After nearly three centuries, Muirfield Golf Club will welcome its first female members next week.
The 275-year-old club voted in 2017 to admit female members for the first time, but it has taken until the middle of 2019 to follow through on that and formally announce the new members.
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which runs the links course in East Lothian, voted to change its controversial membership policy barring women two years ago. After receiving applications and assessing them through its traditional lengthy procedure, 12 women have been invited to take up membership at the 275-year-old club from 1 July.
There is a lot going on here, including pressure from the R&A (more on that in a minute) and recent criticism over the length of the process for admitting these 12 women. However, according to the Telegraph, this two-year-long run is actually sped up from the normal length of admitting members to the club.
Sources at the club suggested that far from facing a long delay to become members since the vote gave the go-ahead, the 12 had in fact been admitted far quicker than average. They pointed out that it can be a painstakingly long process to gain admission, with prospective members having to be nominated and seconded before going into “the pool” or waiting list, with an average waiting time of six to seven years. During this time they are expected to ‘make themselves known’ to existing members by playing as guest and attending club functions.
This makes some sense as most clubs have a rigorous, lengthy process for admitting any members. Still, two years is a long time.
“It is my great pleasure to announce that 12 women have been formally invited to join the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers this month,” said captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Alistair Campbell. “This marks a milestone in the Club’s illustrious history, and we look forward to welcoming all of our new members to share in the great values and traditions of our club.”
As for when Muirfield will get its first Open Championship since Phil Mickelson took the Claret Jug back in 2013 in one of the great rounds of his life, it remains unknown but is presumed that the club will get one in the next five years.
The R&A briefly yanked Muirfield from the Open rota in 2016 following a vote in which only 64 percent of the club voted in favor of admitting women. They were reinstalled after a 2017 vote in which 80 percent voted in favor.