One day after the R&A announced plans to vote on adding women as members this fall, the course that hosted the Open Championship last summer appears poised to consider taking similar steps.
According to a Golfweek report, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield is prepared to review its all-male membership criteria, a stance the club has had since its founding in 1774.
“A working group has been empowered to consult with the membership and to make recommendations to the board about our future,” read a club statement according to the report. “As a club, we comply fully with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 (U.K. anti-discrimination legislation) and there are no current plans to change the membership criteria, but these will be reviewed.
“Most importantly, we intend to take the time to ensure that plans we adopt will stand us in good stead, not only for the immediate future but for the next 270 years of our great club.”
When it hosted the Open for the 16th time last year, Muirfield received significant criticism for its lack of female membership. Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, refused to attend the event, stating, "I just think it's indefensible in the 21st century not to have a golf club that's open to all."
R&A chief executive Peter Dawson described the membership issue as "divisive" last summer and as one that "we're finding increasingly difficult," and added plans to address the subject after the event's conclusion.
Muirfield is one of three courses currently in the Open rotation that does not allow female members, along with Royal St. George's, which last hosted the event in 2011, and Royal Troon, which will serve as host course in 2016.