By Caitlin Donohue
Last fall, Augusta National, one of the country’s most elite golf clubs and host of the annual Masters Tournament, allowed former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and finance magnate Darla Moore to join. The women were the first of their gender to be granted admittance to Augusta’s storied inner circle. The breakthrough took place a full decade after feminists camped out in Augusta’s parking lot calling for the change in 2003 – and in the minds of many, it marked the end of the Old Boy’s Clubs of golf.
But right here in the Bay Area, another boy’s club is fully intact, atop immaculately kept, rolling South San Francisco hills. Established in 1918, the California Golf Club has never allowed a woman onto its membership rolls.
And according to a recent lawsuit, that’s just the beginning of its problems with gender discrimination.
The legal complaint, filed Sept. 27 in San Mateo County Superior Court, portrays an establishment far out of touch with modern Bay Area attitudes – a place where women are banned from the bar and grill area and instead served crackers in a separate room, where staffers acknowledged that the executive chef “has a problem with women” and sought to fire all female servers.
It’s almost as if the 550 acres of land at 844 West Orange Avenue in South City has reverted to the Mad Men 1950s.
On a recent visit to the club, there were no packs of angry feminists camping out in the car park. But a mother of four who worked there for 12 years is suing the club on seven counts of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and battery – harm that she thinks could have been prevented if management had treated its female staffers with respect.
Maybe the story that Jeri Regnart has to tell will help the Cal Club putt into the 21st century. (more after the jump)