Masters Spec GuideThe morning finally arrived this Tuesday for the Patron Experience at The Masters.  I had been looking forward to this since I was a teenager, and when Mo’ Golf won the Practice Round Ticket Lottery, the dream became a reality.  The alarm was set for 5:30 am, but that was moot, as the house was buzzing with activity long before that.  We headed out from our Atlanta-area house, and set many land-speed records on Route 20 to Augusta.  And Augusta National Golf Club makes this a special experience for anyone lucky enough to calm themselves a Patron.  I had high expectations for the service, but they were woefully short, and it started from the moment we pulled up Berckman’s Road. Thanks to Roger Kapturowski, I have photographic evidence to document our experience.


We had been warned that it could be a nasty commute and time to be spent in the car.  However, Augusta National purchased multiple lots adjacent to the property and was involved in a re-routing of Berckman’s Road to allow easier access.  Imagine our surprise to encounter a nearly uninterrupted ride up to the FREE (yes, FREE) immediately adjacent to the course with nearby Gate 9 a mere Par 5 away.

Merchandise Services

Having attended multiple Major events, I had nightmarish visions of allocating hours of my day waiting in line at a central Merchandise Building to purchase my Masters Memorabilia.  I then envisioned the wasted viewing time necessary to walk the purchases back to our vehicle.  Once again, the reality of the service at ANGC was vastly different.  At our sparsely-used Gate 9 was a full building with every piece of Masters-logoed swag imaginable.  We didn’t encounter a line or delay of more than 15 seconds as we racked up the purchases.  But the most pleasant discovery was the “Check Services” just outside the store, where my new purchases would be waiting for me at the end of my day.   This could not have been a more pleasant or convenient start to the day.


We were still working towards the course, but stopped at the Gate 9 Concession Stand.  I had heard of the great prices at ANGC, but assumed the trade-off would be long lines.  I have been to many events, but none with the ratio of staff to Patrons I witnessed at Augusta.  A steady stream of patrons entered, but you quickly moved through the service area and to your register in a matter of 2 minutes.  When you approach a sporting event register with a beer, a sandwich and a dessert snack, you’re used to hearing numbers like $20 (or up).  I still did a double take when I heard the words “That’ll be $6.00, sir.”

First Look

I had been on the property for less than 40 minutes, but had already parked, completed my shopping, ate, and was already in awe of the Masters experience.  I even had time to call Mrs. Scrambler to rave about the day from the free land-line phones provided for Patrons.  But it was time!  When you see a sign with an arrow that says “Amen Corner,” you know this is real.  As we emerged from behind the 14th hole stands, this was the first thing I saw:

First Look Masters

The goosebumps flooded me immediately – to finally experience the beauty of Augusta National was amazing.  I’ll write more about the course itself later, but what an opening vista.

Where Did That Happen?

Phil Shot Marshall - 13 smallThe most common experience at a Practice Round is a cluster of fans trying to determine ” where was Phil when he hit that shot???”  Well, as you would expect by now, Augusta National has you covered.  After debating for several minutes on the right side of number 13, we noticed this pleasant young lady ready to answer any question you had.  She was armed with screenshots of the TV coverage and pointed exactly where Phil was (a little stack of Pine Cones marked the spot).  If you look at the picture left, he thread it between the two trees directly in the middle, all with the Masters on the line.  How Bones stayed quiet is one of life’s great mysteries.  And this girl was here at 9 am, and still standing as chipper as ever at 6 pm when we left.

There was a similar love of the history that exuded from all the Marshalls on the course.  Similar help was found in the “Bubba Spot” in the right trees on 10.  The Sandy Lyle Bunker.  The Larry Mize chip.  If you had a question, someone was happy to help you maximize your experience.

Other Sightings

Beyond the course, walking around the grounds was a stroll through golf’s history.  Through our day, we encountered the likes of Don January, Isao Aoki, Paul Azinger, Ben Crenshaw (and Carl), not separated by the ropes or an air of exclusivity.  Tom Watson wandered through the crowd on his way to the practice tee.  There was just a relaxed air with Patrons united by their common embrace for this great tradition.  You couldn’t imagine a more serene event.

Masters Aoki small2 Masters January small











By the time we left, any discussion of this being a “Once In A Lifetime” experience were replaced by “we’re going to figure out a way to do this again!”  If you ever get the chance, find a way to get to Augusta.  the service and experience will surpass any high expectation that you have.