This highly exclusive club does not publicly speak about it membership nor even to say how large it is. However some things are known about the roughly 300-strong membership
Who are the most famous Augusta National members? Indeed, who even are the members? The club does not let on.
Well, not normally. When Augusta National admitted its first two women members in 2012 they trumpeted this fact as “a proud moment in our club’s history.”
These newbies were former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (pictured below with Arnold Palmer) and financier Darla Moore. It is known that the club has at least two more female members, for IBM’s Ginni Rometty has also subsequently joined. So, too, has former USGA President Diana Murphy.
Moore’s net worth was estimated at $2.3 billion at the time. In 2015 Bloomberg listed 118 members of the club, and classed five of them as billionaires. Warren Buffett was among these.
As Bloomberg says: “Membership remains one of the most sought-after affirmations of corporate success.” You cannot apply for membership, you have to be invited. (The good news is that even if you are not a member, there are still several ways to play at Augusta National.)
Unsurprisingly, the membership is not young. When USA Today published a leaked list of Augusta National’s membership of 2002, 39-year-old Jefferson Knox was listed as the youngest. There were only three, among the roughly 300 members, who were listed as being in their forties. One of these was Bill Gates.
Knox is one of the more famous Augusta National members, at least in golfing circles anyway, for he reputedly holds the club course record of 61. So when a marker was required on weekends at the Masters, it was Knox who stepped in.
Paul Casey remembers Knox “telling me he aims left of the pin on 6 because he hates hitting it and ricocheting back into the bunker. Then he landed it a foot or two from the hole.”
Of course all Masters Champions are members including the like of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Sir Michael Bonallack, a former leading amateur golfer who three times played in the Masters, as the winner of the previous year’s Amateur Championship, is another famous golfing figure among the membership. He is best known for being R&A Secretary from 1983 to 1999.
Media mogul Ron Townsend became the first African-American member, in 1990.
Many US Presidents have played the course. Ronald Reagan stayed there as a guest of his Secretary of State, George Shultz, a member. He was there when a gunman took hostages in the pro shop, demanding to speak to the President. Reagan phoned the gunman by mobile from the 16th green.
But only one President has worn the club’s Green Jacket. Dwight D Eisenhower was a member of Augusta National from 1948 until his death.
He is one of the most famous Augusta National members as the tree which stood on the 17th hole was nicknamed after him. This was because Eisenhower’s drives often clattered into it and he unsuccessfully demanded that it be cut down.