Augusta National debate is the result of bogus posturing

To the Daily:

Stephen Carley sums up his op-ed regarding the Augusta National controversy (Women shouldn’t want to golf where not wanted, 1/06/03) in one sentence, “I am no great golf fan.” As his article is full of inaccuracies, let me clarify. Augusta National is a country club. The Masters is the most prestigious golf tournament in the world (with the possible exception of the British Open) and is played at Augusta National.

The controversy regarding the Masters lies with the fact that Augusta National currently has an all-male membership. Carley implies that women are unable to attend the tournament, which is false. Unfortunately, it is this general lack of understanding of golf that has fueled the Augusta National controversy.

As a caddy for five years, I have seen how many clubs treat their female members as second-class members. This disgusts me, and needs to be changed. However, Martha Burk took a very wrong approach in attempting to achieve country club reform. In suggesting that The Masters should change locations, Burk showed extreme disrespect for the game of golf, and alienated many golf fans who would otherwise support her cause.

Furthermore, her attack of Augusta National reeks more of a publicity stunt that a true attempt at reform. Despite its all-male membership, Augusta National is very open to women, allowing over 1,000 rounds per year for women. If Burk truly wanted reform, she would start with Shoal Creek (as well as many other prestigious clubs) that not only have an all-male membership, but also forbid women from playing the course.

Women’s rights in golf need to be improved, however this can’t be done by those who clearly don’t understand the game such as Stephen Carley, Martha Burk or The New York Times editorial board (see their articles regarding Tiger Woods and Augusta National from Nov. 18). Women currently represent one-quarter of the golf-playing population, and only when they truly push for reform can it occur.

Brad Belsky

Engineering junior

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