The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews Votes to Admit Female Members

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2014

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04:  Stacy Lewis of the United States putts for birdie on the 18th green during the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course, St Andrews on August 4, 2013 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

After 260 years of allowing only male members, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews voted in favor of admitting female members Thursday.

According to Michael Gadd of Daily Mail, 85 percent of those eligible voted for the incorporation of female members. A plan is also already in place to admit females into the club in the coming months.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson views it as a landmark decision.

"This is an important and positive day in the history of the R&A Golf Club," Dawson said. "The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men."    

British minster for sport Helen Grant is hopeful that the R&A's vote will lead to other courses admitting female members in the future as well.

"This is positive news for the sport, and I hope we will now see other golf clubs that still have outdated same-sex policies follow suit," Grant said. "With golf in the next Olympics there is a huge opportunity for the sport to grow and this sends out the right inclusive message that golf is for everyone."

Kay Burley of Sky News is among those who believe that the decision is long overdue:

The Old Course at Royal St. Andrews is located in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, and has played host to The Open Championship 28 times. The last such occasion happened in 2010, but it will return in 2015.

The Women's British Open has also been held at St. Andrews twice. Women have long been permitted to play there, but Thursday's vote will now allow them to become members, according to St. Andrews' Twitter account:

While it is somewhat shocking that it took St. Andrews this long to make the club available to women, it now has an opportunity to make up for lost time.

Golf is a hugely popular sport among both men and women, and this result promises to help the game grow even more in the future.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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