The club booted off Britain’s most prestigious golf tournament due to its ban on women will admit female members for the first time since it was founded in 1744.
Members of Muirfield, also known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, voted 498 to 123 in favor of the rule change Tuesday, overturning last year’s decision.
The course will now be eligible to host the British Open again, according to the event’s organizers, the Royal Ancient. “It is extremely important for us in staging one of the world’s great sporting events that women can become members at all of our host clubs,” R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers said.
A region’s ability to host the British Open can have a significant economic impact. Last year’s competition generated a 110 million pound ($125.7 million) benefit to Scotland, Scottish First Minister Sturgeon announced in January.
“Well done, Muirfield — decision to admit women members emphatic & the right one,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter after Tuesday’s vote. The club’s decision to uphold the ban in May last year was “simply indefensible,” she said at the time.