Much has changed in the world since 1754, the year when the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland, became known as the “home of golf.” One thing that has not changed during those 260 years however is the golf club that is often considered the sport’s spiritual home has continued to bar women from becoming members. Until Thursday, that is.
The iconic Scottish club, much like Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, was facing increasing pressure to allow female members after hundreds of years as an old boys club. In 2012, Augusta admitted two female members, one of which was former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. On Thursday, in a mail-in ballot among its 2,400 male members, the St. Andrews club leapfrogged a century or two and voted to follow suit with 85 percent supporting the admission of female members.
“Before Thursday’s vote, women could play on the course, on Scotland’s east coast, but they were not allowed in the clubhouse and had no significant part in the sport’s rulemaking,” the BBC reports. “The policy will take effect immediately, and the club said some women would be put on a fast track for membership to avoid having to spend time on the long waiting list,” according to the New York Times.