If you have to ask, you’re not welcome. That’s the basic membership policy at Augusta National Golf Club.
Members at Augusta National are usually wealthy, but a greater distinction would be that holders of the green jacket are accomplished. Wealth alone doesn’t grant immediate access into one of golf’s most exclusive and secret clubs. Details about the membership policies leak out from time to time, but for the most part, the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ rule is observed.
When USA Today published a comprehensive list of the members in 2002, it revealed the average age of an Augusta member to be in the early 70s. Notable members include Warren Buffett (CEO of Berkshire Hathaway), Bill Gates (chairman of Microsoft), Roger Goodell (Commissioner of the NFL), Lynn Swann (Hall-of-Fame wide receiver) and Jack Welch (former CEO of General Electric).
MORE AUGUSTA: The 10 toughest tee times in the United States
Augusta National announced in 2012 that Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore would become the first two female members in the history of the club. A third female member, Ginni Rometty, was admitted in 2014.
In the 2002 USA Today package, one Augusta member offered some inside information. The club likes to keep its total number around 300 and fees range from $25,000-$50,000. That’s a bargain compared to rates at other private clubs, which can be well into the six figures. Augusta’s waiting list is about 300, populated by those nominated by current members. Members are allowed up to four guests, and as long as the member is on the property, his guests can play without him. The playing period is shortened due to the club being closed from mid-May to mid-October for course renovations. A 2006 GOLF Magazine study revealed the average handicap of the club members was 13.2 according to then club president Hootie Johnson. A former Augusta caddie said the number is probably closer to 15.
MORE AUGUSTA: The story behind Augusta’s green jacket
The best piece of gossip from the Augusta caddie? One member enjoyed walking his dog on the course in the morning, but was told he couldn’t do so because his dog was not a member. He resolved the issue by paying a guest fee for his dog.
So there you have it. A dog is more welcome at Augusta National than you are.