Thursday 29 September 2016

Members at Open Championship venue Royal Troon vote to admit women

Ben Philip

Published 01/07/2016 | 20:51

A view across the course towards the clubhouse at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, as members attend a special general meeting to vote on the club's male-only membership policy. Jane Barlow/PA Wire
A view across the course towards the clubhouse at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, as members attend a special general meeting to vote on the club's male-only membership policy. Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Members of Open Championship venue Royal Troon have voted in favour of admitting women to the club.

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Royal Troon is the only remaining host club to maintain a male-only membership policy after golf governing body The R&A removed Muirfield from the rota when its members voted against accepting female members.

A vote took place at a meeting on Friday evening where members voted "overwhelmingly" to welcome women to the club.

A review of membership policy was announced by Troon in January 2015 and was initially not due to be resolved until later this year.

However, the South Ayrshire club brought forward its vote to before this year's Open, taking place between July 14 and 17.

Club captain Martin Cheyne said: "We have said a number of times recently that it is important for golf clubs to reflect the society in which we exist and the modern world that looks to us.

"Therefore, I am delighted with the decision taken by Members of Royal Troon this evening and look forward to welcoming women to our great Club.

"It is the right decision for the Club today, and for the generations of golfers that will follow."

Royal St George's in Kent voted last year to admit women members and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews opted to end its 260-year-old male-only membership policy in September 2014.

Troon has previously considered itself a special case as it shares facilities with the Ladies Golf Club, Troon.

Muirfield, meanwhile, plans to hold another vote on female membership just weeks after members rejected the proposal.

Mr Cheyne said: "Tonight we turn our attention to jointly hosting the 145th Open Championship with our great friends at The Ladies Golf Club, Troon.

"We can now all be focused on golf and showcasing this wonderful club and golf course to the huge global audience that this most prestigious Championship commands.

"I am grateful for the support of many people, including Scottish Golf - the game's governing body in Scotland - for its unswerving support and to my vice-captain and fellow members of the committee.

"I pay special thanks to the members who turned out tonight for an important discussion and the right decision for Royal Troon Golf Club."

A spokesman for The R&A said: "We welcome this decision by the membership at Royal Troon and recognise its significance for the club.

"Our focus today is very much on the 145th Open in just under two weeks' time but we can now look forward to many more great Championships at Royal Troon in years to come."

Muirfield's decision in May not to admit women members was greeted with anger in and out of the game and the course was stripped of the right to host the Open.

The East Lothian club held a ballot at the end of a two-year consultation on membership but failed to get the two-thirds majority of its 648 eligible voters required to change policy.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which runs Muirfield, said it is now seeking a fresh ballot.

Approving female members will begin ''restoring the reputation of the club'', captain Henry Fairweather believes.

Press Association

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