Tait's Take: Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers finally does honorable thing

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Tait's Take: Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers finally does honorable thing

Golf

Tait's Take: Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers finally does honorable thing

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Walk through the streets of Gullane, Scotland Thursday and you might just hear a ticking sound. The hands on the clock in the clubhouse of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers just started moving again.

Time no longer stands still at Muirfield, where the Honourable Company has played golf for 275 years. In all that time, women have played the Open Championship layout, but only as guests. They’ll now be able to do so as equals.

The club announced Thursday that it has extended invitations to women to join its ranks.

“It is my great pleasure to announce that 12 women have been formally invited to join the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers this month,” said Alistair Campbell, captain of the Honourable Company. “This marks a milestone in the club’s illustrious history, and we look forward to welcoming all of our new members to share in the great values and traditions of our club.

“This year marks the 275th anniversary of the club’s first recorded golf competition. We are proud of our club’s rich history but equally excited for its future and the part all of our new members will play in the club’s cherished traditions.”

Campbell did not name the 12 women invited to join the club, but they’ve gone through the same membership process as men. That means they have been “proposed and seconded by existing members and five referees. The club’s membership is then invited to write in support, or otherwise, of those put forward, who are personally known to them or have golfed with them.”

The Honourable Company has dragged its feet on this issue for too long. Indeed, the club was adamant when it staged the 2013 Open Championship that it wouldn’t be pressured into accepting women members, but would do so in its own time.

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the members club attached to the R&A, voted to accept women members in 2014. Two years later, Honourable Company members voted not to accept women into the club. Muirfield was taken off the Open Championship rota as a result.

The club did an about-face a year later when it held another vote. This time 80% of membership voted in favour of women becoming members. Today’s announcement is the result of that vote.

It’s about time, too. It beggars belief that a club with “honourable” in its title has taken nearly 300 years to do the honorable thing.

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