21 Aug 2012

Augusta finally allows women to join

4:03 pm on 21 August 2012

The Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the US Masters tournament, has finally ended its all-male policy and will admit the first women members in its 80-year history.

The decision signals a new era for the club with former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore accepting invitations to join.

In recent years, Augusta has come under intense pressure to end its all-male policy, a stance seen as sexist and unacceptable in the 21st century and in an era of burgeoning competition in women's golf.

The question of female exclusion had arisen in April each year when the club hosts the Masters.

In 2003 Martha Burk, a leader in the National Council of Women's Organisations, conducted a rally across the street from Augusta, which was founded in 1932 and where the first black member was admitted in 1990.