Royal and Ancient Golf Club Votes YES to Women

R & A Votes YES to Accept WomenLast Thursday marked a historical moment for women.  The Royal and Ancient Golf Club voted overwhelmingly (85%) to admit women as members.  “This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.  “I think it is a very positive message for the game of golf.”  According to a recent article in the New York Times, the policy will take effect immediately and the club said women would be put on a fast track for membership to avoid being placed on a long waiting list.  “The decision carries powerful symbolism,” states the article, “The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is a 260-year-old institution that calls itself the spiritual home of golf. The separate governing body it created in 2004, called the R & A, is entrusted with running the British Open and helping adjudicate the game’s rules, making it one of the sport’s primary seats of power.”

Golf Week captured the reaction of some US golfers to the decision including Gary Player:  “Delighted that R&A voted to include female members.  Absolutely the right decision & good for the game of golf”, and Annika Sorenstam:  “I am thrilled the R&A has voted overwhelmingly to allow female members.  This is a great day for golf and a historic one for women in golf.”

Sorenstam is thought to be part of the group of of potential candidates for membership.  Others in the group include Carol Semple Thompson, an amateur from the US who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, Louise Richardson, the principal, or president, of St. Andrews University and Catriona Matthew, a Scot who won the 2009 Women’s British Open.   “If they did ask, I’d be delighted,” said Matthew in a phone interview with the New York Times.   “It’s probably not something I thought would happen in my lifetime, to be honest. You just become so used to the R & A being all-male, you just kind of take it for granted.”

Click here to read the entire New York Times article.

Click here to read more player reaction from Golf Week.