All Royal & Ancient members to vote on allowing females

R&A CEO Peter Dawson will retire in September 2015.

All members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club will vote on women joining the 260-year-old, previously male-only club, rather than just those who turn up to the club’s Sept. 18 business meeting.

The Royal & Ancient, the members’ club attached to the R&A, released a statement today which read:

“A postal ballot among members of the Club on a motion to admit women as members will be conducted prior to the announcement of the result on 18 September 2014. This replaces the vote that was previously scheduled to take place at the Club’s Business Meeting on that day. By taking this decision all members can take part in this historic vote.”

This is the first time the Royal & Ancient has allowed postal voting in its 260-year history. The issue is of such historical importance that a large number of members have been privately campaigning to have their voices heard. Previously the decision was going to be made by the 300 or so who normally turn up for the business meeting.

Speaking at last week’s Open Championship, Royal & Ancient secretary Peter Dawson, who also serves as chief executive of the R&A, said:

“The situation on that is that it's clear that the majority of R&A members feel that postal voting would be appropriate in this case,” Dawson said. “The rules of the club do not cater for postal voting and therefore, those rules would have to be changed for a postal vote to be held legitimately. There will be a business meeting in St. Andrews next week to determine if those rules are going to be changed to allow postal voting. If they are, there will be a postal ballot on this issue. If they are not, it will go to the business meeting as normally in September.”

Clearly, the majority has made its views known and won the day. Now the entire membership will vote on admitting the other half of the population to a club previously seen as anachronistically male chauvinist. It also enhances the chances of a yes vote, since it was thought those not in favor might highjack the business meeting and maintain the status quo.

Expect Royal & Ancient members to vote overwhelmingly to allow women to join probably the world’s most powerful golf club.

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