Another Vote On Women At Muirfield
27 June 2016, 12:01
Muirfield Golf Club wants to hold a fresh ballot over whether to admit women members just six weeks after rejecting the proposal.
The results of a vote in May revealed 64 per cent of respondents were in favour of the resolution and 36 per cent against, but as the required two-thirds majority was not reached there was no change to policy.
That resulted in Open Championship organisers the R&A removing Muifield from the tournament rota, although it did say it would reconsider that position if the membership rules were altered.
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG), which owns and runs the Muirfield club has called a special general meeting to seek authority from members to hold a new ballot before the end of the year.
"A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events,'' said HCEG captain 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.''
Of the 616 members who voted last month, 397 - or 64%, voted in favour of admitting women, while 219 - or 36%, voted against - falling narrowly short of the required two-thirds majority for change.
The club's committee supported allowing female members and will propose another postal ballot before the end of 2016 at a Special General Meeting of members.
Approving female members will begin "restoring the reputation of the club'', captain Henry Fairweather believes.
He said: "A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events.
"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.''
Some Muirfield members reportedly had concerns over ''slow play'' and future changes to club rules if women joined.
Politicians and leading golfers blasted the decision in May and urged another ballot.
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers was founded in 1744 and is said to be the oldest recorded golf club in the world.
It set down the original rules of golf in 1744 and has hosted The Open 16 times.
The course last hosted the prestigious tournament in 2013, but will be unable to do so again until it changes membership rules.
Troon is now the only remaining club on the Open rota to have a male-only membership policy, but the South Ayrshire club's committee wants members to approve women joining before it hosts the Open in July.
Troon has considered itself a ''special case'' as it shares facilities with the Ladies Golf Club, Troon, and both clubs will shoulder the responsibility of hosting this year's Open.