The Augusta National Golf Club invited Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore to become the first female members in the club’s history after pressure from women’s groups and advocates. Since the club opened its doors eighty years ago, Augusta has maintained a strict male-only membership policy with women able to play the course as guests. Rice and Moore accepted the invitation and will be members for the new season in October.
The issue of female membership at Augusta has been a heated one in the last decade of the club’s history. In 2002, Martha Burk of the National Council of Women’s Organizations demanded the inclusion of women into the club’s membership. Augusta National leadership refused, causing the Masters Tournament to lose television sponsorships. When leadership at the prestigious golf club changed in 2006, Chairman Bill Payne announced that he planned to continue with the all male tradition. Female membership at the club returned to the spotlight earlier this year when Virginia Rometty became the CEO of IBM. IBM is one of the largest sponsors of the renowned Masters Tournament, and many of the previous CEOs have been asked to become members. There has been no announcement regarding extending membership to Rometty as of yet.
Media Resources: Augusta Chronicle 8/20/12, Associated Press 8/20/12, Feminist News Wire 5/10/06