80% vote to have women members at Muirfield
Muirfield golf club has voted to admit women as members for the first time in its history.
Members at the privately-owned club voted 80.2% in favour of updating their membership policy.
It followed a decision by golf’s ruling body, the R&A, to remove Muirfield as a host venue for the Open Championship after it failed to change in 2016.
The club – which was founded in 1744 – had required two-thirds of its eligible voters to back admitting women.
Club captain Henry Fairweather announced the result at 11:30.
The postal ballot of members returned 498 votes in favour of change, with 123 votes (19.8%) against.
A total of 621 votes were counted, a 92.7% turnout.
Mr Fairweather said: “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.
“We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club.”
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which owns and runs Muirfield, had recommended its members update their rules.
Muirfield has staged the Open 16 times and last hosted the event in 2013.
However, following the 2016 vote which failed to overturn the ban on female members, the club was told it would no longer host the event.
Following Tuesday’s vote, Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, said the club would once again become an Open venue.
He said: “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 our host clubs.
“Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we very much look forward to taking the championship there in future.”
Despite previously not being able to become members of Muirfield, women had been able to play on the links course and visit the clubhouse as guests and visitors.