FORE! Well…Two At Least
Augusta National Golf Club, the private club that hosts the Masters tournament, recently added its first two female members, Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore. This 80-year old golf club has long been known for its restrictive membership policies, even excluding black members until 1990. In the last 10 years, the club had come under increasing scrutiny in regards to allowing female members.
Most recently, the issue of allowing the new CEO of IBM to be a member created a firestorm of negative media attention. The four previous CEOs of IBM were all granted membership, but the appointment of Virginia Rometty, the first female CEO of IBM, created a public relations conundrum, especially in light of IBM being one of the three principle sponsors of the Masters.
In spite of negative press, Augusta National Golf Club maintained that it was a private club and conducts business on its own terms. This could be why it was such a surprise when it announced it had granted membership to two women this past Monday.
Calling it a momentous occasion, Hall of Fame golfer Nancy Lopez said, “It’s a big stepping stone for women in golf and for women in general because of what Augusta stands for.”