20/08/2012 12:54 BST | Updated 21/08/2012 07:37 BST

Augusta National Golf Club Admits Conzoleeza Rice As First Female Member

Augusta National Golf Club has for the first time in its 80-year history admitted its first female member, and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is one of the two women.

South Carolina financier Darla Moore will join Rice to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October.

Augusta, which hosts the US Masters, has long been criticised for its all-male membership but both women have accepted the famous club's reputation.

Moore and Rice

In 2002 former club chairman Hootie Johnson refused to relent when Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations implored Augusta to accept female members.

Johnson's stubbornness cost the Masters television sponsors for two years as he infamously declared Augusta might one day have a woman in a green jacket, "but not at the point of a bayonet".

Although the club until now had no female members, women were permitted to play the course as guests.

Ten years on from Johnson's pledge, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne hailed a "joyous occasion" on Monday, after it was reported Rice and Moore were first considered for membership five years ago.

Augusta National opened in December 1932 but did not admit a black member until 1990. It is now believed to have around 300 members.