The Masters: Did Augusta live up to its billing?April, 2014
PGA pro David Bown made his first trip to Augusta for the 2014 Masters. Did the experience live up to its billing?
I’ve watched the Masters on TV since 1972 but 2014 was my first visit to Augusta National.
Lets see if it lives up to its billing?
On the TV before the event they are talking about Tiger’s back surgery and how the game of golf is over and it will never be the same, as Tiger will be out for several months and will miss this season’s majors they say.
It’s certainly a big disappointment not having Tiger here, but the Masters and Augusta National is much more than any one player.
It’s about the tradition, the history, the memorable shots, the legends of the game, the beauty of the course, the excitement, Amen Corner, spectacular victories, the disasters and for the champion – the Green Jacket. It is a unique event.
This is the only Major that is played every year at the same course.
Television just cannot do it justice, you cannot appreciate it totally, the condition, the colours, the organisation is immense, and the changes in elevation are surprising – it’s a long walk round.
The Masters is unique in golf, no advertising hoardings round the tees, or anywhere for that matter, everything is done with great taste, it is after all, the Masters.
So here we go through the security, the security staff check my bag, I go through a metal scanner like you do at the airports, everything out of my pockets. They were thorough but friendly.
My wife had a bottle of water and was told she could take it through security as long as she removed the label!
“No advertising here it’s the Masters.”
The food is good, beer was $3 served in Masters beakers, Masters crisps, everything you could think of in the various merchandise shops with the Masters logo are here to buy, and I did.
The girl that served me said I was their 400th transaction on this one till, there were around thirty others!
What impressed me so much was the friendliness of all the fans, the staff and the marshals, everyone had a smile, a word of welcome to the Masters, it was not a “have a nice day” welcome, it was so special.
People talked to each other, it was fun, friendly, and every step on the course was a picture opportunity.
I really felt as if I was in golf heaven It felt to me like when the Olympics came to London, the atmosphere and the respect every fan showed was incredible.
We all knew we were on hallowed ground. The amazing history surrounding the course and it created a special feeling.
I went to the incredible practice ground first, it’s huge and everything is perfect, the seats behind the range are different, not ordinary seats, they are all padded!
Because I wanted to build my video collection of swings for my Youtube channel I decided to go straight onto the course.
That was a great move as I went to the eighth hole – the long par five – and had a prime position right behind the tee and watched the greatest players walk straight up into my line and hit drivers around 280 to 300 yards, perfect!
I spoke to a fan next to me he was a pro from Missouri who drove thirteen hours through the night to get here.
He and his friend had two chairs in perfect position on the eighth hole, they left and said we could sit there, that happened on two occasions that day.
We decided to go to Amen corner and what amazing holes they are, strategic, beautiful, legendary. My mind went back to all the history I had seen on TV, Seve, Faldo, Woosie, Lyle, Nicklaus, Tiger, etc.
After that experience and looking at many of the holes, I decided to walk back to the eighth hole and again my luck was in – a couple next to me left their chairs and said we are welcome to use them.
We sat right inline on the tee box, in the warm Georgia sun, watching Masters champions, Tom Watson, Crenshaw, Schwartzel, Woosie, Lyle , Bubba and so many others walk on the tee and tee it up right in front of me, I never moved sitting in my Masters chair, perfect!
I really felt as if I was in golf heaven!
I was told no running by a marshal, I told him I wasn’t. I was just moving quickly to get past him to cross the fairway!
He laughed, and all was good in the world!
Did the Masters live up to its billing?
Oh boy yes it did and more. I cannot wait to go again.