Muirfield to allow female members for first time in 273 years

By Alex Butler  |  March 14, 2017 at 11:52 AM
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March 14 (UPI) -- Effective immediately, Muirfield Golf Club will allow female members and return to the list of venues for the Open.

The club, founded in 1744, held a vote with 80.2 percent agreeing to allow women into the club. 123 voters [19.8 percent] voted against the move.

Muirfield is owned by HCEG and located in East Lothian, Scotland.

"The outcome of the ballots which has been staged over the last four weeks is as follows," said Henry Fairweather, captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers [HCEG], in a press conference. "The total number of votes counted is 621, a turnout of 92.7 percent. The number of votes for the resolution is 498. The number of votes against the resolution is 123. So the rules of the club will be changed accordingly with immediate effect and we look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy and benefit from the traditions and the friendships of this remarkable club."

Muirfield last hosted the Open in 2013. It was removed from the rota last year after the first vote to allow women on the course failed to achieve a two-thirds majority required to make the change.

The Open is the sport's oldest major championship tournament. The next possible Open it could host is in 2022.

"Not allowing women to play at a golf club is clearly an outdated idea. But this isn't just about old-fashioned attitudes; the local economy stood to lose £40m as a result of the Open not being staged at Muirfield," EHRC Scotland Commissioner Dr. Lesley Sawers said.

"The have clearly made the right decision for women and Scotland."

The R&A, which organizes the open, issued a statement on the decision.

"In light of today's decision by the Honourable Company we can confirm that Muirfield will become a venue for the Open once again," said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A. "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 the future."

Want to take up a round at Muirfield? Green fees for 2017 are $280 for one round and $364 for two rounds on the day. Next year those prices go up to $285 and $376. Visitor days are Tuesdays and Thursdays, excluding public holidays.

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