Female membership at Augusta National: You love a good debate.
It would not have shocked me if, after this exhilerating Masters, we'd received a hundred pieces of mail about Bubba Watson, or for that matter about Louis Ooosthuizen's unforgettable double-eagle. But those weren't the straws that stirred this year's Masters conversation apparently. What you wanted to talk about was Augusta National's membership policy, several in response to Golf World pieces by David Owen and John Feinstein. By the way, please see my colleague Stina Sternberg's forceful Golf Digest Woman blog today
addressing the subject. She's received a ton of comments about it already.
Here's where some of Golf World and Golf Digest readers stand....on both sides of the divide:
When is Augusta National going to wake up and smell the 21st century coffee? It is time to admit women members. The old "We are a private club, and our membership decisions are private", sounds a lot like another fairy tale that goes, "The Civil War was really all about states' rights". Right, and I have some ocean front property in Arizona I'd like to sell you. How about if Augusta National admitted women members because it is the right thing to do? I'm sorry but when the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes, you need to get him a robe.
Paul Servatius, Meridian, Idaho
Good grief, yet again the bleeding hearts chastise ANGC for its membership policy. It is a private men's club, and as such is entitled to do as the members wish. Virginia Rometty understands that as well.
Ernest Ward, Amelia Island, FL
Hats off to David Owen for getting it right, and highlighting the hypocrisy of a women's-only organization chastising a male-only one. Anyone who doesn't see the benefit of a same sex club/organization/etc has probably lived a pretty insular life. I am no sexist bigot. I've loved a few women, but respected many more. My partner doesn't see the issue either, but she as never garnered her self esteem through what somebody else says or does. Equal treatment doesn't mean equality, but in this age of political ascension by pitting group against group, it's not surprising that many people forget it.
Robert Engels, Chicago
I have to respectfully say that I am disappointed Golf World would use the April 16th issue to promote the agenda of pressuring Augusta National to invite females to become club members rather than simply report the news. Specifically, John Feinstein states in his article, "Augusta needs a female member (or two or three)--right now," Augusta National needs to allow female members for the good of the game and, the good of women. He also goes on to say Augusta National should surrender to the media and public pressure in order to make what he calls an "awkward" question go away that seemingly arises every spring.
As a non-member, how can Mr. Feinstein comment on what he personally feels is good for Augusta National and its members? Is conceding to the annual media and public inquiries truly the answer to resolving this private club matter? I am sure the members of Augusta National who have given us the Masters since the 1930s are fully capable of deciding what is in the best interest of their private club.
There is a fine line between the media pressure we are seeing and the "bayonet" used by Martha Burk back in 2003.
I know you will not print this however i hope you will do me the courtesy of reading this. As an avid golf fan and player, after watching another masters and loving every minute of it. I feel compelled to write to you and comment on the state of this great game. The chairman of Augusta National once again danced around the subject of FEMALE membership. I do not care if they ever actually have a female member; however, they can not be permitted to avoid the subject. Yes they are a private club and as such can do as they please. But The Masters is not--it is very public I think everyone would agree. Sanctioned by the PGA [Tour] and as such they must be forced to address this issue. They make a very big deal about the chairman addressing the media before the tournament, so it is long over due that they state once and for all, that they do not have any policy in place that does not permit female members.
Perception of discrimination by not clearly stating otherwise is as bad as discriminating. I think we would all agree that in our modern world any form of discrimination is unacceptable. To discriminate against another for any reason is wrong, it is an evil from past times. A great quote once said That for evil to win, good only has to do nothing. The PGA [Tour] is doing nothing. If the PGA [Tour] associates with a tournament then they are saying we approve this tournament. If that tournament has the perception of discrimination, then they are in turn approving that discrimination by association.
The chairman boasted that they would be watched in over 200 countries, that they put a great deal of time money and effort into the future of this great game. That they would lead or follow. They are way too late to lead, so when they reach out to our kids to bring them into this game, as we all agree they are the future. What exactly is their message: 'Hello boys and girls. If you play this great game and get to be one of the world's elite players, one day you too could play here at the Augusta National. Oh, we mean just you boys; you girls are not welcome.'
Traditions are important. However, when it comes to traditions Augusta National is very young. The British royal family has had traditions in place for hundreds of years. Recently they upgraded one of their oldest traditions. No longers is it the first male born that is Heir to the throne of England, but the firstborn no matter which sex that child is. Even monarchy have seen there is no place for sex discrimination in this modern world. Step to the tee August National and take your rightful place in golf's future.
Ian Dow, Sorrento, FL
Enough already! Your article regarding Augusta admitting women into membership was over the top! It was bad enough to have the mainstream media harping on the subject all week, but to have an article by Golf World was too much. Most of those clambering for women members are those of the "pro-choice" crowd, as long as it is of their choice. Well, Augusta has made its choice for now and that is not to do so; so let it be and quit chiming in on political subjects. I subscribe to Golf World for the stories on golf, not politics and political correctness. If you decide to be a political advocate more than a golf reporter, I will choose not to continue my subscription. Stick to what you're good at, reporting golf because as a political commentary, you're not that good.
Randall Ficken, Wichita, KS
David Owen and John Feinstein (Stop the Bandwagon and Augusta Needs a Female Member, April 16) have missed the point. Augusta National is a private club: it can grant or deny membership to anyone it wishes. We may think its policies are ignorant, insulting and arcane, but it is not our place to force it to change them.
No, the problem lies with the PGA tour. The Tour either does business with clubs that discriminate, or it does not. If it does not, how about this: Next year the Augusta National Invitational is no longer a tour sanctioned event. The fourth major is The Players Championship, to be conducted the first full weekend in April.
I know, I know, “A Tradition Like No Other.” As an avid golfer for forty-eight years, I have concluded that the tradition of the “Masters” is one of narrow-mindedness and good-old-boy bigotry which modern golf can do without.
Michael Gilbert, New York City
The screeds that skewer Augusta National's membership and its yearly Invitational Tournament are apparently written by folks who have forgotten the definitions of "private" and "invitational." Membership there, and at many other clubs, can best be described as "don't call us, we'll call you."
If you are not called, focus on something really important, such as: the rapidly rising US national debt, the US education system that has lost ground to dozens of other countries, the loss of US-sited manufacturing base, etc.
Frank Sulzbach, Dallas, TX
Thanks to all for sharing your views.