If Muirfield’s sudden change of heart is a barometer of how votes go these days, we’d better prepare for another EU referendum in double quick time.

It’s only six weeks since The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers upheld their ban on admitting women as members of the Scottish club.

Now the club committee are seeking a fresh ballot and want authority from the membership, at a special general meeting, to hold that new vote before the end of the year.

You’d like to think it was the general revulsion which followed that first decision, and not the R&A quickly removing them from the Open rota, that has prompted Muirfield’s latest attempt at public relations.

In fairness, a majority of members DID vote for change in that original postal exchange – but the 64 per cent in favour were fractionally short of the two thirds majority needed to carry the day.

HCEG captain Henry Fairweather has talked about the task of restoring the club’s reputation following the damage caused by the earlier ballot.

That won’t be straightforward.

Without an overwhelming decision in favour of change, there will still be the suspicion that a significant minority of members are being cajoled into toeing the party line.

Will any women even want to join the club given some of the archaic, and frankly indefensible, views we’ve heard since May 19?

But this is at least a start and you would hope this time that Muirfield grasp the chance for ‘redemption’ with both hands.

Steve Carroll

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