The Master’s Experience
Every spring, around the time when many of us up north have been patiently waiting for the snow to melt and golf courses to open, we patiently await the greatest golf tournament in the world… The Masters. I remember as a kid watching Jack Nicklaus win in 86’ or who could forget Tiger’s epic hole out chip on sixteen, or Bubba’s hooked wedge to win in a playoff. Each and every year, The Masters tournament never fails to impress and another major champion is crowned for the year.
In 2015, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend The Masters tournament as a spectator. The security is crazy. The lines are long. But once you are in, the grounds of Augusta National are nothing short of spectacular. Television does not come anywhere close to displaying the true pageantry of this amazing course. The color green takes on new meaning. The upslope from the fairway to the eighteenth hole does not look as nearly severe on TV as it actually is in person. The sandwich and drink prices are so shockingly low when compared to a $10 beer at any other professional sport.
I visited the tournament on a Tuesday during the practice rounds, when it is a little more laid back (as Augusta National standards go). As my veteran friends and I were trying to get a closer look at the players warming up on the range, a security guard informed us that were not allowed to stand where we were. Immediately I was afraid we were going to be escorted off the grounds for committing a felony! When the guard noticed my friend had a prosthetic leg, we explained we were wounded combat veterans, the strangest thing happened… instead of being kicked off the grounds, we were ushered under the yellow ropes and allowed to watch warm-ups from as close as Augusta National possibly allows. It just so happened that a certain Eldrick Tiger Woods was hitting range balls immediately in front of us. To watch him hit majestic iron shot after majestic iron shot was truly an experience I will never forget.
I consider myself a decent golfer and have carried as low as a 2 handicap, but watching the best players in the world do what they do best is very humbling. Of course, I needed to go out and play golf that same day. So I headed to Jones Creek golf club with the guys and played eighteen memorable holes of golf, imagining myself pulling off all the spectacular shots I had witnessed earlier in the day of course. How did I do? Let’s just say I did not shoot 65 that day, but to have played golf in Augusta during the week of the Master’s is certainly one for the ages in my book.