19 Sep 2014

R&A allows women

12:01 pm on 19 September 2014

The Royal and Ancient golf club has voted in favour of allowing women members for the first time in its 260 year history.

Three quarters of the R&A's 2,400 members took part in the vote which was passed by a margin of 85 percent to 15 percent.

South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen at St Andrews.

South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen at St Andrews. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The club's chief executive Peter Dawson said the vote would take immediate effect and a significant initial number of women would be fast-tracked to membership in the coming months to avoid the long waiting list.

Dawson says this is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and he's confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men.

Founded in 1754, the Royal and Ancient's members play on the St Andrews links course regarded as the "home of golf".

Although women have been allowed to play on the course, they were, until the vote, not allowed in the clubhouse and had no significant part in the sport's rulemaking arm, the R&A.

That body, separated from the club 10 years ago, controls golf around the world apart from in the United States and Mexico.

Helen Grant, Britain's minister for sport, welcomed the move, saying she's pleased that the members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club have voted in favour of admitting women members.

The announcement was also welcomed by Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America.