There is nothing quite like Augusta National Golf Club.

The Masters Tournament signals in the unofficial golf season around the United States. We all tune in to watch and marvel and the condition of the course. Many golfers and sports fans alike have it on their “bucket list”

I had the opportunity to go with a person who has attended the tournament for over 30 years back in 2009. I enjoyed watching Tiger and Phil play in the same group on Sunday and winced with most of the crowd when Kenny Perry faltered down the stretch. This eventually set up a three way playoff between Perry, Chad Campbell and eventual champ that year Angel Cabrera. You can read that original article here.

Getting there is not as tough as you think.

Unless you are connected and happened to have a family friend or a rich uncle that has annual patron badges, you have a couple of methods to still seeing the emerald cathedral in person.

Each year on the website for the Masters – normally starting slightly after the tournament’s conclusion you can apply for tickets to the following years tournament. The main badges are long since gone, and the waiting list is longer than checkout lines at Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving.

Augusta National offers a lottery type drawing for you, and anyone else you can convince to put in a ticket request on your behalf. You can apply for practice rounds or actual tournament days. I would suggest that you apply for all of them.

This year I had a few co-workers that were successful in getting practice round badges using this method.

Option #2 is to use an on-line ticket brokerage on on-line auction service to purchase your tickets.

My wife and I did this option this year as I truly wanted to go back to the tournament when I could take photos…which is ONLY during a practice round.

Here are a couple of helpful tips for you if you are planning on going to Augusta in the future to watch the Masters:

1) Stay in Columbia! – Columbia South Carolina is a little over a hour drive from Augusta, and you won’t have to sell your spleen to be able to book a hotel room. We stayed in the Harbison area which had great shopping and a lot of nice restaurants in a Comfort Inn for $95 a night. If you stay in places such as Aiken or even Augusta – get out the checkbook.

2) Get there early!. Gates open at 8 am on practice round days, but you want to be there by no later than 7:15. Why? You have to park, then walk to the gates and then get into the tournament through nothing short of what I would describe as a “friendly” TSA type of scanning process.
 
 

3) Hit the merchandise tent – make it your FIRST STOP! You can pretty much only get Masters “gear” from the Tournament site itself. So, get in early, go purchase your souvenirs and then exit to the left of the merchandise building and either check your bag (they will gladly hold it for you until you leave at the end of the day) or better yet, use the local shipping service tent to send it back home and avoid the extra luggage on the airplane.

4) Take lots of photos and follow your favorite players. Word of warning. Augusta is a very hilly piece of real estate. Television – even HD television does not due the elevation changes justice. Grab a comfy and broken in pair of shoes. You will also want to hydrate often if it is warm (it was 95 ish Monday this year when I was there)

 

 

5) Eat up!. Need to experience some of the local fare such as chicken biscuits in the morning, and the pimento cheese sandwiches in the afternoon. Best thing about the Masters??? Concessions are CHEAP. Everything you see below cost the wife and I $7 for our first refueling stop of the morning.
 
 
  
I truly hope you all have the chance to make it there someday. Have a great weekend and enjoy the golf!



Until next time, Stay Classy Augusta Georgia…I know you will

[Editor’s note: click on any of the images to view a larger version]

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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