What's the value of Augusta's green jacket?

An Augusta National logo is worn by a member in Augusta, Ga. The home of the Masters admits its first female members. Are the benefits worth the costs for members?

Tess Vigeland: The famous Augusta National Golf Club green jacket is about to downsize and perhaps get an on-trend peplum at the waistline. OK, that last part, not true. But the jacket is about to get its first-ever female fittings. Two to be precise: For former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and financier Darla Moore. They will be the first women members in the club's 80-year history. But what does it cost to join such an exclusive club and what's the return on investment?

Sabri Ben-Achour reports.

Sabri Ben-Achour: So that green jacket reportedly costs about $250 to make -- that's an estimate mind you, the manufacturer wouldn't say how much they go for. Although at auction they've gone for around $7,000. And of course to get a jacket you have to be a member of Augusta, and it's said the initiation fee will run you up to $30,000 -- nobody outside the club knows and the club's not saying. Throw in monthly dues and that jacket could be worth $40,000. But what's it worth really?

Lauren Stiller Rikleen: The value is truly incalculable.

Lauren Stiller Rikleen is the president of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership. She says, first of all, look at who is a member already: T. Boone Pickens, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates -- the most successful business people of our time.

Stiller Rikleen: I think it's tremendous to business opportunities. I find and what I'm particularly fascinated by is the extent to which with men, opportunities happen in a social or recreational setting.

And then there's just bragging rights.

Howard Anderson: A valuable intangible.

Howard Anderson teaches at MIT. He remembers an investment firm was paying Henry Kissinger a million bucks just to have lunch with the executives and their clients.

Anderson: I once said to the firm, 'My god what could Henry Kissinger ever say at lunch that's worth a million dollars a year?'

The answer? Anything, if being a client meant they had lunch with Henry Kissinger. Anderson says people would pay millions for that little green jacket just for that.

I'm Sabri Ben-Achour for Marketplace.

About the author

Sabri Ben-Achour is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the New York City bureau. He covers Wall Street, finance, and anything New York and money related.
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