The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has come under fire from former prime minister Gordon Brown over its continued refusal to admit women members.
The Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia – home of the Masters – last week decided to admit former United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore.
Mr Brown raised the issue as he delivered the inaugural Campbell Christie Lecture yesterday at the Scottish Parliament’s Festival of Politics.
“If the golf club in Augusta can start to admit women, then shouldn’t St Andrews?” Mr Brown said. “Shouldn’t the Royal and Ancient Golf Club admit women to their membership?
If they can do it in South Carolina and we can’t do it in Scotland, then I think we’ve got to think hard and long about issues of discrimination in our own country, where we’ve got to tackle that inequality and that injustice.”
Three golf courses in Scotland operate male-only policies. Royal Troon and the Royal and Ancient have no female members, nor does Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which will host next year’s Open Championship.
An R&A spokesman said: “The rules of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews specify a male membership, and this policy remains a matter for our members to determine”.