Second vote likely to be held following disappointment over referendum result

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 27, 2016 11:33

Former Open venue Muirfield wants to hold a second referendum of its members about admitting women before the end of the year following ‘disappointment’ over the first result.

The world’s oldest golf club, officially called the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG), has faced domestic and international ridicule over the result of the vote in May, which resulted in it not admitting female members. It also lost its right to host the Open Championship.

Club captain Henry Fairweather has said the outcome has “damaged” the reputation of Muirfield and needs to be overturned.

He said: “The club committee believes that a clear and decisive vote in favour of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the club that has been damaged by the earlier ballot outcome.

“A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events.

Muirfield last hosted the Open in 2013 but was told it would never stage the competition again by the R&A. The R&A said it could not stage the event “at a venue that does not admit women as members” but added it might alter its view if the club changed its stance.


The decision also provoked a storm of criticism, with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon calling the club’s stance “simply indefensible”.

Muirfield hopes the new vote will take place by the end of the year.

The club needed a two thirds majority to amend its rules on admission when it held its initial ballot.

However, only 64 percent voted in favour of allowing women members, which meant that no changes could be implemented.

“On May 19 the club announced its admission resolution, supported unanimously by the club committee, had failed to reach the required two thirds majority for change. An independently scrutinised postal ballot recorded a vote of 64 percent in favour of the resolution and 36 percent against on a turnout of 95 percent of members eligible to vote,” said a club spokesman.

“The club committee will now seek authority from the membership, at a special general meeting, to hold a fresh postal ballot before the end of the year.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 27, 2016 11:33
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