August 23, 2012

Augusta National membership list

Back in 2004, USA Today published a list of the approximately 300 members of the Augusta National Golf Club. The list was probably from about 2002, since some of the members on the list have obituaries from 2003. 

I'm not particularly good at recognizing names, but the only Business Titans on the list whose names strikes me off the top of my head as more likely Jewish than not are Sandy Weill of Citi and John L. Weinberg of Goldman Sachs.

Here's Canadian real estate mogul Leo Kolber in his autobiography Leo describing the 1980s:
And among the very stupid things I've done personally was to turn down an offer to join Augusta National Golf Club, where I believe I might have been the first Jewish member. ... "I'll never use it, I said, declining with thanks. Of the many things I've regretted in my life, that is near the top of the list. Later, Johnny Weinberg of Goldman Sachs and Sandy Weill of Citibank became the first Jews admitted to membership at Augusta National.

Two of out of 300 is not terribly representative of the balance of money and power and media influence in a modern America where the Forbes 400 is reportedly 36 percent Jewish.

For whatever it's worth, in the behind-the-scenes Talk section of Wikipedia, I found:
Does anybody know if Augusta National has any Jewish members? (talk) 19:32, 3 April 2009 (UTC)Otis P. Nixon 
In answer to your question, Otis...yes, the Augusta National has several Jewish members. I grew up close to Augusta and lived there for many years, and was occasionally able to borrow tickets from one of the Jewish members because I went to school with one of his daughters. The membership at Augusta National consists of people in two main categories: Long-time businessmen (especially from the east Georgia and west South Carolina areas), whose parents/grandparents joined the club during the first few years of its existence. (Up until the late 1940's it was not as exclusive, nor as prestigious...though the association with Bobby Jones was a big attraction.) Most of the Jewish members are this type, who own and run area businesses started by their fathers and grandfathers, who helped build the club into what it is today. And the other main group of members are the wealthy and important people who first started joining when President Eisenhower became a regular at the club. After that, the membership became rather exclusive and prestigious, and soon there was a large group of members who were invited to join because they were Board Chairmen or CEO's of some of the largest companies in the country. A few more of the Jewish members are in that category, CEO's of large international corporations.

That sounds pretty plausible to me, although it technically contradicts Kolber's surmise that Weill and Weinberg were the first Jews at Augusta National. Anyway, the topic suggests an answer to the question that must be puzzling Augusta National insiders: How to get more sympathetic press coverage?


Razorback said...

Frank Broyles and Lou Holtz! Those corporate hacks better watch their wallets.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia, Steve?

Anonymous said...

Right-wing film geek?

Ed said...

You mentioned Sandy Weill, and Counterpunch just came out with an article comically titled "Ex-Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill is a worthless human being" ( The article doesn't quite live up to the title, but how can it, and at least they are willing to name names.

pat said...

When I was a kid I saw "Not as a Stranger" a big Hollywood soaper about doctors. In it Broderick Crawford rants that he Jewish - one of the two percent that the medical schools had to let in from shame and embaressment. That's how I learned that Jews were never doctors. Just as I learned that cowboys routinely had chivalrous gun duels in the public street.

Life has caught up with art. At Station 3A at Kaiser my Korean doctor is one of fifteen doctors all of whom have Korean, Japanese, or Chinese names. No Jews in sight.

When I was a management consultant everyone who wasn't an Irish Catolic was a Jew. My Jewish office mates explained that corporate America was only open to WASPs - no Jews or Catholics need apply. Funny when I went into corporate America everyone else in management at my firm was a Jew.

Damn Jews keep changing stuff around. No wonder everyone hates them.


Dan said...

I suspect that most of the Jewish underrepresentation historically (if true) is primarily an artifact of geography. Rural Georgia is not Brooklyn as far as I know.

I think that a generation ago someone living in New York would probably not be a member because that would have seemed pointless.

Even on the 2004 list, Georgians, Floridians and Carolinans still dominate and New Yorkers are much fewer.

