A prestigious Scottish golf club has finally decided to allow the admission of female members for the first time in its 300 year history.
Members at the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, who are based at Muirfield golf course to the east of Edinburgh, voted to allow female members after rejecting the same question just last year.
The measure was accepted with a huge majority of 80.2%, meaning female members will be considered for club membership with immediate effect.
The captain of the club, Henry Fairweather, announced the result on Tuesday morning outside the clubhouse, lauding it as a “significant decision” and adding that he was looking forward to welcoming female members.
“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," said Fairweather. "We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club."
However, Fairweather confirmed there is a waiting list of two or three years for new members, whether they're male or female, so the first female members will not be officially admitted to the club until 2019 at the earliest.
Members voted down the proposal to allow female members last May, after which it was immediately prohibited by golf's ruling body – the Royal and Ancient [R&A] – from hosting the prestigious Open Championship.
The R&A confirmed immediately after the announcement at Muirfield that the Open can now return to the course.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, tweeted: "Well done, Muirfield – decision to admit women members emphatic and the right one. Look forward to seeing you host the Open again in future."
Fairweather told BuzzFeed News he hopes to see the Open return to the course "some time in the 2020s".
Catriona Matthew, Scottish women’s golf No. 1, said she was "delighted" to hear the outcome of the vote, adding: “I think it is another positive step, both for Muirfield and for golf as a whole, and I think the progress the R&A has instigated since opening its own doors in 2014 has been very important for the game."
Muirfield is the world's oldest recorded golf club and has staged the Open on 16 different occasions – second only to St Andrews.
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.