One of the last major men-only UK golf clubs to admit women

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire February 8, 2018 12:19

One of the last remaining men-only golf clubs in the UK, Royal Aberdeen, the sixth oldest golf club in the world, has voted to allow women to join the club.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the change with just three per cent of members voting against it, according to reports.

The Scottish club joins the likes of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Royal Troon, Royal St George’s and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, in major British golf clubs that have opened their doors to women members in the past few years.

Royal Troon widely praised for admitting women

In Scotland there are now very few men-only golf clubs left. Those that do not allow women to join include Bruntsfield Links, Glasgow Golf Club, Western Gailes and the Royal Burgess Golfing Society, which in 2013 faced global ridicule when it voted to maintain its men-only status.

 

The decision by Royal Aberdeen paves the way for it to remain as one of the country’s foremost tournament venues outside the courses on the Open Championship rota.

The proposal to admit women members was passed at a special meeting, where around 150 members delivered overwhelming support to bringing down the male-only barriers after 238 years. It is believed that 97 per cent gave their support for the proposal.

“This has been ongoing for a while,” the club’s secretary / director of golf, Ronnie MacAskill, said.

“I’ve been here for 43 years and it kept coming up. We’ve had some younger captains in recent years and they’ve introduced new things like sending out surveys to the membership to get a feel for what they want going forward.

“The admission of women members was included and, as it’s 2018 and not 1780, it was felt that the club should be all-inclusive, which has been achieved through changing a very simple line in the rules. I think the days of single-gender clubs are slowly disappearing and we didn’t want to be left behind.

“Along with Trump International Golf Links and Cruden Bay, we have been noted as potential venues for the 2019 Scottish Open. That was not the driver in this change, but let’s say the committee was aware that organisations like the R&A and European Tour are not going to deal with single-gender clubs going forward. “Hosting events is part of the DNA at Royal Aberdeen and we want to continue doing that. It is healthy for the club, the members and visitors and it is good for the city of Aberdeen.”

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club and Aberdeen Ladies’ Golf Club, which is located on the same site but is a separate club, have set up a working group to discuss the possible impact on both clubs of the change.

A statement from Aberdeen Ladies’ Golf Club said: “Aberdeen Ladies’ Golf Club, while pleased to hear that Royal Aberdeen Golf Club has agreed to admit women as members of their club, would have wanted to be an integral part of that arrangement. We see a mutually beneficial agreement between the two clubs as the way forward.”

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire February 8, 2018 12:19
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