St Andrews, Scotland: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Dame Laura Davies, Renée Powell, Belle Robertson MBE, Lally Segard, Annika Sorenstam and Louise Suggs have accepted invitations to become honorary members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
George Macgregor, Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said: “It is an honour and a privilege for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club to welcome these remarkable women as honorary members. The Princess Royal enjoys a strong bond with Scotland and has shown great energy and commitment to developing sport through her work in the Olympic movement.
“This is an historic day for the Club and we could not be more proud also to welcome women who have distinguished themselves in golf over many years and have been great players and champions. They are extremely worthy additions to our roll of honorary members and will become ambassadors for the Club as they have been for the sport of golf throughout their careers.”
In September, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s members voted by an 85% majority to admit women as members for the first time in its 260-year history.
The announcement follows that historic ballot and, in addition to the honorary members, a number of women have been admitted as members of the Club with more set to follow in the coming months.
The Princess Royal follows Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of York and The Duke of Kent in becoming an honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
Having herself competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, The Princess Royal is a member of the International Olympic Committee and was a member of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Princess Royal is a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle in Scotland and has been Patron of the Scottish Rugby Union since 1986.
Dame Laura Davies is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest female golfer having won four Major Championships and 79 events around the world. In 2014 she was appointed DBE for her services to golf and in July she will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at a ceremony in St Andrews.
Powell played in more than 250 events, having joined the LPGA Tour in 1967. In 1979, she became the first woman to be a head professional at a golf course in the United Kingdom, at Silvermere, near London. After leaving the LPGA Tour in 1980, she developed inner-city youth golf programmes in the United States and in 1995 became the first African-American female Class A member of The PGA of America and the LPGA.
The great Scottish amateur golfer Robertson won the British Ladies Amateur Championship in 1981 and the Scottish Ladies Close Amateur Championship on seven occasions. She represented Great Britain and Ireland in seven Curtis Cups and was part of the first team to win the match on American soil in 1986. She captained the team twice.
Scottish Sportswoman of the Year on four occasions, in 1973 she was appointed MBE for services to golf and was named as one of the 50 inaugural members of the Scottish Sport Hall of Fame in 2002.
Segard (née Vagliano) is one of France’s greatest golfers, winning the British Girls’ Championship in 1937 and, as Vicomtesse de Saint-Sauveur, 14 international titles including the British Ladies’ Amateur in 1950. As President of the Women’s Committee of the World Amateur Golf Council (now the International Golf Federation) she helped found the Espirito Santo Trophy, the women’s World Amateur Team Championship.
One of the most successful golfers in history, Sorenstam is a former world number one who won 89 events around the world, including 10 Major championships. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003 and retired from competitive golf in 2008 to focus on establishing the Annika Academy and the Annika Foundation, which support aspiring junior golfers.
Suggs, a co-founder and former President of the LPGA, won the US Women’s Amateur in 1947 and the British Ladies’ Amateur in 1948, before turning professional and winning 58 events, including 11 Major championships. She was an inaugural inductee into the LPGA Hall of Fame, established in 1967, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.