Women could face a six or seven-year wait to become members of the
Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield due to a ‘complex
membership admissions process’.
Earlier today, members of the East Lothian club voted in favour of admitting women – with 498 votes in favour (80.2%) and 123 votes against – overturning the vote of ten months ago which failed to surpass the two-thirds majority needed.
The R&A immediately placed Muirfield back on The Open rota, with it likely to stage the event in either 2022 or 2023, but a lengthy wait is expected before the first female member is admitted.
“Our members were quite clear that they wanted women to be treated not in any artificial way and they will have the same admissions process as men,” said captain Henry Fairweather (above).
“They need to be proposed and seconded by members, then go before a candidate sub-committee and then they’ll go onto a waiting list. So it’s the same process as men.
“It’s all by proposal as is normal for a private members’ club. Five-hundred members have supported women members so we’ll be looking for them to come forward with proposals.
“It’s quite a complicated admissions process. There is no standard length of time but on average it takes six-to-seven years. It can be accelerated or slowed down depending on the calibre of the application but the earliest point will likely be two years.”
The focus at Muirfield will now switch to improving facilities for women, with scheduled improvements put on hold while the issue was ongoing.
“We do need to improve our facilities,” added Mr Fairweather. “Our ladies locker room is not adequate for either visitors or for members so we have plans to improve that.”
Unlike the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers have no plans to admit any women honorary members. The Duke of Edinburgh is currently the club’s only one.