Augusta National Golf Club accepted its first African American member in 1990. Here we are, 22 years later, and there are still no female members.
I’m a terrible golfer. I only play occasionally, and it’s never pretty. I don’t actually consider golf a sport — riding around in a cart while stopping at intervals to take a few swings — doesn’t exactly get my heart rate up. And watching it on TV? All that whispering. All that walking. Ho-hum.
But I understand that golf is big business. Prospective clients have been converted to the paying kind on the links. Handshakes on the green have resulted in big money at the office. And forget about this happening on the public courses. This is all about the prestige of private clubs. Everyone wants to rub golf bags with “the” people.
So, it’s surprising that Augusta is still a boys club. They could break the color barrier, but they can’t handle women walking their sacred fairways? Really? This policy is putting them in a bind now. Their biggest sponsor is IBM, and IBM is run by a (gasp!) woman. Virginia Rometty has broken the glass ceiling in corporate America, but she can’t break par at Augusta.
What? Are the old guys afraid this would limit all the towel snapping in the locker room? This isn’t football. It’s golf. Maybe they’ll have to clean up their jokes? Nah, I bet Virginia can hang with the guys here. Or maybe they’re afraid she’ll beat ‘em, and not just at golf.
C’mon Augusta. Get in the 21st century. Invite a few women to the party. You may even find it ups your game.
>> Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is email@example.com, and her website is www.newper.com.