Each spring, the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National draws millions of TV viewers. The unique tournament usually provides challenging competition and athletic drama. The Masters is even more special for those lucky enough to be able to attend the event in person and has been sold out for years. (See more info on this below) Here are some interesting facts about Augusta National that they may not tell you on TV.
Of course, the stories are legend about how long it takes to get a Masters pass—years. Families will them down to generation after generation. Each year the badge has a unique design and artwork. Here is a link which has images of all past Masters Tournament Badges.
Careful with commentary- More than 40 years ago, during one tense moment, CBS commentator Jack Whitaker used the term “mob” to describe the scene around a green. The Masters leadership let his bosses know that he wouldn’t be invited back, and he wasn’t. Of course, there were Gary McCord’s famous lines about “bikini waxes” and “body bags.” It’s been 17 years. He hasn’t been back, either. McCord doesn’t care
Polite fans- They are not fans. They are not a crowd or even a gallery. They are patrons. You’ll hear it often during the CBS broadcast. Also, while on the grounds, patrons are told not to run. Walking only.
Icing the Azaleas- the site founder Bobby Jones selected was a nursery, so the flora is amazing, to say the least. If an early spring comes, grounds crew will put ice under the azaleas to slow down their blossoming. They want everything in full color come Masters week. (Note: They cannot control rain, however. Yet.)
1980 prices for food and beer: It used to be pimento cheese sandwiches, but now there’s bbq, chicken and others—each for about $3. A beer costs under $3.
Small field of golfers, large maintenance crew- It’s the smallest major field—only 99 competitors compared to the 156 in the other three majors. Following the second round, the low 44 scores, plus ties and any golfer within 10 strokes of the lead advance to play the on the weekend. (making the cut) That means for Saturday and Sunday the field will be anywhere from 44 to 55. Get there early enough you will find more than 60 people working on the course, mowing, raking, edging, etc.
Augusta National bad for golf?- Of note, there are many who think this does the golf industry a disservice by showing a course so luxurious, verdant and immaculate. It’s a standard that any other course cannot meet, much less your local municipal. (Augusta has almost unlimited resources for maintenance and the course is closed half the year.) Article on the topic: HERE
Limited playing time- Augusta National closes in late spring and doesn’t open again until fall. Part of this stems from its origins in the mid-1930s. Jones wanted it to be a “national” club, meaning members live all over the country to play. For business executives from the Northeast, the winter was the best time to play. During that no-play period during the summer, Augusta National undertakes projects to improve the course….. “This club changes something in this course every year, and they never tell you about it.”
Cheap golf- It’s one of the best-kept numbers in sports—the initiation fee to Augusta National. With barons like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, among others, as members it goes without saying that money isn’t the object. And it isn’t. To join is reportedly under $100,000, which might be one-tenth of other high profile clubs in the country. And if you were lucky enough to play the course with a member, you can probably afford it. Guest fees are said to be about $40.
Fine wine Augusta National is presumed to have one of the best private wine cellars in the world, buying the best French, Italian, American and Australian wines on futures. Those glasses of wine that tasted so good during dinner came from bottles that run $1,000 apiece, and more.
More info and links
Waiting lists for badges: Beginning in 2012, Augusta National Golf Club announced it would begin making a small number of tournament tickets available for purchase through a random drawing following online registration, directly from Augusta National. Each year, a small number of tickets are returned to ANGC following the deaths of longtime ticket holders, or other reasons. Previously, those tickets were simply removed from circulation. But since 2012, fans can register online to take part in a random drawing for those tickets. To do so, golfers much register on the tickets page on Masters.com; registrants receive notification when the ticket application process is opened each year, shortly following each Masters tournament. The number of available tournament tickets is not listed, but rest assured the number is very small and your odds are very, very long. Link for Masters Ticket Info.
Prior to those announcements, tickets to tournament days (rounds one through four) had not been available from the Masters Tournament directly to the general public since 1972. That year, Augusta National Golf Club opened a waiting list, but due to demand the waiting list itself had to be closed in 1978. (Practice-round tickets have been available) Twenty-two years later, in the year 2000, a new waiting list was opened. But it is now also closed.
Augusta National Golf Club- located in Augusta, Georgia, is a famous golf club. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts on the site of a former indigo plantation, the course was designed by Jones and Alister MacKenzie and opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934, it has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in men’s professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course. It was the number one ranked course in Golf Digest’s 2009 list of America’s 100 greatest courses and was the number ten ranked course on Golfweek Magazine’s 2011 list of best classic courses in the United States, in terms of course architecture.
The golf club’s exclusive membership policies have drawn criticism, particularly its refusal to admit black members until 1990, a former policy requiring all caddies to be black and its refusal to allow women to join. In August 2012, it admitted its first two female members – Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. The golf club has defended the membership policies, stressing that it is a private organization. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta_National_Golf_Club
Patron behavior rules-
- No running anywhere on the grounds.
- No sitting on the grass near the greens.
- No bare feet (even when sitting down).
- No chairs with arms. No folding chairs. No flags. No signs. No banners. No coolers. No strollers. No radios.
- No standing in officially designated sitting areas. No sitting in the standing areas. No cameras. No rigid chairs. No hats worn backward. No metal golf spikes. No outsize hats. No carts. And absolutely no lying down anywhere . No fanny packs larger than 10 inches wide, 10 inches high or 12 inches deep (in their natural state).
- No ladders.
- No selling a Masters badge within 2,700 feet of an Augusta National gate.
- No walking through a driving gate.
- No recorders.
- No periscopes.
- No outside food.
Things you will not see at Augusta National:
- No Crowding- There is no crowding at the Masters because the club limits the number of entrance badges sold to keep the attending masses manageable. A four-day badge will go for as much as $5,600 on the secondary market, which means there is also no complaining. Badges are included in many wills.
- No membership applications- The club has no membership application process; if someone asks to join, the unified retort is, No chance.
- No cellphones
- No Yelling- At the Country Club of No, because the atmosphere is reserved and austere, no one shouts “You da man!” after a golfer’s shot, another pleasant outcome.
- No weeds- there are no weeds at the Masters, to the naked eye, on the more than 350 acres that play host to the tournament.
- No litter- There is no litter because at least one maintenance employee is assigned to each quarter-acre, and should someone attempt to carelessly discard a food wrapper, an employee dashes over and snatches it before it hits the ground. It is then deposited in a garbage receptacle
- No large wildlife- There are squirrels and birds. But a high protective fence around the entire tract keeps out larger animals, spurned as unwanted interlopers. A few years ago, when a deer ran across the eighth green, spectators gasped and pointed, and the local newspaper ran a picture of the animal. People who have been coming to the Masters since the 1950s said they had never seen a deer on the course.
Links and articles used in this post:
- The Masters: http://www.masters.com/index.html
- Masters at Agusta.com: http://www.augusta.com/
- Map: http://goo.gl/maps/fXPI5
- CBS Sports Masters Guide- Event schedule, news, hole-by-hole analysis and descriptions, changes over the years, including the installation of heaters under the greens: http://www.cbssports.com/golf/tournaments/masters/course/changes
- The answer is NO at Augusta: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/sports/golf/at-augusta-national-if-you-have-to-ask-the-answer-is-no.html?_r=0