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Muirfield’s decision to allow female golfers to become members for the first time in its long history “sends out an important message” about promoting equality in sport, according to the sports minister.
Members at the privately-owned venue voted 80.2 per cent in favour of altering its membership policy to include women after it was given an ultimatum by golf’s governing body.
The R&A said that it would remove Muirfield as a host venue for the Open Championship if it failed to change its male-only policy,
A total of 621 votes were counted, with 498 votes for and 123 votes against.
Sports minister Tracey Crouch said the decision had been a “long time coming”.
“Golf has the potential to attract a more diverse audience to the game and this decision sends out an important message,” she added.
“It is vital that clubs and sports organisations play their part in promoting equality.”
Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive, said: “It is extremely important for us staging one of the world’s great sporting events that women can become members at all of our host clubs.”
Philip Morley, BGIA chair said “The Muirfield decision highlights the fact that the game is growing and becoming more open. The BGIA has championed getting more females involved in our game for a significant amount of years – our ongoing support of National Golf Month whose 2017 focus is to get women and girls to try the sport reiterates this. We’re delighted, but not surprised by the outcome of the vote.”
Muirfield had been male-only since it was established in 1744. The venue has staged the Open 16 times.
“We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club,” added club captain Henry Fairweather.
Source: Leisure Opportunities