The R&A and LGU have announced they have begun discussions regarding closer ties and a possible merger.

The R&A and the Ladies’ Golf Union have issued a joint statement to confirm the organisations have begun exploratory discussions with a view towards establishing a more co-ordinated working relationship and the possibility of a future merger.

As both organisations are based in St Andrews and both are responsible for the staging of Major Championships, prestigious amateur events and international matches, there’s a good deal of synergy between the two. And, a key objective for both is to develop golf and encourage participation; so establishing closer working ties would seem a logical step.

Founded in 1893, the LGU is the encompassing body for ladies’ amateur golf in Great Britain & Ireland. The LGU Board includes representatives of ladies’ golf’s national governing bodies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Operational activities are undertaken by a wholly owned subsidiary, LGU Championships Limited (“LGUCL”), which in particular owns and runs the Ricoh Women’s British Open, founded by the LGU in 1976 and one of the five Major Tournaments for professional women golfers. LGUCL also has responsibility for running British Amateur Championships and Home International events, and preparing the Great Britain & Ireland teams for representative matches, such as the Curtis Cup and the Vagliano Trophy.

This joint statement comes as the latest in a series of recent announcements from The R&A and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club displaying the organisation and the club’s clear desire to move the sport of golf forward.

At the start of February The R&A announced a new five-year broadcast deal with Sky TV to provide coverage of The Open Championship.

The following week the Royal and Ancient Golf Club announced that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Dame Laura Davies, Renée Powell, Belle Robertson MBE, Lally Segard, Annika Sorenstam and Louise Suggs had accepted invitations to become honorary members. The club voted to accept women members last September.

A further announcement from the LGU and The R&A is expected in due course.