The hardest ticket in sports is a ticket to The Masters from Thursday-Sunday. I was lucky enough to go to the 2017 Masters on Thursday and Saturday. Going into it, I had no idea what to expect, where to go, what to see, what to buy, where to buy it, etc… Well, I’m going to lay it all out for you.
WHAT TO BRING AND NOT TO BRING
There’s a larger list of what not to bring on the website for The Masters, but I’ll break down the basic stuff. NO CELL PHONE – Leave it in your car or wherever you’re staying or you can check it at the stand just outside of the front gate. Without a cell phone, make sure you coordinate times and places to meet your friends in case you split up somewhere. NO FOOD OR DRINK – Since you’re going to be at the tournament all day, you probably want to bring some snacks to save you a few bucks. No can do. Don’t try it. Just purchase the inexpensive food inside. NO CAMERA – This kind of goes with the no cell phone.
What you should bring is a hat (or better yet, don’t bring a hat because you’ll probably buy one at the shop), a jacket (a 1/4 zip golf pullover should be good, but you should do your research on the weather because you’re going to be there all day), sunscreen, chapstick, and maybe a pair of shorts if you’re going to wear pants. You can do one of 2 things to carry your stuff, 1-bring a backpack (check the Masters website to see the size you can bring), or 2-buy stuff at the store and either use the bag they give you or buy a bag at the shop.
Parking is free on the grounds of Augusta National. Get there early so you can get a spot. There is also parking all along Washington Rd outside of Augusta National. I parked at a church diagonal from the water tower that offered free parking. You can also Uber, Lyft, Taxi, etc… from wherever you’re staying. There are plenty of places to be dropped off in front of Augusta National.
TIME TO GET THERE
Early! If you have ever watched The Masters, you probably have seen people sitting in chairs around the greens, the tee box, and all over the course. Well, there’s a great program in place. You can purchase a chair at the shop (if the line is too long at the shop, you can get your chair at any of the pop up stores that are all over the grounds), put your name or business card in the slot on the back of the chair, and simply place your chair in any legal spot (obviously not on the fairway, etc…) on the grounds. That will be your spot for the entire day. Nobody will mess with your chair. They don’t want you to put your chair down and come back 10 hours later, but it’s OK to come and go as you please. Personally, we put our chair at Amen Corner at 8AM and then went to the driving range and practice green (right next to each other) to watch some practice. It’s great just standing there watching the pros practice. It really puts it in perspective.
There is one main shop near the entrance and many little pop up shops throughout the grounds. Obviously the main shop has a ton more stuff (probably 20-30 times the product) than the pop up shops. Do your main shopping at the main shopping, but if you forgot anything, you may be able to get them at the pop up shop. The main store is packed in the morning. We arrived at 9AM Thursday morning and the line was deep. Since I was coming back on Saturday, I decided to get there early on Saturday and do my shopping then. I know this isn’t an option for everyone. But, I was back at the main shop for my meeting time of 1PM with a few people in our crew. I showed up at 12:15 to maybe get into the shop. There was no line and I walked right in. I think you just have to keep walking by the shop to see the line every 3-4 hours to see how long the line is.
You’ve already heard the stories of how inexpensive the food is. Well, those stories are true. The most expensive product is a $5 import beer. For breakfast, you can choose from sausage biscuit or chicken biscuit, fruit, and coffee. They do have sandwiches available in the morning too.
I ate a ton of stuff and kept coming back.
I had banana, sausage biscuit, chicken biscuit, water (plenty of it), beer (a few), BBQ sandwich (shredded BBQ pork), cookie, peach ice cream sandwich, peanuts, trail mix, brownie, and moon pie. Don’t judge, I was there a long time.
The lines move quickly, so don’t get discouraged if you find a long line.
I can’t speak for the women, but one of the best times on the course was listening to the bathroom attendants. Absolutely hilarious. I won’t go into what they were saying, but they’re great. I’m sure if you’re there all day, you’ll encounter them sooner or later.
Management at The Masters or Augusta National is unbelievable to get every person that works for them to act the way they do. Everyone is unbelievably polite. They are very happy, very helpful, knowledgeable, and a complete pleasure. They seem as if they are truly interested in making sure we as customers are pleased.
The one thing you hear is, “a lot of hills”. Well, that’s the truth. Besides the tee box and the greens, there really isn’t a flat ground on the course. You’ll be walking up and down hills all day. My recommendation is to wear your most comfortable golf shoes because you’ll be walking on grass all day. There are alot of places to set up your chair for viewing. I recommend placing the chair on a par 3. They are simply the most enjoyable areas to watch. Or you can opt for the 18th green if you’re there on Sunday. Our favorite time was at Amen Corner or the green of hole 6 (we almost saw Jason Day ace it). There are many areas that don’t have a ton of people and you can walk right up and watch. The reason for this is that you only get to see one shot and that’s it. The 15th tee box is one of those areas. We walked by many times and there were only a few people there. If you’re on the green of 6, you can turn around and watch the drive on 7, and then go back to the green of 6. Eventually you’ll lose your spot on the green of 6 unless you have a chair. We didn’t have a chair because it was on 12.
Do anything you can to get here at least once in your life. I’m now spoiled. I’m going to try everything possible to get back every year. I was lucky enough to be there on Thursday and get a commemorative Arnie’s Army pin with the date on it. It’s already going for $60 on Ebay, but this pin isn’t going anywhere.