• The postal ballot will be conducted by the end of the year
• Captain hopes vote can help repair 'damaged reputation'
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers will hold a fresh ballot on admitting women as members of the club at Muirfield by the end of this year.
Six weeks ago, the club announced in front of national media that it had failed to reach the two-thirds majority required for change, with 64% (14 votes short) in favour of the resolution and 36% against.
As a result, Muirfield was immediately struck off the Open rota by the R&A, with chief Martin Slumbers saying: “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.”
The fallout continued in the days and weeks afterwards and, in a statement released by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers today, captain Henry Fairweather believes a different result this time around can help begin restore the club’s damaged reputation.
“A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events,” said club captain at Muirfield, Henry Fairweather.
“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”.
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.
In response to news of the second postal ballot, a statement from South Moor Golf Club in County Durham called on the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to make a better decision this time around.
"Please be kind enough to point out to the members holding you back at Muirfield that their stance is reducing participation in the greatest sport ever played. They are responsible for sending out an unwelcoming message world wide which stereotypes golf clubs and deters half the population from taking up the sport.
"The knock-on effect of that is to threaten the future of less well heeled community clubs such as ours. The less golfers there are to go round us all, the harder it becomes to stay in business."
“This is an encouraging, if somewhat surprising, development. A decision to welcome women - albeit at the second time of asking - at Muirfield would send a clear message that golf is, as those of us who know it best can confirm, an inclusive sport for all, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, wealth and more. That is the reality, but it’s a hard message to push when archaic, misrepresentative division still exists in some high-profile areas of the sport. A different outcome this time around would also surely result in Muirfield’s reinstatement to the Open rota, which would be of an enormous benefit to local businesses in East Lothian. You have to assume that the decision is all but made. Why else, after all, would they hold a second vote so soon after the first? However, in case any member of the club is still undecided and is reading this, I would say this: don’t resist evolution. You’ll only get left behind… and you’ll take many of us with you, against our will.”
Michael McEwan • Assistant Editor, bunkered
Muirfield :: Second postal ballot
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