Muirfield Golf Club has voted to admit women as members for the first time in its history.
Members at the privately-owned club in Scotland voted 80.2% in favour of updating their membership policy. 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. A two-thirds majority was required by eligible voters to overturn the male-only 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. 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.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said the club would now be reinstated as an Open venue. “Muirfield has a long and important history of hosting the Open and with today’s announcement that will continue,” he said. “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.”
Club captain Henry Fairweather welcomed the result: “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.”
Muirfield, which was founded in 1744, has staged the Open 16 times and last hosted the event in 2013.