Date: September 17, 2014

R and A to vote on women

home of golf is on the cusp of admitting women as members after more than 200 years.

The all-male Royal and Ancient at St Andrews in Scotland will this week announce the results of a postal ballot of its 2400 members that asks if women should be admitted to the club.

The vote comes at the same time Scotland is voting on independence from Britain.

The R and A, founded in 1754, is one of the oldest golf clubs in the world.  Women can play golf at St Andrews, and the course has hosted the Women’s British Open in the past. The course itself is operated by the Links Trust, but women are not allowed into the clubhouse in the general course of events.

If the vote is passed, a list of 15 women who have made a significant contribution golf will be put forward for membership.

The R and A announced the vote in March and is in favour of the change. "We very much hope once the vote is taken we will be welcoming women to the club,’’ said the R and A secretary, Peter Dawson, when announcing the vote. “It's something that has been expected; I'm not going to say overdue but I'm sure I'll be asked that question. Society is changing, sport is changing, golf is changing and I think it's appropriate for a governing body to take this step."

The R and A has been criticised for declining to admit women with the British Sports Minister, Helen Grant, recently calling the club’s policy “anachronistic’’.

Augusta National, which was also criticised for its previous single-sex membership policy, admitted women as members in 2012.