The Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews has voted overwhelmingly to admit female members for the first time.

The club, exclusively for men since it was founded in Scotland 260 years ago, released a statement Thursday saying 85 percent of those who took part in the ballot voted in favor of allowing female members. The club has a worldwide membership of 2,500.

Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A, says "the membership has also acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months."

The Royal & Ancient, whose famous clubhouse overlooks the Old Course at St. Andrews, allowed a vote by proxy for the first time.