Muirfield Returns to Open Rota after Vote to Admit Women Members
Post by Golf Writer Kieran Clark
Following last year's initial ballot that widely embarrassed golf and saw Muirfield - arguably the finest course on the circuit - removed from the Open Championship rotation, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers has voted to admit women members in a second vote that was released this morning to the delight of the R&A.
80.2% were in favour of opening the historic club - incepted back in 1744 - up female golfers, which has followed the likes of Royal Troon and Royal St. George's, who have made a similar effort to improve the game's image, with their status as venues of golf's oldest and most prestigious championship being criticised. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews - these days a separate entity from the governing body - also voted to admit women members in 2014.
Reflecting a demand for gender equality in a game that continues to struggle at reaching female players, it's a welcome development that progression has finally been made. Quickly after the result was confirmed, the R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers released a statement that has restored Muirfield to the rotation, with a return likely to come within the next seven or eight years.
There will be particular delight within the local community of Gullane and East Lothian, who benefit hugely from the Open Championship when it comes to down. Boasting winners as varied as Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and most recently Phil Mickelson in 2013, Muirfield is regarded by many as being the best layout on the rota, and is certainly one that has consistently identified and rewarded the best players of each generation.
In making an important step forward, the Honourable Company has corrected an embarrassing stain on the game, which was seen to have undermined wider efforts to increase participation and improve accessibility golf, something that is still a perceived issue for many women interested in playing.
We can all now look forward to the Open stepping back onto the Muirfield stage. It would have otherwise been a sad loss.
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