Canadian among Royal & Ancient’s first female members

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Diane Dunlop-Hébert (Golf Canada/ Bernard Brault)

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The Royal and Ancient Golf Club announced its first female members on Thursday, among them was Diane Dunlop-Hébert, a past president of Golf Canada and Golf Québec.

The club voted in September to end 260 years of male-only exclusivity by voting in favour of inviting women to join. 

Dunlop-Hébert is one of seven “ordinary” members. She is the first and only Canadian on the list of ordinary members, which was leaked by golf journalists.

An accountant by trade, Dunlop-Hébert has spent the past 18 years as Director and Vice-President of Business Development for Groupe Park Avenue, a multi-franchise automobile mall in Montreal.

The club officially released the names of its seven “honorary” members, which included Swedish great Annika Sorenstam and Britain’s Princess Anne.

Sorenstam, a 10-time major champion, wrote on Twitter: “I am very honored to be one of the lucky ladies.”

Princess Anne, who competed in equestrian for Britain at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and is an IOC member, is the only female honorary member who hasn’t played golf competitively.

Anne is the fourth member of the royal family to become an honorary member of the R&A, joining her father Prince Phillip, brother Prince Andrew and the Duke of Kent.

Two other British honorary members are Laura Davies, who has won four majors, and Belle Robertson, an amateur great.

Two U.S. women were admitted: Renee Powell, only the second black player to compete on the LPGA Tour, and Louise Suggs, a co-founder and former LPGA president who won 11 majors.

Completing the list is Frenchwoman Lally Segard, who won 14 titles before becoming president of the World Amateur Golf Council, which is now known as the International Golf Federation.

The Royal and Ancient has stated it plans to accelerate the process of naming other golfers in the coming months.

St. Andrews will be the venue for the British Open this summer.