Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2005 (Revised January 2006)

Augusta National Golf Club Controversy, The (A)

by Herman B. Leonard, Marc J. Epstein and Melissa Tritter


The prestigious Augusta National Golf Club's secret membership is widely believed to exclude women. When feminist advocate Martha Burk receives a mysterious list of "members," she must decide how best to use this information in her efforts to crack the glass ceiling. Burk, of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), battles Hootie Johnson, of the Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC). Both organizations make strategic use of the media to influence stakeholder groups, and each tries to put its own frame on the debate. The NCWO sees the issue as a statement by affiliated corporations of how (little) they value women, whereas the ANGC sees it as attack on a private club's right to freedom of association. The controversy brings up a host of issues that are important for corporations in dealing with NGOs, partnerships, and corporate values.

Keywords: Partners and Partnerships; Attitudes; Decision Making; Problems and Challenges; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Gender; Non-Governmental Organizations; Communication Strategy; Sports Industry;


Leonard, Herman B., Marc J. Epstein, and Melissa Tritter. "Augusta National Golf Club Controversy, The (A)." Harvard Business School Case 306-029, October 2005. (Revised January 2006.)