Alexa

R&A will open the clubhouse to Women's British Open

R&A will open the clubhouse to Women's British Open

Golf's oldest establishment is opening its clubhouse doors to women players for the first time.
The 153-year-old Royal & Ancient championship clubhouse at St. Andrews, Scotland, will allow professional women golfers to step through its revered doors at this year's Women's British Open.
The agreement between the R&A and the Ladies' Golf Union means one of sport's most exclusive male-only clubs will shed one of its longest-standing traditions for the entire week of the tournament, which runs from Aug. 2-5 at the Old Course.
"The championship clubhouse will be open to all competitors, caddies, and officials involved with the Open," R&A spokesman Stewart McDougall said Thursday.
Women have been allowed into the neoclassical clubhouse _ designed by Scottish architect George Rae _ in the past, but only for social occasions.
The Old Course is hosting a women's championship for the first time. Since 1872, the men's British Open has been held at the Old Course 27 times.
Male members will still have access to the clubhouse through the week, though a makeshift locker room within the clubhouse will be set up for their use. McDougall said the deal couldn't have gone through without the support from those members.
"Everyone's completely behind it," he said. "This underlines the relationship between (our organizations)."
The LGU accepted the offer, which was made by the R&A at the end of last year, after the women's Open at Royal Lytham.
"It's absolutely fantastic," LGU chief executive Lesley Burn said. "St. Andrew's itself is the most beautiful place, it's the home of golf. To actually use and have access to one of the most iconic buildings in the world is a fantastic opportunity."
The LGU will mark the occasion with a media presentation in early May.
Burn hailed the agreement but stopped short of saying it could lead to women being admitted as members soon.
"I just think this is what's right for golf," Burn said. "Time moves on and time changes. We live in a society that has freedom of association and I think we are making great strides forward.
"It's not about principles _ it's about promoting and growing the game of women's golf. An open invitation from a partner organization is a door I'll always take."
The R&A boasts a worldwide membership of 2,400. The men's-only club was established in 1754 and includes Britain's Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who is the current club captain.


Updated : 2021-03-08 11:58 GMT+08:00