Accusations of Sexism for All-Male Augusta National Golf Club

Friday, April 06, 2012

The 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, which began Thursday, has sparked discussion about sexism and the legal rights of private organizations. Traditionally, the all-male golf club gives membership to the tournament's corporate sponsors, but for the first time in the club's history, one those CEOs is a woman. 

Gloria Feldt is the author of "No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power" and former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, and Nicole Neily is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.


Gloria Feldt and Nicole Neily

Produced by:

Joseph Capriglione and Ben Gottlieb

Comments [8]

Joey Beans from Studio city, ca

I am all for co-ed everything BUT if there is such outrage over all-male golf courses then why is not a peep when it comes to WOMEN ONLY gyms.

I live in Studio City, Ca and near the intersection of Laurel Canyon Blvd and Ventura Blvd there are two!

I say close all Women Only gyms to avoid hypocrisy, then golf courses follow suit.

IT'll never happen.

Apr. 28 2012 01:22 PM

Celeste is totally wrong about sponsors having "pulled out" of involvement in the Masters a few years ago in the wake of the Martha Burk controversy.

That didn't happen -- and I think that Celeste should do a correction.

What happened in 2003 was that Augusta, on its own, went sponsor-free so that no sponsor would feel external pressure because of anything that the club did or did not do. The sponsors at that time included IBM, Cadillac and Citibank, if memory serves me. They all were given a holiday from sponsorship. ANGC did it, on its own. In any event, Celeste was absolutely incorrect in asserting that the sponsors "pulled out." They didn't. The club essentially refused sponsorship for a period of time.

Also: One of the guests, Ms. Neily I believe, suggested that "women don't even get in the door at Augusta." That is completely untrue. False. She suggested, "they don't have a women's locker room, they don't even have women's bathrooms..." That is all false. There are male-only golf clubs scattered throughout regions of the U.S. If I am not mistaken, Michael Jordan is a member of one such golf club. Women are barred from the property at those male-only clubs, because that is the way that the male memberships want it.

Augusta National is NOT a male-only club in that sense. Women are wlecomed in the clubhouse; women are often invited to play golf there as guests. The wives and daughters of Augusta members are welcome; to golf, to dine and to stay as resident guests on the club grounds. President Eisenhower's wife Mamie enjoyed much time at the club, with other members' wives.

So Celeste and her guests were wrong, and together they misled the audience. Why would The Takeaway's producers not find some real experts about ANGC, instead of finding a couple of feminist partisans? Does 'political agenda' sound like a good explanation? It's the one explanation that makes the most sense to me.

"Fail" was the word that someone (Gloria Feldt?) used about Augusta in this segment. This was reporting FAIL. Factual FAIL. Expertise FAIL. Radio production FAIL.

Apr. 06 2012 05:04 PM


Your accusations about recent racism at Augusta National Golf Club are false.

There has been no club prohibition against African-Americans playing in the Masters Tournament. And certainly Tiger Woods has been completely irrelevant to the discusssion.

Facts: The reason that no black players played in the Masters before 1975 was because none had qualilfied. That is all. In 1975, before Tiger Woods was born (later that same year), Lee Elder was invited to play in the Tournament because he qualified as a winner on the PGA Tour.

And before Tiger Woods ever set foot on the grounds of ANGC (when he was still an amateur player), Augusta had invited its first African-Americans into full membership. Communications executive Ron Townsend was the first in 1990, and former Pittsburgh Steeler and onetime Pennsylvania Senate candidate Lynn Swann is the most recent.

It is true, that it was once a rule within the predecessor organization to what is now the PGA Tour (and NOT Augusta) that established a "Caucasians only" policy for participation. It is one of the notorious episodes in the game of golf. But again, the rule predated the existence of ANGC and had nothing to do with the club. And even that rule would not have prevented a black player from getting an invitation to the Masters if such a player had won a USGA-qualifying event like the U.S. Open championship, the British Open, or the U.S. Amateur (in which there were no racial-discrimination policies).

So there. Patricia, practically everything that you alleged about Augusta was wrong. Where do people like you think you get off, saying such recklessly untrue things? It must be true, that the whole country tilts to the west, and that all the loose bits eventually roll into California.

Apr. 06 2012 04:39 PM
Patricia from California

Racial discrimination by the tournament prohibited African Americans from playing in the Masters, until Tiger forced them to stop the practice $$$$$. However the exclusion of ALL women continues. I will be contacting ATT, my dsl server and encouraging them to stop subsidizing this sexist organization; otherwise, I will cancel my service.

Apr. 06 2012 02:16 PM

I would expect the takeaway invite a male guest for a member of Agusta in their program to have some counter arguments.

Apr. 06 2012 11:24 AM
Josh from Augusta

Wow I love how people seem to think that they have the right to tell others what to do because they think its not fair. The Augusta National is a Private Male Club! They can do what ever they want. I personally live in augusta and know of females that have been allowed to play on the course. Will they be allow to be members? no. WIll it change in the future maybe. It is up to the members of the club to vote and decide what they want for their club. The problem with the Masters is that it has become such a large event and since it is exclusive people seem to think that they have the right to tell a private club who they may choose to let in as members. You have the right to create an exclusive club that is private and run it how every you want. No one has the right to tell them how they should run their club its up to the members to decide! Get off it!

Apr. 06 2012 11:19 AM

An "epic fail" is 16 trillion in debt with a President with no plan on how to deal with it.

Does this mean the latest race distraction is over and its victims drained of every last bit of political effect by the politicians and media who care about them so much and now focus turns again to gender issues? Will that be exploited and demagogued until November while the nation slowly sinks into economic decline as those progressive men in China and Iran rise in influence? How does that impact women in the 21st Century?

Hope to Change the subject...again, again, again.

Apr. 06 2012 09:48 AM
Bridget Heaney from Newport, RI

As a woman who teaches young women about the importance of being allies in the struggle for enlightened and forward thinking about the interconnectedness of gender, power and sexuality, I found Nicole Neily's comments distressing and self-defeating. Gloria Feldt hit the nail on the head when she spoke out against Neily's faulty logic, her comparison of all-women's organizations to all-men's organizations, and also when she called upon Ginny Rommety to speak up and out about this issue. When men hold such an unequal economic and political monopoly in this country (and around the world), it is our responsibility to think about and support ways to dismantle and remake these old boy's clubs to include all genders. I also find the male/female binary very twentieth century. With so many new studies and evolutions in thinking about gender in the twenty-first century, this "us and them", "men and women" dichotomy seems outdated. What about gays and transexuals or men who identify as women--would they be turned away at the door and women who identify as men--how will the Augusta National Golf Club regulate this category of potential client in the future? Because, like it or not, this revolution is happening.

Apr. 06 2012 09:30 AM

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