During an Open at Muirfield one year I stayed in Edinburgh with a lovely local couple. Mr Castle was quite a character. He was a proud artisan golfer who loved telling stories about his group of friends whose greatest entertainment was outwitting Captain Paddy Harmer, the formidable Secretary and sneaking onto the links of Muirfield. Captain Harmer was no respecter of status in golf. He once shooed off Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson, who had returned to play a few more holes the night that Watson had won the Championship. What made Captain Harmer even more irate was that Polly and Linda were with Ben and Tom. And God forbid, they were walking on the greens in high heels.
These stories of people sneaking onto Muirfield to challenge the elitism and male only attitudes may become less now that the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers have decided to vote on allowing women members. It will be by postal ballot, to encourage more people to vote. This follows the decision of Open venue Royal St Georges to allow women in, alongside Royal Troon, this year’s Open venue who are also considering the issue. Finally, we are getting somewhere. It’s only taken this club 300 years.