The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has announced it will recommend women be finally allowed to join the club, 260 years after it was founded.

The club is "strongly in favour" of the rule change and is asking that its 2,400 existing members vote to allow women to join.

The vote will take place on 18 September and requires a two-thirds majority.

A spokesperson for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club said: "Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the founding club of The R&A, will vote on a motion to admit women as members.

"The Club's committees are strongly in favour of the rule change and are asking members to support it. The vote is scheduled to take place in September of this year."

The move follows intense pressure on the club, especially during the British Open Championship at Muirfield last year. 

Former British sports minister Hugh Robertson and culture secretary Maria Miller turned down invitations to attend Muirfield, which is one of the three courses on the nine-strong British Open rota to not allow women members.

Britain's Minister for Sport and Equalities Helen Grant said on Wednesday: "This is welcome news from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and I urge its members to follow their Committees' recommendations and vote 'yes' for women members.

"It would mark a step in the right direction for the sport and I would hope encourage the remaining golf clubs that still have anachronistic single-sex member policies to follow suit."