WOMEN have been invited to join the world-famous Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield for the first time.

Members of the club voted 80.2 per cent in favour of allowing women to become members of the club, near Gullane, in March 2017.

That followed a vote the previous year in which not enough members had backed scrapping the club's men-only policy to force a change, 64 per cent voting in favour but a 67 per cent share being required.

Subsequently, organisers The R&A announced that Muirfield would no longer be a host venue for The Open Championship, which it last hosted in 2013.

Now, 12 women, along with three men, have been invited to take up membership from Monday after taking part in the club’s traditional process, which is the same for all members.

Alistair Campbell, captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, said: “It is my great pleasure to announce that 12 women have been formally invited to join the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers this month.

"This marks a milestone in the club’s illustrious history and we look forward to welcoming all of our new members to share in the great values and traditions of our club.

“We are delighted now to have completed the extensive renovation of the clubhouse, which includes improvements to the whole building for the first time since 1980. We now have a clubhouse that matches our world-class golf course.”

As is the tradition at the club, individuals who are invited to become members must first be proposed and seconded by existing members and five referees.

The club’s membership is then invited to write in support, or otherwise, of those put forward, who are personally known to them or have golfed with them. This process is the same for men and women.

Twelve women, two of whom are overseas candidates, have now successfully progressed to this final stage of the approval process. They have now been formally invited to join as members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

Mr Campbell added: “This year marks the 275th anniversary of the club’s first recorded golf competition.

"We are proud of our club’s rich history but equally excited for its future and the part all of our new members will play in the club’s cherished traditions.”