Augusta National rules

The rules of Augusta – The dos and don’ts of Masters week

The Augusta National rules are unique and must be obeyed if the Masters is to be enjoyed to the full. We cast an eye over some of the rules in place


There are rules, and then there are the rules at Augusta National Golf Club.

If you’re ever lucky enough to take a trip to the Masters, obeying the laws is essential – and there are plenty to get to know.

Tens of thousands of patrons come onto the grounds at arguably golf’s most iconic tournament venue, and the verdict is bleak for anyone caught transgressing.

We’ve put together a list of the main rules everyone needs to follow if they ever find themselves on the grounds at the hallowed club.

Augusta National rules

No electronic devices

Augusta National rules

It’s tournament policy No. 1 and so stringent it’s set out in a deep red typeface inside the Masters spectators guide.

Phones (cell phones in the US), laptops, tablets, beepers – basically anything that comes under the heading “electronic device” – are “strictly prohibited on the grounds at all times”.

Ignore this prime directive at your peril. Anyone caught violating this rule risks being ejected from the golf course and faces the permanent loss of their tickets.

On the three practice days from Monday to Wednesday, a little leeway is granted. Cameras, for still and personal photography only, can be used on the course.

Do not run

If being caught taking a call by Amen Corner is Augusta National’s most unforgivable transgression, this one won’t be far behind.

Avoid at all costs the temptation to break out into a sprint to try and get a good spot to watch the action.

Let’s just listen to Bobby Jones himself, the legendary amateur, founder of Augusta National, and president in perpetuity.

In 1967, the great man wrote: “In golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play”.

Such customs are taken seriously and so, for the safety of patrons, “running is considered unacceptable behaviour”.

If you’re seen going at any pace greater than a brisk walk, you once more risk being asked to leave the grounds.

Don’t ask players for autographs while they are out on the course

Augusta National rules

There is a no autograph policy at Augusta National every day on the golf course itself. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to grab a precious signature.

You’re allowed to present a pen around the practice area, and in designated areas during the Par-3 contest if you’ve managed to get hold of a Wednesday ticket.

Augusta National rules

Don’t bring your own food or drink onto the premises

I mean, you don’t need to for a start. Augusta National’s food and drink prices are incredibly reasonable.

For just $1.50 you can tuck into a tasty pimento cheese sandwich and add a drink for anywhere between $2 and $5.

But food, beverage, and coolers are all prohibited items and you’ll lose them in the security checks if you try and sneak them through.

Don’t boo, and don’t protest

This isn’t the Ryder Cup, you know. “Most distressing to those who love the game of golf is the applauding or cheering of misplays or misfortunes of a player,” wrote Bobby Jones in 1967.

“Such occurrences have been rare at the Masters but we must eliminate them entirely if our patrons are to continue to merit their reputation as the most knowledgeable and considerate in the world.”

Nearly 60 years on, those words are as important to the Masters as ever. That doesn’t mean you have to be as silent as a nun. Cheering and “positive patron responses” are encouraged.

“Unsolicited or consistent calls from the gallery are prohibited”. You are most certainly not “da man”. Protests, which are starting to appear at plenty of UK sporting events, are an absolute no-no.

Sit only in your own seat

You will notice on the Masters coverage the rows of green collapsible chairs in place around the majority of greens.

These have been put there by patrons and they are able to leave them to return to later on.

This is really an unwritten rule but as a patron you shouldn’t sit in anybody else’s chair.

Should you wish to sit down then buy or bring your own collapsible chair but make sure it has no armrests.

You’ll never see patrons, though, hording armfuls of chairs onto the grounds. The spectator guide say they are only allowed to bring one onto the grounds. But it also reminds ticketholders that they are not to be unattended for “any inordinate length of time”.

You can’t reserve a seat in an observation stand, so get ready to stand in line if you’re keen to sample that view.  

You’ll get up to two gate entries

Some majors, such as when The Open is played at St Andrews, can offer unlimited entry and re-entry. At the Masters, patrons may enter the course twice a day.

If you leave once, you can get back in with the same ticket. Any more than that, though, and you’ll find entry blocked.

How can I remember all these rules?

It’s all pretty straightforward if you think about it. If you simply remember to treat people with courtesy and respect, you won’t go too far wrong. And you’ll enjoy a Masters Tournament to remember.

Listen to The NCG Golf Podcast

We’ve got Masters legend Ian Woosnam breaking down his famous 1991 victory, talking rollback, and giving his prediction for who is going to win the green jacket in our tournament preview. You can listen to the full episode here.

Now have your say

What do you think about these Augusta National Golf Club rules? Have you ever fallen foul of any of them, and should they apply to more golf tournaments? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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