Augusta National Membership: Applying, the Costs and the Members

The Augusta National logo on the green jacket that signifies membership in the club.
Want to join Augusta National and don your very own Green Jacket? Good luck with that. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

How much does membership in Augusta National Golf Club cost? And how does a person go about joining, anyway? The short answers: It costs less than you are likely imagining, and you don't apply for membership.

Augusta National Membership Costs

Augusta National Golf Club's members include some of the most powerful men and women in the worlds of business, politics and sports (some of them are listed below). But they all had to pay an initiation fee when they joined, and they all have to pay dues. 

They also have to pay other club costs, such as lodging (in the clubhouse or in one of the 10 cabins on the club grounds) and dining for those members who chose to use those services.

But the fact is, the club makes so much money off The Masters Tournament and Masters merchandising, it doesn't have to charge the gargantuan membership fees you find at some other prominent, exclusive golf clubs.

How about some numbers:

  • The Augusta National initiation fee — a onetime fee paid upon joining a golf club — is believed to be between $20,000 and $40,000.
  • The monthly dues paid by members are believed to be less than $300, or less than $4,000 annually. 

In 2009, Golf World magazine published an article titled "Inside Augusta National Golf Club." A club member (speaking anonymously) told the magazine that the initiation fee is in "the low five-figures." So definitely less than $50,000, and possibly even less than $25,000. A lot of money, to be sure, but much less than many, many other exclusive golf clubs charge. In the United States there are many private clubs with initiation fees in excess of $50,000, and a smaller number that top $100,000.

As for monthly dues, another source told Golf World they amount to "a few thousand" dollars per year. So probably in the neighborhood of $250 a month/$3,000 a year. Lodging fees are little more than $100 per night. Members are mailed a bill once a year for dues and services.

Applying for Augusta National Membership

How do you apply for membership? Again, you don't. There is no way to apply to join Augusta National. Asking to join or even just making it known you'd love to join? That's sure to get a person booted off the list.

Augusta National memberships are by invitation only. When a membership spot opens — membership is always kept close to 300 — the club decides who to invite and mails the invitation.

Membership slots open primarily when a member dies. Very rarely, a member might resign or, even more rarely, be "asked" (read: told) to leave. The club maintains a list of prospective members based on recommendations from current members. When a membership slot opens, the list is consulted, the poobahs at Augusta National in charge of membership get together, a decision is made and an invitation sent out.

The prospective new member may have no idea he or she is under consideration until that invitation arrives in the mail.

Who Are the Members at Augusta National?

Most of the Augusta National members are prominent, wealthy individuals, people who run in the "right" crowds, who know the "right" people. But some are people you've never heard of, including family legacies.

The club does not reveal the names of its members, but anyone paying attention to news reports can glean plenty of names. Those people running The Masters are members, for example; anyone walking around Augusta National in a green jacket while Masters Tournament play is happening is a member.

Among the prominent people known to be members are:

  • Jack Nicklaus (Arnold Palmer was also a member until his death in 2016).
  • Billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, who play for several dollars a round while also competing for the title of world's richest person.
  • Other business titans such as T. Boone Pickens, Pete Coors and Jack Welch.
  • Football bigwigs Lou Holtz, Lynn Swann and Pat Haden, along with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
  • Media mogul Ron Townsend, who in 1990 became the first African-American member at Augusta.
  • Former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financier Darla Moore, who became the first female members at Augusta National in 2012.
  • People from the world of politics, such as former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and two more former U.S. Secretary of States, the nearly 100-year-old George Schultz plus Rex Tillerson.

The Augusta National membership skews very, very rich and quite old.

In addition to Nicklaus, other Augusta National members from the world of golf include Michael Bonallack (amateur champ and R&A bigwig) and Jack Burke Jr. — but not Gary Player or Tom Watson. (We'd bet good money that Ben Crenshaw will be invited to join at some point.)

Very few people from the world of golf are Augusta National members, but the several others who are include:

  • John Harris, a former U.S. Amateur champion and Champions Tour member.
  • Ian Webb, the first Augusta National member from Ireland, a past captain of Royal County Down and another R&A bigwig.
  • Three members of the Yates family: Charlie Yates Jr., son of 1938 British Amateur champion Charlie Yates, a personal friend of Bobby Jones and a legend in Georgia amateur golf; Dan Yates, Charlie Sr.'s brother; and Dan Yates III, Dan Yates' son.

There have been attempts in the past by major news organizations to compile full or at least lengthy Augusta National membership rolls.