Women weren’t allowed to join Augusta National Golf Club until 2012, but the club, located in Augusta, Ga., is in no hurry to further include female golfers. The club, famous for its exclusive, invitation-only membership and as being the home of the Masters golf tournament, isn’t looking to host a women’s professional tournament anytime soon.
In April 2018, Chairman Fred Ridley shared Augusta’s plan for their new National Women’s Amateur. According to the tournament’s mission statement on the official website, it was created “to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game by creating a new, exciting and rewarding pathway for these players to fulfill their dreams.”
Marian had an intramural golf team in 1971 before the passing of Title IX. The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) held the first Class A Girls State Golf Championship, which Marian won, in 1974. Freshman Brielle Abboud, a member of the Marian Golf Team who took the sport up when she was 7 years old, thinks that the Women’s Amateur Tournament is a step in the right direction.
“I really think that as society keeps changing, there will be a women’s pro event one day,” Abboud said. Abboud, who is considering playing collegiate golf, doesn’t want girls to see golf as a men’s sport. “I think that [a woman’s Masters] would show not just that women can do the same thing as men, but also that women have a place in the sport,” Abboud said.
Freshman Gabby Johnston took the sport up when she was in seventh grade as a way to stay active after she experienced burnout playing soccer. She now plays on the Marian team with Abboud and plans to keep playing competitively in college.
“I think that women deserve the opportunity to play like the men do,” Johnston said. And she has seen the disparity in the sport between men and women first hand.
“I can go to the driving range and be surrounded by only men, so it’s really a good feeling to go to girls tournaments and see all these girls playing together. That part’s really cool,” Johnston said.
While Augusta shies away from hosting a female Masters, Johnston doesn’t see that as a reason for girls to avoid her sport.
“If you ever even think about trying golf, you definitely should. It’s such a fun sport,” Johnston said.