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In Scotland History Is Made... But At A Golf Club

The clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews sits just off the first tee. The course itself is open to the public — women as well as men. But women had not been allowed to join the club since its founding in 1754.
The clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews sits just off the first tee. The course itself is open to the public — women as well as men. But women had not been allowed to join the club since its founding in 1754.

Yes, history is unfolding in Scotland this evening.

But another bit of history was made in the region earlier today, when the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews announced that its members had voted overwhelmingly to allow women to become members.

In a statement, the club's secretary Peter Dawson said 85 percent of members voted in the affirmative. He added:

"This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men."

As Doug Tribou reported for NPR, the club set the modern standard for golf, when it trimmed its local course from 22 holes to 18 holes.

Doug reported that women were allowed on the course, but they were not allowed inside the club house, not even as guests.

The vote to allow women came as St. Andrews was getting ready to host the 2015 British Open.

The New York Times reports the club had been under international pressure to open up its ranks to women. The Times reports:

"Scrutiny of all-male clubs everywhere has increased since the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, which hosts the Masters, accepted two women as members in 2012: Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, and Darla Moore, a South Carolina businesswoman.

"In an odd twist of timing, the decision was announced on the same day that Scots flocked to the polls to vote on whether to secede from the United Kingdom."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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