Royal Troon has no plans to change membership structure

Royal Troon, Muirfield and Royal St George’s have come under the spotlight again following Wednesday’s R&A announcement

Royal Troon has no plans to change its membership structure and feels it should not be compared to other single-sex clubs which host the Open Championship.

The membership policy at Royal Troon, Muirfield and Royal St George’s has come under the spotlight again following Wednesday’s announcement that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews will vote in September on allowing women members for the first time in its 260-year history.

And although R&A chief executive Peter Dawson insisted the move was not intended to place pressure on male-only clubs on the Open rota, such an interpretation was unavoidable, especially after the issue overshadowed last year's Open at Muirfield.

Tim Checketts, secretary of Royal St George’s, said: “For a while now, The Royal St George’s Golf Club has been considering its position as a single sex private members golf club and when deliberations are concluded, the Committee will make a recommendation to the membership in the normal way.”


However, Royal Troon secretary David Brown said: “We have no plans to change our membership structure at this time. We are a single-gender club but in my view we feel it’s unfair to be compared to some other clubs.

“The Ladies Golf Club, Troon, was founded in 1882. They have 370 playing members. They pay us rent to play on our course and use all our facilities but they are an autonomous club.”

Troon will host the Open in 2016 while Royal St George’s and Muirfield are unlikely to feature until 2021 at the earliest.

“We are well down the road in preparation for 2016 and have successfully completed major changes to the course,” Brown added.

"The feedback from the R&A has been very positive, especially on changes to the ninth and 15th. We would be very disappointed if the R&A made a decision not to come back after 2016."

'Our future'
Muirfield, which is owned and run by The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, said: "A working group has been empowered to consult with the membership and to make recommendations to the board about our future.

“As a club, we comply fully with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and there are no current plans to change the membership criteria, but these will be reviewed.

“HCEG confirms that we are already well into the process of preparing to consult with our members to gauge the best way forward.

“Most importantly, we intend to take the time to ensure that the 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.”

Meanwhile, construction work on the Olympic golf course for the 2016 Rio Games is behind schedule and a planned test event may not be possible, International Golf Federation president Dawson has warned.

Dawson, also the chief executive of the R&A, said that while he was impressed with the proposed coastal layout, progress was worryingly slow.

“We are not satisfied,” Dawson said. “I was down there just recently, and while the design of the course looks really good, the progress with the construction is not where we want it to be.”