Edinburgh’s Royal Burgess to vote to admit women

The club has long resisted admitting women. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The club has long resisted admitting women. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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ONE of the bastions of men-only golf in Scotland may be poised to change its membership policy by admitting women members

An “informal meeting” has been held at Edinburgh’s Royal Burgess club to discuss the possibility.

It’s understood a motion is likely to be put forward allowing the club’s 800 male members to vote on the issue.

But any change would require a two-thirds majority to vote in favour.

The informal meeting, attended by around 130 members of the oldest golfing society in the world, having been founded in 1735 – “concluded little”, according to one member.

Graham Callander, the general manager at Royal Burgess, confirmed that the “informal meeting” had taken place recently, but delivered a “no comment” to a request for an official statement on the matter.

But one member, who did not wish to be named, said: “It concluded little. They have decided to have a sort of referendum, where members will vote on the motion.”

He was not optimistic any ballot for change would gain the necessary 66 per cent of votes. Royal Burgess is one of only ten royal golf clubs in Scotland. Its members include Hamish Grey, the chief executive of the Scottish Golf Union.

If Royal Burgess opened its doors to women, the pressure is likely to be cranked up on the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to follow suit, after this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield took place against a backdrop of controversy due to its men-only policy.

First Minister Alex Salmond was one of a number of politicians who boycotted the event, while Prime Minister David Cameron was also prompted into making a rare comment on golf, saying such policies looked “more to the past than to the future”.

Peter Dawson, its chief executive, hinted then that the R&A would have something to announce on it using some men-only clubs on the rota for hosting the world’s oldest major but nothing has materialised so far.

“I did promise we would have more to say about the gender issue, but not just yet,” he admitted recently.

Royal Burgess has dominated the men’s golf scene in Edinburgh in recent years, winning the city’s Summer League for a sixth successive season last month.