Masters 2017: how can I become a member at Augusta?

Callum Davis
Very few people are fortunate enough to be able to wear the famous green jacket - 2016 Peter Dazeley

Staged at the Augusta National Country Club each year, the Masters is the premier golf major in the sporting calendar.

Not only is the 84-year-old course one of the most beautiful in the world, it is also the most iconic. From Amen Corner thorough to Eisenhower Pine; every inch of the 18-hole course is steeped in history.

As you can imagine, it's more diffcult to secure a tee-off time than at your average public course.

Augusta is also one of the most exclusive, elitist clubs in the entire world, with it's membership reading like a who's who of American society.

Only 300 members have the unique honour of belonging to the hallowed club, and little is known about over half of those.

A view of the 16th green at Augusta  Credit: Getty Images

Up until 2002 your gender would have ruled you out before you could even begin your eager sales pitch. 

Ex-White House politician Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore became the first female members of the Georgia club in 2012, but there still remains only three non-male members in the whole club.

So if race and gender are irrelevant, what does it take to become one of the select few permitted to play on golf's most hallowed turf?

You need to be successful

Former U.S Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice walks through the the crowd at Augusta  Credit: Reuters 

Only the creme-de-la-creme of the corporate and public world are bestowed with the honour of Augusta membership.

The lavish service, impeccable facilities and prestigious history of the club makes it one of the sought-after social validations an American man (or woman) can receive.

There is no official list chronicling the Augusta national's 300 members, but an expose from the America Today in 2002 revealed the names and professions of over 100 living patrons.

The illustrious list includes CEOs, heads of private equity firms, media moguls, government officials and former sports stars.

You don't necessarily have to be rich - but it helps

Bill Gates is one of 300 Augusta members  Credit: Augusta 

If you miraculously manage to engineer and invitation to become a member, then paying to maintain your stay is fairly reasonable. 

Compared to other exclusive country clubs in America, the annual fees for a fully fledged Augusta member are not as eye-watering as you might think.

In 2009, Golf World magazine published an article called "Inside Augusta National Club" in which a club member spoke anonymously to the publication's editor.

The Augusta mole inferred that initiation fees were between $25,000 and $50,000, pittance when you compare that to the six-figure sums collected by a number of elite country clubs.

Slightly steeper than your average pitch and putt, but then Augusta is not your average golf course.

Age is just a number

Danny Willett is presented with his green jacket at the end of the 80th Masters tournament - but he's not a member  Credit: Getty Images 

There isn't a minimum age limit for prospective members, but if the current crop are anything to go by: it helps to be old.

The 2002 report from USA Today found that the average age of the members surveyed was 70.

Much like the MCC in England, there is healthy waiting list to gain entry to the Augusta National, with over 100 potential members ready to be invited into the inner sanctum at any one time.

Golfing ability is irrelevant

Jack Nicklaus has six green jackets Credit: AP 

Contrary to popular belief, winning the Masters does not automatically gain you membership to the Augusta National.

The hallowed green jackets bestowed on champions has become arguably the most iconic prize-giving ceremony in international sport.

However, sporting the instantly recognisable green jacket does not mean you're a member; even if you have successfully navigated the formidable course.

The number of members at Augusta never rises above 300; so when golfers are adorned with the green jacket to mark their Augusta triumph, the ceremony is purely ritualistic; no Masters champions become Augusta members by winning the major championship.

According to the testimony from an Augusta insider, the average handicap amongst members if 14; giving hope to all us horrible hackers.

It helps to have a flamboyant name

A brilliant name might help your membership cause  Credit: The Simpsons 

If you're a run-of-the-mill 'Tom Smith' or 'David Jones', you can effectively forget about becoming a bonafide Augusta member.

The 118-long list of known Augusta members contain some of the most flamboyantly named men and women.

From Brady "Tripp" Rackley III, Stanley Druckenmiller and Bradford Boss; to Michael Bonnallack and Pat Battle, a phenomenal name seems a pre requisite for Augusta National membership.

Conclusions

Unfortunately if you're after a way of procuring an invite, chances are you will never receive one.

The Augusta officials never consider written or oral applications to join. When a membership spot opens, the club decides who to invite and mails the invitation the fortunate recipient. 

The key is to be well connected.

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