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Ginni Rometty To Wear The Famous Green Jacket?
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Ginni Rometty to Wear the Famous Green Jacket?

It has been widely reported that Augusta National Golf Club has a decision to make this year on whether or not to admit its first female member in nearly 80 years.

The problem has come about because IBM recently appointed Ginni Rometty as CEO. The last four CEO’s of IBM (all males) have been invited to be members at Augusta and as such get to wear the famous green jacket and attend the Masters Tournament, for which IBM is a major sponsor.

News agencies have tried to find out if Ginny Rometty will be honoured this way, but nobody from Augusta National Golf Club or IBM has been available for comment.

Unsurprisingly, most articles and comments surrounding the story are in favour of Ginni attending, suggesting that her gender should not come into it.

Perhaps, she will not want to attend anyway, as apparently, she much prefers scuba diving.

Despite equality laws, private clubs have the right to establish their own membership rules, whether they favour men or women. Discrimination is only an issue if a club is set up as mixed and then discriminates against male or female members in some way.

As it happens, there are millions of female only private clubs including some golf clubs, but their exclusivity policies never seem make the same headline news.

Male only golf courses

It appears that Augusta National is not the only prestige golf club with a single sex membership policy. Others include Pine Valley GC in New Jersey, Royal St George GC in England, Portmarnock GC in Ireland and Muirfield GC in Scotland, where the British Open will be held in 2013.

For the record, female players are not banned completely from these golf clubs. They can usually get to play the courses if they pay a green fee or play as an invited guest of a member. It just means, they do not get the clubhouse privileges associated with full membership.

The aforementioned golf courses are all top courses that the average male or female golfer cannot afford anyway, and would struggle to play because of their level of difficulty. So does it really matter if these clubs are stuffy about their membership?

Grass roots

At grass roots, there is no problem finding a golf club that welcomes female players and members. In fact, the majority of golf clubs see this as a way to increase their membership, which might safeguard their future. Few golf clubs in these trying times can afford to be selective about their members, even if they wanted to be.

It is also worth noting that more and more golf courses are pay per play courses, which are open to everyone. Eventually, with more women playing golf and inevitable change, these isolated stories will no longer be news.

Back to Ginni Rometty

Returning to the issue of Ginny Rometty it will be interesting to see what happens. Will Augusta National Golf Club change their rules? Will she be the first female officially invited to be a member at Augusta and will she get to wear the famous green jacket? After all, she is the CEO of a major worldwide company and sponsor – not that her status should matter.


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