Wednesday, April 1, 2009

9 Days and Counting

There are only 9 days left before the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club come alive with the sights and sounds of thousands of awe struck spectators. Sorry I mean Patrons. I forgot that I was talking about the Masters.

My first trip to Augusta National was an unforgettable one. I remember walking through the gates and begin overwhelmed by the magnitude of this event. There were bright eyed almost shell-shocked people everywhere running around trying to get a memento from their trip to the Masters. After walking into the 16,000 square foot gift shop, I could see why they needed so much room.

After grabbing a few souvenirs myself, I headed out the course and I was immediately struck by how hilly the fairways were. Looking at the course on television makes you think that it’s flat but in reality it has numerous hills and valleys. The grass looked like a lush green carpet and the flowers were amazing. It almost made you feel guilty to walk on the grass. I rushed down to Amen Corner holes 11, 12 and 13 because after all who goes to Augusta National and doesn’t go down to Amen Corner?

I saw the Hogan Bridge and Rae’s Creek and the infamous Par-3 12th hole. Television just doesn’t do it justice. What really struck me was the caliber of Patrons that attend the Masters. Monday through Wednesday you have the “Practice Round” crowd. The lucky people who scored a practice round ticket and now have their once in a lifetime chance to go to the Masters. They have bags full of Master stuff and they are taking it all in like little kids at Disney land. But later in the week the “Badge Holders” show up. The prim and proper cashmere sweater and Bermuda shorts or tailored slacks wearing crowd. The people who have been coming for years arrive. They pick up the loose trash and find the closest trash receptacle so they can properly dispose of it. They have a distinct air if sophistication. It’s a sight to see.

The Masters is truly a place that every person who loves golf should attend at least once in their lives. The pageantry and tradition in unparallel. I can remember following Tiger Woods and Chris Dimarco on the 9th hole and stopping to speak to a member of Augusta National. I introduced myself and said “Sir I am enamored with your golf course” and he slowly rose up off of his golf cart, tipped his hat like a true southern gentleman and said “ Thank you sir, here at Augusta National we don’t have rules we have traditions”.

I couldn’t agree more. In 9 days the magic that is the Masters begins and if you love golf you can’t help but feel a sense of anticipation. I can’t wait see the Azaleas in full bloom and see who will don the Masters champion Green Jacket this year.

(image courtesy of Getty Images)

"Keep it in the short grass"

Edward. S. Wanambwa

1 comment:

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