Some May Call Them Late on the Times, but Female Members are Finally Allowed.
It took a while, but the Augusta National golf club is finally admitting female members for the first time in its 80-year history. The first female Augusta National members? The first women to receive a prestigious Augusta National membership are Condolezza Rice and Darla Moore, according to an announcement by Billy Payne, Augusta National chairman, about Augusta National women members on Monday, August 20, 2012.
The First Women in Augusta National
It took three quarters of a century, but there are now two women at Augusta National in its exclusive list of about 300 members. Condolezza Rice, 57, is currently a political economy professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, but previously served as George W. Bush’s national security adviser and during his second term became secretary of state. In 1993, she became the first black female Stanford provist.
One of the other women Augusta National admitted is Moore, 58, who is the vice president of a private investment company called Rainwater, Inc. In addition, she is also the chair and founder of the Palmetto Institute, which works on South Carolina’s per capita income.
Former chairman William “Hootie” Johnson took credit for nominating Moore to be one of the first women admitted, despite saying he wouldn’t admit women “if I drop dead this second” in the past. He called her a “sweet lady” and said that she has been to the club as a guest with her husband.
Changes for Augusta National
Augusta National is an exclusive club. Augusta National is the host of the Masters Tournament and has membership fees running into the tens of thousands. However, those wondering “Can women play at Augusta National?” were often disappointed. Women were only allowed to play as guests before. But, now two women will don the famed green jackets.
The Augusta National no-women policy has been challenged in the past. Women’s rights groups targeted the golf club and accused it of discrimination. Relent would come someday, said Johnson, but “not at the point of a bayonet.”
Augusta National first started admitting black members in 1990 and once required all cabbies be black. Despite the strides of race and Augusta National women members, it remains a largely male and white club.