Staff writer and golf fanatic Johnny Goodman (not his real name) shares his experience at the 2009 Masters.

This year I made my first trip to the Masters golf Tournament in Augusta Georgia. As a fan and player of the sport, this was on a short list of things I really wanted to do at least once in my lifetime.

I attended the weekend action. Your typical day for a “patron” starts by getting up at dark thirty in order to arrive at the gate of your choice by no later than seven in the morning. This assures you will be near the front of the line to get a prime viewing spot on the course. Most of the spectators bring small chairs (ones with arm-rests are not allowed) and will place them strategically in a spot where they want to see the action.

In the event you didn’t get your chair where you wanted, no worries, this is the Masters! If a chair is not occupied, you are welcome to sit in it and watch the action, of course if the party owning the seat returns, you are politely asked to remove yourself and find another available seating arrangement.

After placing your chair in the morning, it is off to the merchandise tent, the concession stand to pick up a pimento cheese sandwich, or just a chance to walk the course.

The Main Merchandise tent is located near the clubhouse. Needless to say it is a magnet for the patrons once they get on the grounds of Augusta National. The selection is tremendous, the traffic is even more so. Yours truly spent a smooth $1500 to fill a significant order placed by friends and family members.

The Concessions are maybe the best deal going anywhere in golf. The prices have not changed much in years. Beers are $2. Sandwiches are anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50. A $7 ballpark hotdog…. not here at the Masters.

The course itself is indescribable, but I will try. Television coverage does not do it justice. I will admit that the folks at CBS do an absolutely outstanding job of capturing the beauty and angles which best exemplify the course and the topography of the site, while maximizing the golf action. The course is much hillier than you would imagine. High Def TV helps to show it, but there are a number of holes that will have elevation changes of 60-100 ft or more from tee to green. The greens were smaller than I expected, as the television coverage does make them look larger than they are in person.

I have been to numerous sporting events in my life, and none are better run than the Masters. This is not just a major golf tournament, it is an event. Actually it is more than just an event….it is everything that is good about golf – beautiful scenery, a difficult course, good friendly people at every turn, and good manners…with exception of the “streaker” who found his way onto the course on Sunday. At any other place this would have been a big deal, complete with a bunch of clapping, hollering and the like …. but…. here at Augusta, the Patrons remained quiet while security personnel tackled the gentleman and removed him from the course. Nope, the Green Jacketed members already have a “Tradition unlike any other” and they aren’t about to let someone else start one on their watch.

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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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