Royal and Ancient Golf Club members could be allowed to use postal voting to decide on whether to scrap its long-standing men-only policy when the organisation holds the historic ballot in September.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club based at St Andrews in Scotland has around 2,400 members worldwide and club rules state that members need to be present to take part in any vote.
However, it is believed the club is considering changing the rules to allow postal voting due to the significance of the vote on allowing female members for the first time in its more than 250-year history.
The club's secretary Peter Dawson, who is also the chief executive of ruling body the Royal & Anicent, has indicated a decision using postal voting is expected "fairly soon" adding the "jury is still out" on whether it will be allowed.
"The rules of the club only allow a vote to be taken at the business meeting of those present," Dawson, who is also President of the International Golf Federation (IGF), is reported to have told the Associated Press.
"There is a view in the club, and quite a strong one, that postal voting should be allowed.
"It would be very easy to say that would be the democratic thing to do.
"There are cons to it.
"One can say that affairs are to be settled locally, not at the bar of one's club.
"It's a balance of what's right or wrong."
The historic vote in September comes after the chairman of the Royal and Ancient Club's General Committee, Wilson Sibbett, wrote to all members in March urging them "now is the time to ask members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to welcome female members into the club", adding "the General Committee sincerely hopes that this rules change will be enthusiastically supported".
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is one of the oldest in the world and is considered the most influential, and the move to allow female members is likely to increase the pressure on all clubs used to stage the Open Championship to follow suit.
Currently, Muirfield, Royal Troon and Royal St Georges operate men-only membership policies on the Open Championship roster and women can only attend the clubs as visitors or guests of members.
In 2012, the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia - home of the US Masters - invited former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore to become its first female members, ending its 80-year policy of men-only.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
March 2014: British Sports Minister welcomes move to abolish men-only policy at Royal and Ancient Golf Club
March 2014: No decision imminent on scrapping men-only policy at golf major venues
August 2012: Augusta golf club drops men-only rule to welcome top politician Rice as female member