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Scotland’s other vote: R&A golf club to allow female members

File photo: The sun rises behind the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews on the Old Course at St Andrews venue for The Open Championship in 2015, on July 29, 2014 in St Andrews, Scotland. David Cannon/Getty Images

All eyes are on Scotland, as millions vote in the independence referendum, deciding whether Scotland will separate from the United Kingdom.

But another vote of historical importance also took place in Scotland Thursday.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the most prestigious in the world, voted on whether or not to allow women members.

The 260-year-old club has a membership of approximately 2,500 people – but not a female among them. For the first time ever, the “home of golf” allowed its members to vote by proxy.

The club announced the vote result on its Twitter feed Thursday.

According to a statement on the R&A’s website, 85 per cent of the members who cast a vote said that women should be allowed as members.

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“This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A.

“This vote has immediate effect and I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is now a mixed membership club,” said Dawson.

Not only will the changes take effect immediately, the club has said it will fast-track “a significant initial number of women” in the coming months.

Not surprisingly, the R&A’s men-only membership policy has been the target of criticism. In 2012, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the club’s men-only stance was indefensible, especially after Augusta National reversed its ban on women members.

With files from The Associated Press

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