Now Augusta's membership is surely more spread out than in the past, but on the other hand, the point of a club is for people to actually be near enough to show up regularly.

Anonymous said...


Kaiser wouldn't be the most desirable place for a Jewish doctor to work. There are probably more of them in real private practice. Likewise, they may go for more lucrative specialties than primary care. But I do suspect that you are on to two trends. First, as Jews are further removed in time from their striver immigrant backgrounds, they are both less willing to work hard and less interested in careers that seem "safe" to immigrants. The second is that the status of medicine as a profession is in decline. Younger Jews may not perceive it to be worth the trouble.

beowulf said...

Curiously, Bobby Jones was a Republican at a time (in the 40s and 50s) when that was the liberal party in Georgia (especially on race).

Jones's friend and fellow Atlanta lawyer Elbert Tuttle was simultaneously a leader of both the GA ACLU and the GA Republican party before Eisenhower appointed him to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals... where he took every opportunity to stick it to The Man.
"Few people in America today know the name Elbert Tuttle. But he was in some ways as much a central figure in the civil rights revolution of the 20th century as Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King Jr..."

Of course, he wasn't a member of the NAACP like You-Know-Who...

"And last week, after the final vote on the civil rights bill had been taken, Georgia's Senator Richard Russell, the most influential Southerner of them all, paid Nixon a bitter sort of tribute. Said Russell: the civil rights bill will be enforced by "political-minded" Attorney General Herbert Brownell who, in turn, will be "constantly pressed by the Vice President of the U.S. to apply the great powers of the law to the Southern states at such places and in such time and manner as the N.A.A.C.P., of which the Vice President is the most distinguished member, may demand."

jody said...

last time i checked there were only 1 or 2 jewish players on the PGA. i haven't checked in a while, but they aren't interested in golf, or aren't good, or both.

Anonymous said...

Jews giving up on medicine, no big deal. Kind of like the US giving up on manufacturing, what difference does it make.
Gee, I wonder if they realize that their medical culture has something to do with their scientific and mathematical success. My guess is that it has.
I guess it is a sign that their paranoia is waning, relinquishing the most respected of the diaspora professions.

Anonymous said...

"I suspect that most of the Jewish underrepresentation historically (if true) is primarily an artifact of geography. Rural Georgia is not Brooklyn as far as I know."

No shortage of rich Jews in the South. I lived in the South for a few years and the number of Jewish-owned businesses (of old lineage even) was enormous. Lehman Brothers got its start in Alabama and, like most everywhere else, many Southern department stores were started by Jews. Jewish cotton traders were a dime a dozen.

Anonymous said...

"The second is that the status of medicine as a profession is in decline. Younger Jews may not perceive it to be worth the trouble."

Private practices are getting harder to come by. Many hospital corporations are buying them out. In 20 years most doctors will be mere employees, as vulnerable to employer coercion as the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8/26/12 3:24 AM --

Yes, private practice groups are becoming rarer, and the trend has increasingly shifted towards employment. But medicine has always had a large contingent of employed physicians in the academic sector. And in some service areas (e.g. Emergency Dept.), the employment model actually increases overhead for the hospitals. Some of the ED's in the Jackson Memorial system in Florida are actually planning to switch from employment arrangements to contracting for coverage by physicians, PA's and nurses because it will be cheaper. ObamaCare, on the other hand, is trying to force integration with ACO's.

Anonymous said...

I am in lots of meetings with investment bankers and lawyers in New York, and looking around the room, I would say that it is usually about 40% Jewish. The rest would be a mix of Irish/British/German with an occasional Italian or Oriental thrown in. Virtually never any blacks.

Anonymous said...

Being a healer has been highly esteemed throughout history. When you are a small minority, having a skill which is appreciated worldwide is an awesome advantage. Just because the financial benefits might change a little over a, possibly short, period is no reason to forsake a trade which your tribe has honed for generations. You shouldn't underestimate having the gratitude of a majority. A lot of Americans, especially NAMs, picture Jews as exploitative clannish businessmen and lawyers, or as physicians who are a cut above the rest. Do you really want to give up the latter image?