The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, in Scotland, is a 260-year-old institution that calls itself the spiritual home of golf. It was also one of the governing authorities of the game, but in 2004 this role was handed over to a newly formed group of companies, collectively known as The R&A. For so much time they had the male-only membership rule.
Even former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on the club in 2012 to abandon this in favour of a non-discriminatory policy. And now, a single-page statement after an historical vote ended the history. On Thursday, the members swung the doors wide open. Royal and Ancient Golf Club voted to admit female members. Nobody knows yet who will be the first.. About three-quarters of the members participated in the voting, with 85 percent of them opting to accept women. The new policy will take effect immediately. “This is an important and positive day in the history of the R&A,. The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men,” said chief executive Peter Dawson. The Sports Minister, Helen Grant, said: “I am pleased that the members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews have voted in favour of admitting women members. This is positive news for the sport and I hope we will now see other golf clubs that still have outdated same-sex policies follow suit."