Muirfield to allow female members, can host Open

LONDON • The Muirfield Golf Club voted on Tuesday to admit women members, scrapping the all-male policy that led to the historic Scottish links course being stripped of its eligibility to host Britain's Open championship.

After a second vote in 10 months, club captain Henry Fairweather announced that the necessary two-thirds majority had been reached, with 80.2 per cent of members in favour of change.

"We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club," he said.

Muirfield, formed in 1744, was one of the last clubs to host a Major golf event to dig its heels in on membership. Women have played there since 1904, but only as guests.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews opened its membership to women in 2014.

Royal St George's, another British Open site, followed suit a year later.

Augusta National, home of the Masters, deserves credit for offering membership to women in 2012, however belatedly, and, in doing so, daring the rest of the clubs to fall in line behind it.

The R&A, which organises The Open, affirmed Muirfield would go back into the tournament rotation. The first Open that Muirfield could host is in 2022, and by then, it is hoped, its membership will include a handful of women.

The next battleground is Kasumigaseki Country Club, which was chosen as the site of the men's and women's golf competition at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The club denies women full membership and prohibits them from playing on Sundays.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2017, with the headline 'Muirfield to allow female members, can host Open'. Print Edition | Subscribe