August 21, 2012 by kujhawk
Gentleman only, ladies forbidden. This is a popular acronym for the sport of golf. I like to compare the saying to a “no girls allowed” sign on the door to an adolescent boy’s room. It is more there for show than anything else. Monday, Augusta National removed the sign off of their door, and Bobby Jones is probably rolling in his grave as I write this.
Because on Monday Augusta National finally gave in to the pressure. The famous private golf club founded by Mr. Jones and his friend Clifford Roberts that hosts the Masters golf tournament every year named its first two female members in the 80-year history of the club – former United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore. Both women seem very excited to be members of the storied club.
“I am delighted and honored to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club. 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,” Rice said in a statement.
“I am honored to have accepted an invitation to join Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National has always captured my imagination, and is one of the most magically beautiful places anywhere in the world, as everyone gets to see during the Masters each April,” Moore said in a statement. “I am fortunate to have many friends who are members at Augusta National, so to be asked to join them as a member represents a very happy and important occasion in my life. Above all, Augusta National and the Masters Tournament have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me. I am extremely grateful for this privilege.”
Congratulations Augusta, welcome to the 21st century. And congratulations Condoleezza and Darla, you are the newest members of a formerly all-male club that did everything it could to not have female members. You are equal now! All we have to do is fix the wage problem for professional women and erase the gender roles still associated with men and women and everything will be just dandy.
I mean, come on everyone. Must we applaud something that should have been done a long time ago? To quote the bartender from the movie “Anchorman”, “Times are changing. Women can do stuff now.” This of course is news to the members at Augusta National, who wouldn’t even allow black members until 1990. Maybe Augusta thought they were killing two birds with one stone. They could say, “Hey everyone look! We added our first female members! AND, one of them is black!” Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for both of these women. But at the same time, I think it is a little bit silly in this day and age that we have to make such a big deal over women being allowed to join a club. A private club no less. A private club that costs somewhere between $100,000-300,000 to join and whose current membership includes the likes of Warren Buffet, Pete Coors, Bill Gates, T. Boone Pickens Jr. and Lou Holtz.
Whether or not the decision was an easy one or a tough one to make, it was for the members and board of Augusta National to make. I just want to know which members didn’t want female members. The admittance process for Augusta National is as follows. Those who are being considered for membership are determined by a small committee. After the committee determines this, it may take up to several years for the person who has been selected by the committee to find out that he (or now she) has been given membership to the club. During this whole process, this person does not know that they are under the scrutiny of the membership committee. That sounds pretty intense. I could see T. Boone Pickens Jr. sitting at the table arguing why women should not be given membership while drinking a scotch and smoking a fat cigar. He’s a southern man and he’s old-school. But who knows. Maybe the powerful southern members didn’t care. We will never know.
What I do know is that it might be a little awkward when Ms. Rice and Ms. Moore go into the locker room after a morning on the course for the first time. Sorry boys, but there is no such thing as “no girls allowed” anymore. Ladies are not forbidden and they can do stuff now. You better get used to it. And get used to it quick, because Condoleezza and Darla like to tee off early and they play fast.
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