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Royal Troon, the next male-only club to host The Open in 2016, has just announced that its membership policy is currently under review
As the next male-only club to host The Open Championship. Royal Troon will no doubt find itself increasingly under the spotlight as July 2016 draws nearer, especially as it will be the first male-only club to host the event since The R&A took the momentous decision last September to end its centuries-old male-only membership policy.
The male-only Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers found themselves under increased scrutiny when The Open last visited Muirfield in 2013, and it seems those still holding on to their male-only stance may find such a position increasingly untenable going forwards in the light of The R&A vote last year to end its longstanding male-only membership policy.
The R&A has been at pains to point out that it is not exerting any pressure on male-only Open Championship venues to reconsider their positions, but it seems the governing body's actions last September are certainly exerting indirect pressure on the three remaining male-only Open venues at Troon, Muirfield and Royal St George’s.
Royal Troon is in a slightly different position to the other two in that it already has a separate ladies’ club as well, and regardless of the outcome of the review, Troon has already taken a sizable step forward by announcing that the ninth staging of The Open over its famous links in 2016 will for the first time be co-hosted by both the men’s and ladies’ clubs via the formation of a joint championship committee.
Beyond that, the club also announced in a statement issued yesterday, that it will “shortly undertake a comprehensive review to consider the most appropriate membership policy for the future. The recommendations from this review will be presented to the membership for their consideration.”
Meanwhile, Muirfield’s male-only policy is also under review, with an initial report due out this spring, while Royal St George's is also considering its position on the matter.
Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
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