Britain's Princess Anne, Laura Davies, the most successful British woman golfer, and 10-times major champion Annika Sorenstam of Sweden are among seven women chosen to take up honorary membership of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.
The R&A voted overwhelmingly last year to allow women members for the first time in its history.
American Renee Powell, the first woman to be a head professional at a UK golf course, prolific amateur Belle Robertson of Scotland, French golfing great Lally Segard and Britain’s Louise Suggs, who was co-founder and President of the LPGA, are the other new honorary members.
“This is an historic day for the Club and we could not be more proud also to welcome women who, who apart from the Princess Royal, have distinguished themselves in golf over many years and have been great players and champions,” R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The reaction I have received from some of the seven ladies is that they are absolutely thrilled to be asked and very quick to say ‘yes’ as no one turned down the invitation.
“So the process of bringing women members into the R&A club has begun in earnest."