Muirfield Vote to allow women members

Published:

Muirfield have announced that women will be allowed to become members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers following an overwhelming number of votes in favour of the change.

92.7% of members at Muirfield voted, with 498 in favour of allowing women members and 123 against, which more than meets the two-thirds majority required to invoke the decision.

Henry Fairweather, Muirfield's Captain, said the decision to overturn its men-only policy for the first time its history was significant.

"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."

How it happened

Following the successful vote from the R&A and Royal St Georges to admit female members in 2014 and 2015, pressure was put upon Muirfield and Royal Troon to follow suit.

Royal Troon voted overwhelmingly to admit women members in 2016, but the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers decided they wished to remain as one of the few golf clubs in the country that refused to admit women.

On the first occasion, those in favour came up 14 votes short of the required two-thirds majority and within minutes the R&A announced the Open would not return until membership at Muirfield was made available to both genders.

The no vote was initially announced by Fairweather on the 19th May 2016, but it was then revealed members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh golfers were to reconsider by March 2017.

The announcement was expected, as the disappointment that surrounded the original vote was widespread across both the amateur and professional game. Muirfield had lost its place upon the Open roster, an event which it had held 16 times previous – the last of which was the setting of Phil Mickelson’s victory in 2013.

Phil Mickelson won the Open in 2013, when it was last held at Muirfield

Fairweather had said: “A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events.”

“The club committee believes that a clear and decisive vote in favor of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the club that has been damaged by the earlier ballot outcome.”

Following the first vote, every member was sent a pamphlet in December which outlined every aspect of the new proposal in relation to a change in the long-established membership policy – which that detailed women would have the same rights as the men, including access to facilities and membership admission.

Within minutes of the newest announcement to allow women members, the R&A immediately announced Muirfield will be put back on the Open roster.

Martin Slumbers, the Chief Executive of The R&A 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 of our host clubs.

“Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we very much look forward to taking the Championship back there in future.”