The R&A is to discuss a merger with the Ladies' Golf Union
Golf's governing body the R&A is in talks with the Ladies' Golf Union (LGU) over the prospect of a merger.
In a joint statement they say "exploratory discussions are underway" to achieve a "closer relationship and the possibility of a merger".
Both bodies are based at the Royal and Ancient Golf club of St Andrews which recently invited women members to join the club for the first time.
The R&A runs The Open, major amateur events and international matches.
Along with the United States Golf Association it also governs the game worldwide.
The LGU runs the Ricoh Women's British Open and all aspects of ladies golf in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
St Andrews voted to admit women members for the first time in its 260-year history in September when The Princess Royal, Dame Laura Davies and Scottish amateur Belle Robertson MBE were among 14 women invited to join.
The statement continued: "There is a great deal of synergy between the LGU and The R&A, with both based in St Andrews and responsible for staging major championships, prestigious amateur events and international matches.
"Both organisations are committed to supporting the development of golf and encouraging participation in the sport."