Huge Gender Dilemma For Augusta National

March 28, 2012 by staff 

Huge Gender Dilemma For Augusta National, Augusta National Golf Club is a place of grand and strict traditions. Members must wear green jackets while on the premises. Caddies are mandatory. Annual fees and club membership are ostensibly secret. There is never, ever any running. This is the most exclusive golf club in the world, just three hundred or so names and they are prominent – Warren Bufffett, Bill Gates, Lynn Swann, T. Boone Pickens and so on.

Historically, the sitting CEO of International Business Machines (IBM) is offered an invitation for membership. The club has never had a female member, even in the face of repeated public protests.

Now here’s the conundrum. On Jan. 1, 2012, IBM named Virginia “Ginni” M. Rometty, a woman, as CEO. Bloomberg News Service, which first reported this, says she golfs, at least a little bit.

What will, or can, Augusta National do?

I’ve never believed that a private club should be forced to accept certain members. As long as they are complying with the law, the point of being a private club is that you can make private decisions.

I’ve been to Augusta National many times and it is one of the most staid, conservative places imaginable. That’s how they like it. To suggest it is outwardly hostile to women is a stretch, though. There are women everywhere. They can play as guests. They hang out as spouses.

This has often seemed like an overblown wedge issue.

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