Last month, we brought you news that Murifield, with some coaxing from the R&A, finally decided to admit women as members.
Now, Henry Fairweather, the captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, is again in front of reporters. Fairweather suggested women will now be subject to “quite a complicated admissions process.”
Catriona Matthew, former Women’s British Open champion, for one, is eager for membership at the legendary East Lothian club.
“I’m not sure if professionals can be members, but we are exploring the possibilities…Things are in motion, from what I hear locally. In the end, they are going to do things the right way. There won’t be just a few token members. They are going to have a decent amount of women. And after that, women will be treated the same as men on the waiting list. Their normal process normally takes about five years.”
Certainly, this is good to hear.
If you’re wondering, the traditional “five-year process” at Muirfield requires a current member to propose a candidate and that candidate then has to be seconded by another member. This, of course, isn’t enough for inclusion at the highly insular club. A prospective member must then get letters of support from an additional five members.
With a candidate’s paperwork in order, it’s shipped off to a sub-committee and then, if approved, added to the waiting list. And if all goes well, according to Huggan, a candidate can become an Honourable Company member in five to seven years. On the plus side, however, the annual dues are reportedly only £1,300, on par with the cheapest private courses in the United States.
So there’s the process…generally. But in order to add women to the ranks of the Honourable Company a bit more quickly. The HCEG plans to fast-track 25 womens’ applications for membership, bringing the number of the Honourable Company up to 625 from 600.
While some might hope the Honourable Company would make haste to even out the number of men and women on the roster, at a private club with limited space and a golf course with only 18 holes, that simply isn’t possible. Thus, Muirfield is finally crawling toward the 21st century.