While it had been claimed within the past few weeks that there was still an outside chance of the Ayrshire club admitting women members for the first time before it stages the R&A’s marquee event, the timescale is pointing to August as being D-day for the 620 members (out of a total of 830) entitled to vote.
“What’s important is that we do this thoroughly and properly,” said Martin Cheyne, the Royal Troon captain. “We have 138 years of history across the two clubs and it’s important that we get this right. What’s important to understand with that is that the internal relationships we have, where the ladies can play the Old Course free of charge, any day of the week.I do talk about one venue and two clubhouses and I think it’s important we understand that.
“But the external world has changed in 138 years and it would be wrong not to acknowledge that, and consider: ‘Are we in a position to support the future development of golf at all ages and all genders within the current structure?”
By the time The Open comes around in mid-July, Royal Troon could be the only club among the 10 on the R&A’s rota for the event to still have single-gender status. It is believed that Muirfield is close to admitting women members, thereby following in the footsteps of both the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and Royal St George’s.
Asked about the Royal Troon situation in February, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said he felt it would be wrong for the club to be pressurised aand pointed to this year’s event being the first in its history to be staged jointly by two clubs, Royal Troon and the Ladies’ Golf Club, Troon as sending out a positive message. “It’s my view that we need to give them the respect and the freedom to consult with their members as they wish,” he insisted. “It takes time to work through this. I look forward to the outcome whenever that is. We will listen to that outcome. We have two clubs that are men-only. Both are consulting. I keep going back to my general view, that we want golf to be open to all. That’s important on the way I think about life.”