Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nyah Nyah, You Can't Come In

My guy loves the Masters.

"It's the prettiest golf course ever," he says.

But it rubs me the wrong way now that I know girls aren't allowed.

No, I'm not demanding that women be allowed to play the Masters. I'm wondering why women aren't allowed to be members of Augusta National.

It's pretty. Very pretty. And very, very exclusive. One article I read said there are only three hundred members and those are only let in by invitation. Bill Gates has not been invited. So women are in pretty successful company.

But women are not permitted to be members, though they're allowed on the course to watch the tournament and I even saw a woman official helping some poor guy whose ball looked like it had landed next to the privvy in the trees.

But no women members.

The National Coalition of Women's Organizations wrote to Hootie Johnson, the head of Augusta, suggesting that this might be the year to change that policy. Hootie is no red neck but was an official of the National Urban League and helped integrate South Carolina's schools by getting the state to establish the state's only undergraduate business program at a college that was, at the time, only attended by blacks. If you wanted to study business, you had to go there. Pretty smart.

But his reaction to the private letter from the NCWO was a public scold, maintaining that the course would change that policy when it was ready to, not at the "point of a bayonet."

I would have thought a fellow like Hootie would have felt that letter as goad to his conscience, not a bayonet to the gut.

So Tiger Woods, the guy who has a little problem with women, makes his big comeback at a course that won't let women be members.

The timing really was perfect for Augusta National to step up and be better, to join the 21st century and maybe even set an example for its tarnished star.

I'm not a foaming-at-the-mouth, let-me-in-or-else woman, but I'm a woman. And I have a daughter. I had a mother. And I am offended that because we're not men, no matter what our qualifications, no matter what our connections, there's a club that simply will not let us join.

My mom liked to play golf. Hootie, you'd have enjoyed playing a round with her. She was serious about it and she was good company.

Your loss.


Maureen@IslandRoar said...

This burns me too. And what you said about Tiger's comeback being here....ironic, isn't it?

Pauline said...

What are the reasons the club is men only, do you know? If it's because "that's-the-way-it's-always-been, they're way overdue for a change. If it's men-are-better-than-women, they are way overdue for a change. If it's we-just-want-to-be-a-guy's-retreat then they should get out of the public eye and be a quiet little men's club. Maybe a little bayonetting would be good for them.

Susan said...

Pauline, I gather it's a combination of one and three...not an overt "men are better" thing, just a tradition and we like it that way. But I agree with you.
Maureen, don't you wonder why things that seem so obvious just aren't obvious to everyone?

lacochran said...

I didn't know that. It's interesting. And... I'm not sure how I feel about it.

There are clubs that are solely for men and clubs that are solely for women. If women are somehow hurt by not being allowed into this club, I guess I agree with you. Otherwise, not so much.

I don't think everything has to be for everyone. And I consider myself a feminist. I LOVE men but there are times when I only want the company of women. Is that wrong?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I get your point. Years ago, I was so offended by the famous Men's Bar at the Biltmore Hotel in NYC that I sashayed through it in a red minidress, walking as slowly as I could while privileged old geezers choked on their extra-dry martinis. I was in my 20's and lacked the wisdom to protest meaningfully, but needed to make a point that their exclusivity was appallingly stupid.

There is no doubt that the keepers of the male privilege flame missed a wonderful experience that your mother could have provided on their testosterone-laced course.

Susan said...

I don't think it's wrong to want to have some space from the opposite gender - I just object when it's such a huge, high-profile kind of exclusion. I wonder why they don't have days devoted to each - give the women a day without the guys and vice versa, then open it up to all the rest of the time. Barring women gets into discrimination, at least in my opinion.
heartsinsf, I'd have liked to have seen that little stroll. I bet it was a hoot!