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.

Post by:
Filed under: Golf • Sports
soundoff (396 Responses)
  1. GeorgeBos95

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

    So, if the tradition is beating your spouse, handed down from father to son, you'd support that too?

    Augusta has the right to limit membership to whomever they choose. But the PGA, as well as their sponsors, need to move on to a different venue.

    Tradition be damned.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • MPM

      Can I join Curves Gym or any other all women's clubs?

      Who does this hurt? No one. This is fighting a cause for the sake of fighting. Not to solve anything.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      George, where are you going with that? your trying to put words in her mouth that were not even relevant much less spoken.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James

    Post some real news please.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DeadHorse

    *See handle*

    April 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JRambo

    LOL I love it how women always have problems with men only "Things" , but if a man were to complain about it or want to join, the women would be 100% against it. Say if a man wanted to play on the LPGA , women would go crazy. LOL its such a joke. The Masters is a men only club and its been that way for ever. Women go make your own club or whatever they call them and just quit complaining. Let the men have something of there own.Worry about more important things.

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

    Stepford wives

    April 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      lol you jealous?

      April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. OCJerry

    Conservative needs no brain. It only takes loud voice to insist thing to be as usual, good or bad. Opposition as conservative needs even less brain. It only take loud voice to reject every proposal, good or bad.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Daryn Moerike

    These women should try walking around in a Burka for a day. Then maybe they'll focus on important things instead of nonsense like this.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Why don't YOU wear one for a day if it is so important to you

      April 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cacique

    On the other hand, there has to be a place for guys to go without having to partake with ladies, if so they wish. Women can always have an exclusive club of their own to which males are not allowed. Personally, I would not take that as an offense or as a discriminatory move against me. if there is a sign on the door that reads 'Women's Club" or somthing to that effect, I would never make an effort to become a member of such a club.

    I think that it is important that each gender allows the other as much space as it is required without taking offense...

    April 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. No Enough Lions

    I want to open a city where RELIGION is not allowed. Any religion. Period.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ann2323

    A- I could care less if men use the same restrooms and facilities as me. I also frequent men's bathrooms when the line is too long for the women's. No one seems to mind and most of the guys give me a nod or word of approval that I'm not phased by it.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • longtooth

      I think I saw that movie.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    Lots of Appeal to Tradition fallacies going on here.

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

      Leave phalluses out of it.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. xfool

    Every golf course has a "Mens Club" where "men" play together. If women can play from the same tee and not require special concessions I say keep them on their side of the tracks all the same thank you!

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

      BOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!!! Well Said xfool !!!!!!!!!!!! Well Said

      April 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ARealWhopper

    No. No. Augusta is not Burger King. You can't have it your way.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Doris Lomack

    Okay, the ladies have the LPGA, so why can't they have their own MASTERS TOURNAMENTS, so the ladies can join this and leave the men alone. GEE WHIZ if a man wants MEN ONLY things LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!!! WOMEN HAVE THEIR PLACE IN THIS WORLD THEY CAN HAVE BABIES – MEN CAN'T. LET THEM HAVE THEIR MAN CAVES!!!

    April 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Oski

    A private club should be allowed to admit anybody they want...or not. Just like jews many years ago, don't like it? Then open your own (and in many cases better) clubs...problem solved.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ned Racine

      Spoken like a true bigot.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16