Two years after changing long-standing membership policy, Muirfield invites women to join for first time

June 27, 2019

For the first time in 275 years, women will be members at historic Muirfield.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which operates Muirfield, has invited 12 women to join the club beginning July 1. This comes two years after the club voted to admit female members and three years after it was removed from The Open rota for not changing its long-standing policy on women members.

“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,” said Alistair Campbell, the captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

A club vote to include women in 2016 failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass (64 percent voted yes), and Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of The R&A, acted swiftly, releasing a statement saying that Muirfield will no longer be in The Open rotation until its policies change.

“The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members,” Slumbers said at the time.

About a year later, in March 2017, the vote passed (80.2 percent voted yes) and Muirfield was placed back on The Open rota.

“This is a significant decision for a club which was founded in 1744 and retains many of the values and aspirations of its founding members,” Henry Fairweather, the then-captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, told the BBC. “We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club.”

Along with the 12 women, three men were offered memberships. All new members had to go through the club’s process of being proposed as potential members and seconded by existing members and five referees. Club members then write in support of the candidates they are familiar with.

Muirfield, located in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland, has hosted 16 Open Championships, the first in 1892 and the last in 2013, when Phil Mickelson won.