Dame Laura Davies and the Princess Royal were among the first seven women to be admitted to honorary membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews.
The club admitted seven female members, the other five being golfing greats, having voted last September to amend its membership policy to allow women after 260 years.
The club has more than 2,400 members, and more than 85 per cent of the three-quarters who took part in the vote were in favour of admitting women.
In a statement the club said: “The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is delighted to announce that 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 club.”
The club has a strong royal connection, with the Princess joining the Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of York and Duke of Kent as an honorary member.
The R&A said “a number” of women players, beyond the honorary members, have been welcomed into the club.
The R&A captain, George Macgregor, 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.”
Laura Davies, England’s greatest woman player, became a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last year. The four-time major winner remains an active player in the professional game at 51, seeking to add to her 79 tour titles.
Powell, 68, is an African-American former LPGA tour player who, since retiring, has encouraged development in junior golf, particularly with inner-city youngsters.Reuse content