Date: April 04, 2012

Masters blog: Arriving at Augusta National

By Hamish Jones, Augusta It’s hard to describe the feeling when you arrive at Augusta National. The course itself is innocuous from the outside deep green hedging that might be at home at any large golf course in any country. The road outside is a multi-lane road and the traffic is a near military operation staffed by local sherrifs who do it with a very good sense of humour. You turn off Washington Road and into Magnolia Lane. There are no signs. No Welcome to theming. No indication of what s ahead. It’s merely simple gate entrance. As you pass along the tree lined lane, the clubhouse comes into focus through the trees. White and grand in appearance but that owes much to the awe of the location. We come into the course via the player carpark and a small service road. We walk in near the right hand side of the first fairway, past a big Masters scoreboard. This is very much a communal meeting place for the patrons during the tournament. There s the Concession Stands where you can buy breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea for the day. There s a great selection of food and the menu prices astonish many lunch for two usually costs less than $10. Ticket holders are always referred to as patrons never guests, crowds or people. Always patrons. As we walk out towards the course, the enormity of the property begins to show. The grass is so perfectly managed that is impossible to find a colour variation anywhere on the fairway. A solid, bottle green carpet. Not a needle of pine straw is out of place around the trees. Nothing is out of place anywhere, for that matter. Litter is virtually impossible to find not because of any strict policy, but because it almost feels like the patrons couldn’t bring themselves to see this amazing place dirtied in any way. You couldn’t bring yourself to drop rubbish here. As you stand on the edge of the first hole you can see for hundreds and hundreds of metres through the course and the extraordinary elevation changes between tees and greens. The steepness of the 18th hole from tee to green is simply unbelievable. For a first time visitor, it s an extraordinary place with even greater grace.