WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. Augusta National Golf Club admitted two female members Monday for the first time in its nearly 80-year history.
The club invited former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to join the club, and both women accepted. They will both wear the green jacket that signifies membership at Georgia's Augusta National.
Augusta came under scrutiny in recent years for its exclusion of females from membership, which is by invitation only. The intensity of the criticism heightened this year when Virginia Rometty, the CEO of IBM, was not made a member at Augusta. The previous four CEOs of IBM, all men, had worn green jackets. IBM is a sponsor of the legendary Masters golf tournament, held annually at Augusta.
Women were allowed to play as guests at the club but could not be full members, at least not until Monday.
Liz Janangelo, the assistant golf professional at Rockrimmon Country Club in Pound Ridge and a Stamford, Conn., resident, had fond memories of and an immediate positive connection to Augusta National. She said she was not surprised at the advent of a new era at the formerly men-only club.
"I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to play at Augusta when I was a senior captain for the Duke University golf team," Janangelo said. "I know I was treated very well when I played there. The club was very welcoming. I was playing (Monday morning) so I didn't hear the complete story, but it's really wonderful to know that this has happened."
Janangelo said she recalled the course as "very beautiful and demanding." "The undulations of the course and demands on making shots are what I remember most, aside from the way the course is kept so perfectly," she said. "It's a wonderful place."
Hilary Tuohy, president of the Westchester County chapter of the Executive Women's Golf Association, said her group is proud of Augusta.
"Westchester is delighted that Augusta National Golf Club has opened its membership to females by inviting Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets," Tuohy said. "The decision to invite female members to join promotes inclusivity for all in this great game where women are equally as passionate as men about the game."