is now a mixed membership club.
“The membership has also acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.”
The News told earlier this week how the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG) at Muirfield, in East Lothian, could follow suit.
The exclusive club has commissioned an external company to carry out a consultation on whether women should be allowed to join.
Mr Dawson added:“This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men.”
Minister for Sport Helen Grant welcomed the decision, saying: “I am pleased that the members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews have voted in favour of admitting women members.
“This is positive news for the sport and I hope we will now see other golf clubs that still have outdated same-sex policies follow suit. With golf in the next Olympics there is a huge opportunity for the sport to grow and this sends out the right inclusive message that golf is for everyone.”