I think my Aunt Janice said it best. “Walking into the Masters, is like walking onto a movie set.” It is perfect in every way. There is a magic within the air that is truly indescribable until you experience it first-hand. I’m going to do my best to give you a visual and mental glance into one of the most memorable 12-hour experiences of my life. Welcome to the Masters.
We arrived just after 7:00 am on Tuesday. As we turned off of I-20 we followed thousands of cars toward one of several free parking areas around the course. Hundreds of volunteers and police officials were posted every 5 feet directing cars, quickly, into each and every space.
I think this is photo above it the best representation of the typography of the entire course. I’m standing in front of my car and taking this photo head-on. We had NO idea what we were getting into. On TV the course looks very flat, but in reality I have never walked up and down so many hills in my life.
Security was no joke. You are allowed one bag that can be no more than 10″ wide X 5″ tall X 5″deep – and they mean it! Each gate has a small green box of those specifications and if you cant fit your bag in, you have the pleasure of going to the back of the line…no exceptions. They also have a very strict NO CELL PHONE policy as well. When was the last time you went without your cell phone for 12 hours?
The first thing you see when you walk in the gate is the driving range. This is when the chills set in. Even if you are totally uninterested in golf, you will be blown away.
Just past the driving range is the patron entrance onto the greens. The wait was pretty remarkable…everyone is quiet and everyone is waiting patiently. You’ll notice from this photo, one of the most surprising things was the lack of women in attendance. Ladies, if you ever have the opportunity to attend the Masters, you RUN to Augusta as fast as you can!
8:00 am the patrons are welcomed onto the course. We immediately headed to the first hole and as we arrived we noticed Mr. Tiger Woods. The golf Gods were with us on that morning. We chose to start walking the front 9 holes not knowing that all of our favorite players would start right as we were arriving.
Although I would attend the Masters on a tournament day in a heart beat, I have to say I absolutely loved going for my first time on a practice round day. The mood was light, the players were relaxed and engaged with the crowd, and you have the opportunity to take pictures which I wouldn’t have traded for anything.
Just after Tiger, our favorite player, Phil Mickelson teed off at the 1st hole. He was wonderful. The entire time you overheard him giving the other players advice and politely congratulating them on good shots. Patrons would talk to him and he would smile and talk right back. He seemed like a genuinely nice man.
All of the sudden I heard Rob say, “BONES!” Phil Mickelson’s poor caddy has one hell of a nickname!
Two of our other favorites unexpectedly stumbled upon each other. Each player has the ability to play alone and/or start and stop as they please. So as Tom Watson was putting on the first hole, Rory McIlroy arrived shortly after.
Two generations of golf legends made for a pretty special moment.
The beauty on this course cannot be described with words. Every single hole is manicured to perfection.
So much so, that even this little leaf above looked out of place.
It was as if the water knew it was time to shine, literally. It held perfectly still and provided a beautiful reflection.
This is the tee box for the 18th hole. It’s not for the faint of heart. The hole is just up ahead to the right…just 465 yards, uphill, dogleg right and through the very narrow fairway. It is as narrow and impossible as it looks.
If your lucky enough to make it to the top, the view is well worth it.
You will certainly work up an appetite with all of the walking…but have no fear, $1.50 Pimento Cheese sandwiches are here! I loved them so much, I had two – no shame.
Oh, and P.S. our entire food bill (including 2nd’s and and and ice cream treat) came to about $12 total. Please tell me where you will find food this delicious and inexpensive anywhere else on the planet.
After our delicious lunch we parked at the 13th hole and enjoyed some people watching!
The one and ONLY bummer of the entire day was that the Azaleas had decided to bloom a week early due to the abnormally warm weather.
In the event of rain or lightning this fabulous fleet will rush the players safely back to the clubhouse. You, on the other hand…enjoy the walk.
I had no idea the grounds included several beautiful cabins for the members to use at their disposal. They were so quaint and had an incredible view of the course.
We had the time of our lives, and can only pray that this trip will not be our last. What a magical, memorable place.