News and Views from Scotland

Muirfield Tees Up Another Vote to Allow Lady Members

Muirfield Golf Course During The Open Golf Championship 2013
Graphic © alljengi via Wikimedia Commons

In May this year, the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which runs the privately owned Muirfield golf course, east of Edinburgh, had a postal vote on the issue of admitting women members.

Although there was a 64% to 36% majority in favour of the reform, the rules require a two thirds majority, so the motion was lost.

The Royal & Ancient Club immediately dropped Muirfield from its list of courses approved to run The Open Championship - which attracts a global audience.

VisitScotland, the Scottish tourism agency, calculated that The Open boosted the local economy by £100 million each time it was held in Scotland. This year it is being held at Royal Troon, in 2017 the venue will be Royal Birkdale, near Liverpool.

Perhaps the £100 million figure persuaded the male Muirfield swingers to have a rethink, because they have decided to tee up another vote. Small businesses in the area were particularly incensed at the impact of Muirfield not being allowed to stage The Open. (Graphic here of Muirfield Golf course is © Richard Webb via Wikimedia Commons).

The club has announced that it was "seeking a fresh ballot of its membership on admitting women as members of the club". The club's committee had supported allowing female members and will propose another postal ballot before the end of 2016 at a special general meeting of members.

The club's captain, Henry Fairweather, said approving female members would repair the serious damage to the club's reputation.

He said: "A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events. The club committee believes that a clear and decisive vote in favour of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the club that has been damaged by the earlier ballot outcome."

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July 2016

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