Women welcomed to 275-year-old golf club for first time

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 2, 2019 12:42

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which has its home at Muirfield, 16-time host of the Open, has invited women to become club members for the first time in its history.

The 275-year old golf club is one of the oldest and most prestigious golfing venues in the world. In 2017 its members voted to change the club’s rules to allow women to join – and 12 women have been invited to take up membership from July 1.

Alistair Campbell, captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, said: “It is my great pleasure to announce that 12 women have been formally invited to join the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers this month. 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.

“We are delighted now to have completed the extensive renovation of the clubhouse which includes improvements to the whole building for the first time since 1980. We now have a clubhouse that matches our world-class golf course.”

Muirfield Golf Club. Image by Phil Wilkinson

As is the tradition at the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, individuals who are invited to become members of the club must first be proposed and seconded by existing members and five referees. The club’s membership is then invited to write in support, or otherwise, of those put forward, who are personally known to them or have golfed with them. This process is the same for men and women.

Twelve women, two of whom are overseas candidates, have now successfully progressed to this final stage of the approval process. They have now been formally invited to join as members of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

Alistair Campbell added: “This year marks the 275thanniversary of the club’s first recorded golf competition. We are proud of our club’s rich history but equally excited for its future and the part all of our new members will play in the club’s cherished traditions.”

The renovated Muirfield clubhouse, which was originally built in 1891, also houses an exceptional display of the club’s history and memorabilia. It includes a showcase of the ’13 Rules of Golf’ – the earliest known written rules of the game which were drafted by the club in March 1744. Also on display is the Silver Club, the sport’s first trophy, which was presented on March 7, 1744.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 2, 2019 12:42
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8 Comments

  1. Cynthia June 27, 15:08

    Change is slow there I take it… 2 years?? Just 12 women? Lol you need more than that and you will need a WGA!!

    Reply to this comment
  2. peter June 27, 15:11

    Better late than never ! Kudos to them !

    Reply to this comment
    • Linda July 5, 20:45

      OMG are we women supposed to stand up and cheer because the patronising male management at Muirfield have finally been forced to make a token gesture and Invite 12 women to join? There are better courses and more genuinely welcoming clubs to join. Big deal, are women supposed to be grateful for this completely half hearted gesture? Does Muirfield now believe they have ticked the equality box – NOT!!! Discrimination at this club and others across the UK is still rife, It is a joke and totally insulting to women!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Fiona June 28, 11:35

    ‘The everyday experience of women golfers in Scotland has radically changed in the last 100 years from being a sport only open to elite women in the late Victorian period to the present day where many women of all backgrounds can now play as equal members in their clubs.

    However, for all the changes, particularly over the last 50 years, equality of opportunity is not always evident.

    Most Scottish clubs began to change at some stage during the 1980s and 1990s, phasing out reduced membership fees and limited access to the golf course and clubhouse.

    However, some clubs still prioritise male competitions at peak playing times, have a smaller female section and are run through separate committees.

    When playing golf, there are some inherent differences in the structure of the course and game that maintain the separation between men and women. Traditionally women play from red tees which are often closer to the hole than yellow and white men’s tees.

    While the handicapping system should make play between men and women possible within golf clubs, it is still relatively rare for competitions to be open to both men and women.

    I was reading the centenary history of one Scottish club recently that recalled how the club’s bar used to be “..open to gentlemen only, so ladies desirous of internal fortification had to remain outside in the cheerless lounge and ring the bell for the steward.”

    A separate ladies bar was created in the mid-1970s but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that female members were allowed to cross a line painted on the wooden floor to the “gentleman’s side”.

    The mindset of golfers is one that can be slow to change. Older female golfers at the club are still reluctant to sit in the previously “out of bounds” part of the lounge.

    The study Glasgow Caledonian University is doing with the British Golf Museum will enable the memories of women golfers who have played in this significant period of change to be captured and preserved in the museum’s archives for posterity.

    We hope the research will provide vital insights to help the game to continue to grow.’

    Dr Fiona Reid, Lecturer, Events and Sports Management at Glasgow Caledonian University

    Reply to this comment
  4. Kenneth July 1, 06:15

    Will they run womens competitions?

    Reply to this comment
  5. Sarah July 1, 10:16

    Think that being The Golf Business womens golf specialist and travel writer I would be one of them… mind you with a pool of only 12 ladies to play with, competitions might be limited?? Interesting to watch the progress, albeit slow…one day

    Reply to this comment
  6. deejaym July 4, 14:37

    The headline of the story is inaccurate : Women have always been welcome at Muirfield.

    & I do hope that lady about to enter the clubhouse will be removing her hat prior to crossing the threshold….

    Reply to this comment
    • Linda July 5, 20:45

      OMG are we women supposed to stand up and cheer because the patronising male management at Muirfield have finally been forced to make a token gesture and Invite 12 women to join? There are better courses and more genuinely welcoming clubs to join. Big deal, are women supposed to be grateful for this completely half hearted gesture? Does Muirfield now believe they have ticked the equality box – NOT!!! Discrimination at this club and others across the UK is still rife, It is a joke and totally insulting to women!

      Reply to this comment
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