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 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? 188.8.131.52
(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.