R&A Will Vote on Scrapping Men-Only Rule
By Torleif Sorenson on 3/26/14
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews, one of golf's two rule-making bodies, has sent a letter to all 2,500 current members recommending that they vote on allowing women to join the R&A.

While the R&A have not yet posted the statement on their web site, they released this statement earlier today:
"Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the founding club of The R&A, will vote on a motion to admit women as members. The Club's committees are strongly in favour of the rule change and are asking members to support it.

"The vote is scheduled to take place in September of this year."
This move has been a long time in coming; countless numbers of people and critics. Most prominently, the British Olympic Association chair Lord Moynihan, the Rt. Hon. Hugh M. Robertson (the UK's Minister for Sport), and HSBC sponsorship chief Giles Morgan have strongly and forcefully called for the admission of women to the club.

In his letter, R&A General Committee chair Wilson Sibbet reportedly told members that...
"[N]ow is the time to ask members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to welcome female members into the club.

"It is of course for members to decide if they wish to alter the rules of the club to give effect to this change of policy. The General Committee sincerely hopes that this rules change will be enthusiastically supported."
R&A chair Peter Dawson has been the target of enormous pressure to make this change; last July, Dawson finally said that the R&A would revisit the 260-year-old issue sometime after the conclusion of the 2013 Open Championship. One previous vote failed to change the policy, but with the World Wide Web and the easy availability of news and analysis, the publicity of this issue probably made the upcoming vote inevitable.

It is also worth remembering that the R&A does not actually own any of the golf courses at Saint Andrews; these are controlled by the St Andrews Links Trust, so women are free and welcome to play there without the R&A's men-only restrictions.

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Image via Flickr, Graham & Marion

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