15 Mar 2017
The Muirfield clubhouse will soon have female members for the first time.
Muirfield has been reinstated as a future Open Championship venue after the "Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers" voted to admit female members for the first time.
The R&A, golf's governing body, had removed the club from its Open rota last year when the required two-thirds of members wasn't reached when the motion was first put to a poll.
But overnight the privately owned club returned an 80.2% verdict in favour of admitting women after a total of 621 votes, a 92.7% turnout.
Club captain Henry Fairweather welcomed the result.
"This is a significant decision for a club which was founded in 1744 and retains many of the values and aspirations of its founding members," Fairweather said.
"We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club."
While the change to admit women members takes affect immediately, the club admits it is likely to be at least two years before the first woman successfully negotiates its lengthy joining process.
Muirfield has staged the Open 16 times and most recently was its host in 2013.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said the club would now be reinstated as an Open venue.
"It is extremely important for us in staging one of the world's great sporting events that women can become members at all our host clubs," Slumbers said.
"Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we very much look forward to taking the championship there in future," he said.
UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch congratulated the club.
"The decision has been a long time coming and it was right that the R&A made clear to Muirfield that the Open Championship would only be hosted at clubs that allow women members," she said.
"Golf has the potential to attract a more diverse audience to the game and this decision sends out an important message.
"It is vital that clubs and sports organisations play their part in promoting equality."