As many of you may have heard by now, new Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley announced today the establishment of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, to be held starting next year in the week preceding the Masters Tournament.
Having written on many occasions about the challenges golf has had in reaching out to the “3-M’s” (Millenials, Minorities and Moms), I strongly believe that Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC) has taken a giant leap in the right direction, and is providing leadership in encouraging women into the game. This can only help turn the tide of diminishing participation and motivate more women and girls toward playing our wonderful game.
ANGC, through the Masters is the most visible golf club in the world and has long been considered antiquated in many ways. This shows a potentially new philosophy of inclusion and a broadening reach that golf badly needs. Combined with their annual hosting of the Drive, Pitch and Putt competition I am encouraged about the impact this can have on the growth of golf among the “3-M’s”.
Kudos to ANGC, Chairman Ridley and the membership for this bold and unforeseen step. Let’s hope that all clubs (private and public) seek ways to become more inclusive and less restrictive and that the USGA and R & A see fit to continue broadening the reach of golf. It’s the greatest game in the world, the game for a lifetime and it badly needs growth. The United States has seen the demise of more than 1,000 golf courses in the past 6 years. Participation has declined and those courses that remain continue to fight economic headwinds. We can only hope that this begins a trend of more of the “3-M’s” heading for the links.