The members of Pine Valley Golf Club, home of the top-ranked golf course in the United States, have voted to allow female members to join their ranks for the first time in the club’s 108-year history.
The exclusive New Jersey club has had a male-only membership policy since it opened in 1914, but a vote held at the club’s annual members’ meeting last week came out in favour of allowing women to join the club and to have unrestricted access to play the course.
Writing in an email to the membership, which was obtained by Golf Digest, Pine Valley president Jim Davis said: “The future of golf must move toward inclusion, and I am pleased to report that the trustees and members of the Pine Valley Golf Club have voted unanimously and with enthusiasm to remove all gender-specific language from our bylaws.
“The club’s policies will now allow all guests to enjoy our club without restrictions and we will begin immediately identifying women candidates for membership with the expectation of having our first women members in the club by the end of this year.
“As has been our custom, all prospective candidates must be socially compatible, share a deep passion for the game of golf, and be able to play the golf course with the skill level our founder George Crump intended.”
Women guests at Pine Valley were previously only allowed to play the course on Sunday afternoons. That rule will be lifted with immediate effect, with women guests allowed to play at any time.
Out of 3,670 private golf clubs in the US today, fewer than a dozen retain a male-only membership. These include Burning Tree in Maryland and Garden City Golf Club in New York. Glasgow Golf Club in Scotland, which was formed in 1787, became the last club in the UK to admit women members when it changed its rules in 2019.