Members of one of the few remaining male-only golf courses in the UK, Muirfield in East Lothian, have voted against opening up membership to women.
After a two year consultation process, fewer than two thirds of the club’s 648 members voted in favour of the change, with “no” campaigners citing concerns about slow play and making women “feel uncomfortable” among the risks of admitting female members.
The R&A has now made it clear that this will impact on Muirfield’s ability to host the Open Championship.
Chief executive of the R&A, Martin Slumbers, said in response to Muirfield’s decision: "We have consistently said that it is a matter for the Honourable Company to conduct a review of its membership policy and that we would await their decision.
"The Open is one of the world's great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members.
"Given the schedule for staging the Open, it would be some years before Muirfield would have been considered to host the Championship again.
"If the policy at the club should change, we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue in future."
George Kerevan, the SNP MP for East Lothian, said: "I'm outraged by decision of minority at Muirfield Golf Club to block admitting female members. Sad for golf, equality, democracy."
He added: "Defeat of proposal to admit women members at Muirfield Golf Club imperils the sport in East Lothian. Very selfish."