Welcome to the 21st Century Augusta

By Jonny Ali

Augusta National Country Club

Augusta Country Club, home of the Masters has finally made the decision to accept women into their membership. Both Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore became the first female members at the prestigious Country Club. Augusta has been correctly lambasted  over the years because of its exclusive policies of being an all men’s club. Now it is worth noting that Augusta has always allowed women on the course and at the country club, it just has never had a female member. Not a defense for them, but worth noting.

I commend Augusta for finally coming to their senses and adding female members.  The only problem is that it was 80 years too late.   Many will argue that Augusta is a private club; that they have the right to select who they want as members, but this is not a 3rd grade tree house club with a sign out front that  says “No Girls Allowed” — this is a combination of the wealthiest and most powerful men in America.  I do not know the ins and outs of the policies that govern Augusta but it is a puzzle to me why it has taken them so long  to acknowledge that women should  be included into their membership. It is not that I expect Augusta to be an inclusive club and open their doors to anyone but it is simply foolish for an organization of that stature to continue with policies that are simply outdated. Although they haven’t exactly been the poster child for social reform seeing as they didn’t accept their first African American member until the early 1990’s.

What confuses me the most is that with the exception of a few small protest groups, there were no major organizations that pulled funding or protested Augusta’s outdated policies. IBM continued open up their pockets to the club and the Masters even though their recently appointed CEO Virginia Rometty was denied membership which had been granted to the 3 previous CEO’s at IBM. The other organization that stood by and did nothing was the PGA. They continued to host the Master’s at Augusta despite the controversial issues at hand. With one influential voice or an organization to have the courage to stand up for what they believed, this could have been resolved 50 years ago. Instead there were too many individuals and corporations that cared more about the money involved than the much deeper issues they chose to ignore.

I’m Jonny Ali, and that’s my angle.

— Jonny Ali

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