Augusta National Golf Club admits women (finally)
The Augusta National Golf Club announced on Monday that it would finally allow women to join.
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore were announced as the first female members of the highly selective club.
Chairman Billy Payne described the admission of Rice and Moore as “a significant and positive time in our Club’s history.”
The 80 year old club and host of the Masters had repeatedly refused to admit female members, in spite of increasing pressure to do so.
Protests against the male-only membership have been going on for the last decade.
According to activist Martha Burk, who protested against the club in 2002, the issue is not one of women getting to play golf – women have long been allowed to play at Augusta – but the power and influence membership brings.
“Let’s face it. It was never about golf. It’s about access to power, access to the place where deals are made and money passes hands,” Burk told The Wall Street Journal.
Rice, who is currently a professor of political economy at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, said “I have visited Augusta National on several occasions and look forward to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity.”
Payne, who refused to consider the possibility of admitting women in 2006, did not comment directly on the club’s history of hostility towards female members nor did he give any reasons for the historic decision.
However, he did say that “it will be a proud moment when we present Condoleeza and Darla their Green Jackets when the Club opens this [autumn].”