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Published: 10:46 | 27/6/16

Muirfield seeking fresh ballot

Muirfield Golf Club is to hold a fresh ballot on whether to admit female members.

Women are currently permitted to play on the Scottish course as guests but they are not allowed into the clubhouse and are prohibited from becoming members.

Following a two-year consultation process on the policy regarding female members, a ballot of the club's members last month failed to reach the two-thirds majority required to change the rule - 64 per cent voted in favour with 36 per cent against.

The vote prompted the Royal & Ancient to exclude the Scottish venue from the Open Championship rota.

"Given the schedule for staging the Open, it would be some years before Muirfield would have been considered to host the Championship again. If the policy at the club should change we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue in future," the R&A said after the vote.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Muirfield's stance was simply indefensible" but the club is now seeking to hold a fresh ballot on women members before the end of the year.

"A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events,” said club captain Henry Fairweather.

“The Club Committee believes that a clear and decisive vote in favour of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the Club that has been damaged by the earlier ballot outcome."

Muirfield has hosted the Open on 16 occasions, the most recent of which was in 2013 when Phil Mickelson lifted the Claret Jug.

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