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Women's locker room appears to be coming to R&A clubhouse in St. Andrews

October 24, 2019

Andrew Redington

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is not an organization known for moving rapidly. It wasn’t until 2014, more than 260 years after its founding and under a bit of duress, that the organization admitted women members.

Five years on, the female members are still without a locker room in the clubhouse with which to change. Instead they are asked to utilize the nearby Forgan House in order to grab a shower and change clothes.

But that appears to be changing. On Thursday, the R&A confirmed the women of the club will soon have a place to call their own with the addition of female changing rooms to the clubhouse.

“We are in the early stages of planning upgrades to the clubhouse, including the installation of women’s changing rooms,” a spokesperson for the R&A said. “We are consulting with members before we finalize our plans.”

Exactly when the facility will be finished, however, is uncertain. “There is no firm timetable but it will be a phased program, which will take us beyond 2021,” the R&A spokesperson said.

Progress awaits, but it will take a little while longer.

While admission of women members and having a place for them to change seem to go hand-in-hand, the obstacles to adding a women’s locker room are in part understandable. The R&A clubhouse opened in 1854 and renovations in the famed stone building are costly and tricky to implement.

The year 2021 will be a big one for the R&A. That’s when it will celebrate the 150th playing of the Open Championship, to be held at St. Andrews.