Condoleezza Rice, right, former Secretary of State and new Augusta National member, laughs on the practice range with members Dave Dorman, left, and Pat Battle, center, Sunday, April 7, 2013, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore were the first women invited to join the home course of the Masters.
AUGUSTA, Ga. – I'm at Augusta National for the Masters, my first time here and the first Masters tournament since women have been admitted as members. Two things I noticed: First, it's the most spectacularly beautiful golf course I've ever seen and second, there are very few women in the crowds of spectators. Even fewer strike me as players themselves. If we are going to get more women into clubhouses like the one at Augusta, we need more women to play in the first place. But that's another blog.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore have joined Augusta National, and that's a great start. The members have hit a good tee shot. Now it's time to keep swinging.
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It would be good for women's golf, good for Augusta National, and just a good thing for everybody if Augusta continues to invite women to join. Here are five new member suggestions – accomplished women who also happen to play golf – for the members to consider this year:
Sandra Day O'Connor. The first woman named to the Supreme Court took up golf midcareer, and played often with her former clerk, U.S. Golf Association President Glen Nagler. A bonus: when you Google "Sandra Day O'Connor and golf," high school golf teams pop up – at high schools across the country named for her. Justice O'Connor's iCivics.org website – which brings civics education to middle schools across the country – has been immensely popular. Young people know exactly who she is, which is great for golf.Annika Sorenstam Widely considered one of the greatest female golfers of all time, Sorenstam is one of golf's greatest ambassadors – with a website, the "Annika" clothing line, a charitable foundation, a golf academy and a financial services company. Augusta would be lucky to get one of the best entrepreneurs in golf, male or female.Patricia Woertz. The CEO of agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland has been ranked near the top of Forbes' 50 most powerful women list and is a serious golfer who reportedly doesn't like to play from the women's tees. Not a problem at Augusta, where there are only the tournament tees and the members tees, not women's tees. She's already succeeded in a male-dominated industry; Augusta would be a piece of cake for her.Vera Wang. The fashion designer started playing at age 12, and plays regularly at the Pete Dye-designed course her brother owns on Long Island. Who knows, maybe she'll start designing women's golf clothes. She'd be a big hit with the many Asian-American golfers who follow the sport.Amy Grant. The six-time Grammy Award winner and best-selling Christian music artist of all time (30 million albums sold) is an avid golfer, and along with her husband Vince Gill, chairs Family Golf Month every year, as well as the Vince Gill and Amy Grant Golf Classic. Supposedly she has a practice green in her front yard. She'd bring a lot of new fans to the game and I'd bet she already has quite a few among both the members and spectators at Augusta.
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There are many more prominent American women who play golf; Augusta shouldn't stop at just inviting two of them to join as members. Inviting more women would be a tremendous opportunity for Augusta National – a win-win for everybody.
Don't stop now.Read Anson Kaye: Rand Paul's Insulting Bait and Switch to African-American Voters Read Susan Milligan: Anthony Weiner's Tweets Shouldn't Prevent Run for Mayor Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad