Word on the links is that Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has joined Shoal Creek Country Club in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama! Even though Ms. Rice is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in California, she travels back to Alabama frequently to visit with her family and obviously wants to keep her game in play.
Now, this is just not a sweet factoid on the new life that Condi is enjoying since leaving the White House. The most interesting part of this story is that Shoal Creek has long history marred by racism and discrimination. Shoal Creek was designed and built in 1977 and has a famous history in that its founder, Hall Thompson, publicly admitted that the club practiced discrimination against African Americans and would not be pressured into accepting them into their membership. When asked about this racist practice, Mr. Thompson’s reply was “this is our home, and we pick and choose who we want”. Mr. Thompson also commented to the press that ” We don’t discriminate in every other area except the blacks…. that’s just not done in Birmingham, Alabama.”.
You probably think Mr. Thompson made those statements in 1977, but it was 1990!
Mr. Thompson made these comments right before the 1990 PGA Championship was to be hosted at the course. Neither The PGA nor the USGA were prepared for the back-lash from civil rights groups. The major golf sponsors threatened to pull out or move the tournament to another course. So, in 1990 the PGA changed their rules requiring clubs that host tournament events to have certain membership requirements that include African-Americans. That year, one African-American was invited to become an honorary member of Shoal Creek Country Club. Now, 19 years later, Shoal Creek’s membership is diverse and I’m thrilled that Condi has a club she can feels she can call her own.
However, this still leaves the issue of women and Augusta National………..!