World's oldest golf society in Edinburgh welcomes new lady members

Eight women in first batch at historic Royal Burgess
Seven of the new lady members at Royal Burgess Golfing Society were welcomed at the Barnton club today by captain Bill Mattocks. Picture: Royal Burgess GSSeven of the new lady members at Royal Burgess Golfing Society were welcomed at the Barnton club today by captain Bill Mattocks. Picture: Royal Burgess GS
Seven of the new lady members at Royal Burgess Golfing Society were welcomed at the Barnton club today by captain Bill Mattocks. Picture: Royal Burgess GS

History was made in Edinburgh today as one of the oldest golf clubs in the world welcomed its first batch of new lady members.

Royal Burgess Golfing Society, which was founded in 1735, has added eight ladies to its membership ranks in the first instance.

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It follows 83 per cent of the Barnton club's male members voting in favour of its doors being opened to women at the agm earlier in the year.

The decision was made just over six years after the same proposal was scrapped due to less than a third of the club's membership supporting it in a referendum.

Seven of the new members were welcomed at the club this morning by captain Bill Mattocks before heading out for their first game.

“This is a momentous occasion for our Society and marks an exciting new chapter for the oldest golf club in the world," said Mattocks.

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"I was delighted when the decision was made to open our membership at our AGM this year.

"And I am even more so now that we are able to welcome our new members so soon, despite the current restrictions on all golf clubs as a result of the coronavirus.”

Amanda Liddell, one of the history-makers, said: "I feel very proud and privileged to be one of the first of eight ladies to be admitted as members of the Royal Burgess Golfing Society.

"We are all delighted at how welcome we have been made to feel and how seamless the admission process has been.

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"I am looking forward to enjoying my time at the oldest golfing society in the world and I’m sure that the lady members will make a very positive contribution to the club."

Concurring, Gwen Gray said: "Even the poor weather couldn’t upset the delight I had today in playing the Royal Burgess as a full member.

"Having played the course as a guest, wife and mother of members for so many years, it was a pleasure to walk on the first tee with my membership bag tag attached to my clubs.

"Having spoken today to my fellow lady members I am sure there will be many more eager to join the oldest golfing society in the world."

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The lady members will be eligible for all competitions at the club while two are to be invited to join a sub-committee that will oversee an integration process.

"A sub-committee has been working for the past couple of years to make today happen and we will be liasing with our new lady members to make them feel welcome," said general manager Graham Callander.

Equally encouraging for the historic club is the response from girls since the membership officially opened up on 1 April following that AGM vote.

Eight mini junior girls, aged between 7 and 11, and six junior girls, aged 12-17, have joined the junior section over the past three months.

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Neighbouring Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, which was founded in 1761, also opened its doors to women members for the first time in recent years. A vote there was passed unanimously in October 2018.

The two clubs have joined the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Royal Troon, Royal Aberdeen,

Glasgow Golf Club and Panmure in opening up to women members in the past few years.

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