Oak Brook’s Butler National still men only
This sign is at the entrance road into Butler National Golf Club in Oak Brook. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:12AM
OAK BROOK — While Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia made national headlines by inviting its first women members, Butler National Golf Club in Oak Brook remains one of four Chicago-area clubs that restrict membership to men.
Officials of 80-year-old Augusta National Golf Club issued membership invitations to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore, both of who accepted. Along with Butler National, 2616 S. York Road, other Chicago-area clubs that do not permit women as members are Black Sheep Golf Club in Sugar Grove, and Old Elm and Bob O’Link, both in Highland Park.
Jack Carter, manager of Butler National, did not respond Aug. 21 to a request for comments about Augusta’s decision to allow women and the question of whether Butler might do the same in the future.
Trey VanDyke is director of the Oak Brook Sports Core and head pro at the Oak Brook Golf Club, which is next to Butler National. VanDyke worked at Butler National as an assistant pro from 1987-90 and has been very active in the PGA. He had no comment about Augusta’s move to allow women as members or Butler National not doing so. VanDyke said he deferred his comment to the PGA.
“The PGA tour commends Augusta National Golf Club on the news that it has invited Condolezza Rice and Darla Moore to become its first women members,” said PGA tour commissioner Tim Finichem in a statement. “At a time when women represent one of the fastest growing segments in both playing and following the game of golf, this sends a positive and inclusive message for our sport.”
Butler National hosted the Western Open tournament from 1974-1990. However, tournament officials decided to move elsewhere because of Butler’s policy to not allow women members.
Carly Schneider, a junior on Loyola University Chicago’s women’s golf team, hopes one day to tee off at Butler National, which has considered changing its policy to land a major tournament.
“It would be amazing to play at Butler. I’ve heard so many good things from my dad and cousins who have played there — and I haven’t been able to,” said Schneider, who grew up in Elgin.
“I am not angry I can’t play golf somewhere, and I don’t want to make a big issue of it. I’d rather be welcomed versus saying ‘I have to play here! I’m so upset I can’t play here!’
“There are women who can play as competitively as men who would be good additions to these clubs. It’s just a matter of time.”
Mitch Dudek contributed to this story. ~.