(March 14, 2017) -- In an overwhelming decision Muirfield has voted to allow women members. With a voting turnout of 92.7 percent just over 80 percent of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers elected to allow women members for the first time in the 273 year history of the club.
As a result of the decision Muirfield has been returned to the British Open rota.
In a statement from the R&A, "In light of todays decision by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers we can can firm 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 greatest sporting events that women can become members at all of our host clubs. Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we are very much looking forward to taking the Championship back there in the future."
Last May the club voted on allowing women members but with just 64 percent voting to allow women Muirfield just missed the required two third vote that was necessary. As a result, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers removed the course from the rota.
“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,” Muirfield’s club captain Henry Fairweather said. “We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club.”
Muirfield last hosted The Open Championship in 2013 when Phil Mickelson won the event. Over the years the club has hosted The Open 16 times. However, with Open venues currently mapped out until 2021 the earliest Muirfield could host is 2022.
“The Ladies European Tour is extremely pleased to hear that the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers has voted to include female members and will begin to restore the reputation of the club following the disappointing ballot result last May,” Ladies European Tour chief executive officer Ivan Khodabakhsh said. “Sports reflect the values of the society in which we live and today men and women have equal rights. We believe this should be reflected not only in top level international tournaments but also at club level.”
Of the 691 members who cast a ballot 498 voted in favor of allowing women while 123 voted against.
-Golfweek contributed to this story