Arguably the most famous golf major played on possibly the most renowned course, The Masters at Augusta National is undoubtedly the most exclusive golf tournament in the world.
This week we caught up with Charlie Hustler, who was lucky enough last month to experience this ‘bucket-list’ event first hand.
Here are 10 things you probably did not know about The Masters.
1. All spectators are entirely ‘off the grid’
There are no mobiles phones or cameras permitted - the entire sporting experience for those on-site is lived through memories of the live experience.
If you need to contact the outside world, then you can use pay-phones located around the course. No such luck on the live social media posts!
2. Etiquette is everything
Members (who wear green jackets) get earlier access to the venue to take up their favoured positions, Patrons (the title given to all other spectators) are expected to adhere to rules such as no running or shouting. The event is mainly self-policing with fellow patrons pulling people up on poor etiquette.
3. Old school approach to following the score
The only way to follow what is going down on the course is through traditional manual scoreboards positioned around the greens. No large replay screens or radios are provided to follow the event as it unfolds.
4. Traditional order of play
The only way to know the order if play is through Masters order of play cards which provide details on the playing groups and tee-off times.
5. Downtown Augusta next door
The beautiful pictures of Augusta National seen through the TV broadcast with its lush tree-lined fairways and azaleas in abundance paint a picture of golfing paradise. Little do you know that the actual course is quite compact (you could walk across the whole site in 10-15 minutes) and located next to a multi-lane carriageway in downtown Augusta, although traffic can not be heard anywhere around the golf course.
6. Extraordinary viewing
With minimal stands (mainly around Amen Corner, the par 3 16th hole, and a selection of other greens), the viewing galleries around Augusta National are entirely natural due to the significant undulation of the topography. Patrons can purchase collapsible chairs that can be left in position and reserved with a business card in the back pocket of the chair. Patrons are permitted to sit in each other’s chairs if they are not being used.
7. The atmosphere
The compact nature of the course means that major moments can be heard across the course. Roars supporting Tiger Woods are the loudest and longest!
8. Sponsor clean tournament
There is no visibility of sponsor branding around the tournament. All food and refreshments are Masters branded; there is even the famous Masters pimento cheese sandwich. Good value as well at $1.50.
9. Smash and grab shopping
It is the only place that you can purchase Masters merchandise and the average shopping expenditure is thought to exceed $1,000 per patron. The shop was doubled in size in 2018 and there are 64 registers to ensure fast check-out!
10. Corporate hospitality
Unlike the other major golf tournaments and high profile sporting events there is no corporate hospitality on site. All members and patrons have the same experience.
For Charlie, who set-up his chair on the 18th green at 07.15 on the Sunday morning (complete with business card in the back pocket), he followed Tiger Woods around the golf course and then took his chair on the 18th green to witness one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sport, the 2019 Masters will be truly unforgettable.
In an industry where all the talk is around technology and innovation to enhance the ‘live spectator experience’, The Masters at Augusta National offers a totally different ‘live’ experience. It is incomparable in today’s tech-savvy sporting world.
Will it be changing any time soon? Not in our reckoning.
Image © Matt Slocum / PA
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