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November 20, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Chicago's Butler National votes to keep women out

Posted at 11:13 AM by Mark Dee | Categories: Augusta National, Truth & Rumors

Sorry, Condi. The former secretary of state is now a member of Augusta National, but that green jacket isn't a golden ticket for women looking to play Chicago's prestigious Butler National Golf Club, which voted recently to keep women excluded from the private course, according to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune.

Sources told the Tribune that the club's recent vote on the issue—the first of its kind in club history—revealed a strong preference for the status quo.

Even if Butler could have been guaranteed a major tournament by changing its membership policy, fewer than 40 percent of the members voted to open the iconic Oak Brook club to women. (Seventy-five percent was needed to change the policy.)

That status will continue to preclude it from vying to host events such as the U.S. Open, BMW Championship and Ryder Cup.

According to Greenstein, deciding to uphold the status quo may cost the club.

Sources said the decision puts the club in a precarious financial state. A membership decline, in part due to business executives resigning because of the all-male stigma, means the club will have to increase annual dues and perhaps lower initiation fees for national members. "We're in a death spiral," said one member of the club's future.

Butler National is one of the Chicago area's top courses, and is considered by some to be the toughest in the state. That said, it's likely easier to easier to break par on the course than break tradition in the clubhouse.

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