The media was abuzz today as Augusta National admitted its first two female members in the golf club’s seventy-nine year history. Women everywhere should take notice, but not of the achievement, rather the troubling duration of their exclusion by the private organization. Personally, if I’m not allowed into a place for nearly eight decades the only proper gesture upon my acceptance is a proudly erect middle finger. However high-profile women have been gracing ESPN throughout the day to discuss the greater implications of Augusta’s brave decision. I suspect from their language and inflated praise that they’re all eying future membership.
Augusta National Golf Club is a despicable group of wealthy men. I’m sure they’re mostly lovely people to talk to at a barbecue or a wedding, but as a whole the organization has fought to keep Augusta as pale and virile as possible. Its first black member was not admitted until 1990. No women had been invited until today. And like any prestigious community of one-percenters membership is by invitation only. Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore were today’s invitees, each an appropriate representation of the everyday woman.
So yes, let’s make this an issue about equality. We could look at it through the prism of gender, or race, yet social class seems to be the most appropriate considering the tenor of the times. Golf has always been a sport for those with greater means. A set of quality, adjusted clubs can cost as much as a used car. Initial fees for Membership at Augusta plus the annual due is equivalent to purchasing a brand new Cadillac. I presume there’s a life size portrait of Mitt Romney outside of the clubhouse with a sign that reads, “You must be this rich and important to join.”
We are used to these kinds of divides in this beautiful country of ours. Rich men build expensive golf courses and allow only other rich men to roam their fairways in pursuit of leisure. One might notice they’re all men. I happen to notice they’re all wealthy. Membership at Augusta is one of the rarest tokens of success; a social marker befitting an American king.
If you’re not a CEO or former Secretary of State, then according to the Augusta National Constitution, you’re only 3/5 of a person. Good luck getting a tee time at Pebble Beach, peasant.