The Augusta National Golf Club, home of the US Masters since it began in 1934, has announced its first two women members.

Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore have both accepted the invitation.

Club chairman Billy Payne said it was a significant and positive time in the club's history.

"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership," he said.

''It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their Green Jackets when the club opens this Fall.''

Ms Rice, 57, was the national security adviser under former US President George W Bush and then became secretary of state in his second term.

She now is a professor of political economy at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.

''I am delighted and honoured to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club," she said.

"I have visited Augusta National on several occasions and look forward to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity."

Ms Moore, 58, is vice president of private investment company Rainwater and founder and chair of the non-profit think-tank Palmetto Institute.

The announcement comes a decade after activist Martha Burk stepped up pressure on the club to admit women, to which then chairman Hootie Johnson responded that they would not be forced to change its policies "at the point of a bayonet".