Most Augusta patrons seem untroubled by male-only membership policy
The 2012 Masters Tournament gets under way Thursday morning in Augusta, Georgia.
April 5th, 2012
02:14 PM ET

Most Augusta patrons seem untroubled by male-only membership policy

Augusta, Georgia (CNN) - Ask women at Thursday's first round of the Masters Tournament whether they'd paid attention to the controversy over Augusta National's male-only members policy, and you get a quick reply.

"We were just talking about that," one woman said.

Ask them if they think change is needed, and you get divergent opinions.

"I surely believe women should play golf anytime and anywhere they want to," said Linda Hines of Birmingham, Alabama. "Equality for all, pay and golf."

Why the controversy?

IBM sponsors the tournament, and the club has always extended membership to the company's officers. But IBM's new CEO is a woman, Virginia Rometty. Critics have called on Augusta National to offer her its traditional green jacket.

But Hines, who said she loves golf, believes any change at Augusta must come from within. She said she didn't like the scene in 2003 when Martha Burk, then leader of the National Council of Women's Organizations, led protests outside of Augusta.

"The board of directors has to have an open mind," she said. "Times are a changing."

Speaking to the media Wednesday, club chairman Billy Payne didn't indicate that times would be changing at Augusta.

"All issues of membership are now and have historically been subject to the private deliberation of members," Payne said. "That statement remains accurate; it remains my statement."

Elizabeth Walters of Wilmington, North Carolina, who was at Thursday's first round with her two children and mother, was fine with that approach.

Walters said she sees no need for Augusta to open membership to women and would not let the controversy detract from the tournament.

"It's a wonderful tradition, and I'm happy to be here," she said.

She also said her husband is from Augusta, making her familiar with the area.

"I've never had anyone that I've met here who has a problem with the way things are," she said.

Her mother, Nancy Mengelt, is from Madison, Wisconsin, a liberal area where "we usually have a problem with something," she said.

But she said she had no problem with male-only Augusta National.

"I like all the traditions. I support that," she said.

Support for Augusta came from Down Under, too.

"The club should stick to tradition and not allow women to become members," said Ro Brownie, attending the Masters after flying in from Sydney, Australia.

Brownie said if IBM's Romelty isn't a golfer and doesn't want to play here, she should put a stop to the hubbub.

"She should wave it away," Brownie said.

Ashley Mohrman said she's a member of "a very old conservative club" in Massachusetts, which changed its rules to allow women to become members with their husbands. And it has recently admitted a same-sex couple, she said. But she's not troubled by the Augusta stance.

"I don't think it is a problem for most people," she said.

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soundoff (396 Responses)
  1. Attila, The Hun

    Please, all of you ugly feminist trouble makers just STFU!

    April 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris B

    agreed...if women (or men) don't like the rules of an organization, go start one yourself. Then you can make sure that only blond haired blue eyed 120 lb women are allowed in. Oh "weight" I think there might be another issue with this club...

    April 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      And here I thought I was talking to a real person.....

      April 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • equal partnership

      Chris, I hope your "happily married" wife isn't reading your comments. She might have to find herself a boyfriend and you will be left with lube for yourself. She doesn't have to service you, she can play with anyone she wants. She's a private person.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mr Dalloway

    If women get into men's private clubs men should take it upon themselves to walk around in their birthday suits.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. razorthinrazor

    It's a private club. Private clubs do private things and have private rules.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rekab

    Personally I think Augusta should open its memberships to females. However, the decision should remain with Augusta.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Airyc

    Just another instance in US history where Women come in a distant third behind Black People.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      Airyc, what utter nonsense. To compare the plight of the white woman to the black slave is borderline unethical and demonstrates an inordinate amount of ignorance, coupled with feminist brainwashing.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • slavery?

      A, anybody but anybody can attend church services no matter what faith, nationality, race or gender you are.

      Women were being compared to black PEOPLE, not black slaves. Please get off the slavery train. It ended in 1865 in the uSA. If you must still rail against black slavery, take your fight to Mauritania or anywhere in west Africa where black Africans enslave black Africans to this day. Black slavery is long gone from the USA. Racial and gender discrimination, remain. Open you eyes and get with the 21st century.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. A

    Couldn't the same argument be levied against Synagogues and Churches (i.e. it's discriminatory that they don't allow other faiths in their place of worship because business deals are conducted that leave, say, muslims out)? Wouldn't that be absurd?

