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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.