    April 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. john from ottawa

    For all the women that don't care it's a mens only course–GOOD FOR YOU!! Great to see that you acknowledge that maybe men need something for themselves. I would think most men don't get in a tyrade because they can't join Curves or the International women's club or Girl guides or the Alexandra club(over 100 yrs old) etc. etc. Just let everything be, there are far more pressing issues women should be rallying for like equal pay, better laws for domestic abuse, equal rights for employment promotions.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ♔Mmmmm♕

    antiquated dump topic, antiquated dumb club, antiquated dumb men...

    April 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nayrb

      ... the preceding comment posted by an antiquated single woman?

      April 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BobbyBrick's all about equality "for every dollar a man makes, a woman make 70 cents.....and that's just not leaves the man with only 30 cents" 🙂

    Really...this is what people consider important? What a shame.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRambo


      April 6, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Scott

    If men want to be with men, why can't we allow that? If women want to be with women, that should be ok... Oh wait, this is about golf, not gay marriage. So when we talk about a golf course, men can be with men, but not for marriage... strange...

    April 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sid

    I think they're missing a great opportunity here – in '02 (or whenever it was) I can see saying "this is AUGUSTA NATIONAL – we're aren't going to be a trophy on some militant feminist's wall" but fundamentally they are in the wrong, you have to believe large swaths of the membership know it, it's inevitable and they've been handed a gold-plated opportunity on a platter to do it in a way where they can say they did it on THEIR terms and Martha-what's-her-name was as relevant to the decision as Gaga's latest shoes – I think they'll regret it down the road if they don't seize it (& I've been 3x & understand the tradition there)...

    April 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pay Attention People

    I seem to recall reports that many African Americans during Jim Crow felt it was also okay to segregate. Let's ignore those who are ignorant, and call it exactly what it is, discrimination.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobbyBrick

      It is not's separation, similar to the way they separate bathrooms. Why is it so hard to understand that this is a place built by men for men. Women are not discriminated, they can go there, they can watch the Masters , they can dine there, and shocker.....they can even play the course. They just can't be members. Why is that so damn hurtful to you? Is it so easy to hurt you pride? You want to be equals...than man up! Suck it up! and deal! Just like we do.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ann2323

    A- qualified women should be allowed into places where big business deals are conducted. Ex. IBM's new CEO. Obviously you aren't familiar with brokering such deals or rather have never been denied access so you have a limited frame of reference.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobbyBrick

      So your implying that Augusta Golf Club is the ONLY place in the US of A that big business deals are made? They are not made anywhere else. First off give Virginia Rometty some credit. She hasn't let the fact that she's not a member of Augusta stop her from becoming one of the worlds top executives. Amazing Huh? Secondly there is a big world out there and many other golf courses that do have many top level female executives. Hell, IBM's headquarters is in NY. She can certainly play Winged Foot.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Z

      @ Ann... No problemo!!! How many of these mystical "Big Business Deals" you mention made in the executive Ladies Room. I demand to be allow to take a dump in the womens bathroom for I might be left out of one such deal. I will also demand to attend your next GYNO visit / Pap test just in case a deal may be made there. Pull your head out of your A$$! This is a private club. They dont have to do anything! If this were a public Muni course then you might have an argument

      April 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRambo

      All the women whinning on here probably have no idea what Winged Foot means LOL

      April 6, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jerry'n Florida

    Donkey Party

    Romney continues to surround himself with lackeys from the Bush administration. I'm pretty sure the country will take note and vote accordingly.

    Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    They are bringing out the Super Soakers.
    Time to circle the Bentleys around Mittens, and surround him with the type of advice that only money can buy.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    Hey "dolers", at least Mr. Romney's choices are better and more honest that your "doler" enabler" Mr. Obama. I have a feeling that if you don't stop drinking Obama's spiked Kool Aid, you "guys" are going to get a rude awakening.

    Don't worry though! If Mr. Romney wins the presidential election, your "dole" will continue for a while longer. However, at some point you "guys" will have to stop living off of the working taxpayers and go out and get a "real" job.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • danceland

      Yeah, except none has ever drank poisoined was Flavor Aid. You should really research what you say before you say it.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
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