Words by Amy Rogers (lpga.com)
AUGUSTA, GA – I’m lucky. I know it.
Working in golf has given me the opportunity to travel to some of the game’s most iconic venues. But there is none more difficult to visit, desired or appreciated than a trip to Augusta National Golf Club.
Each year, the LPGA rents a house a short 10-minute drive from Augusta National Golf Club. It’s a great home away from home from members of the LPGA and staff members during Masters week. This was my first stop Tuesday morning to pick up my badge on the way to the course.
Entering through the South Gate at Augusta National Golf Club, you’ll immediately walk out onto the course behind the 14th tee, just to the right of the 13th green and the end of Amen Corner. It was my first stop of the day. There, one of the marshals manning the cross way at the 14th fairway offered to take a photo at the iconic par five. This is a “must” for any patron at the Masters!
From there, I headed backwards through Amen Corner and took a seat in front of the grandstands at the par three, 12th. As you’ve probably already realized from the lack of color in the photos – the azaleas already bloomed. With abnormally warm temperatures, the azaleas bloomed ahead of this week’s tournament and just a few flowers remain throughout the course. At the famous par three, I sat and watched as several players play through, including Phil Mickelson in the morning and in the afternoon saw Lee Westwood and Matt Kuchar.
As I made my way around the course I passed the often talked about chairs of the Masters. There’s an unspoken rule that has come to be associated with the golf chairs. Once they’ve been placed in their chosen location for the day, they’re never disturbed or moved by other patrons. Even for a practice round day, dozens of the green chairs were set around the par three, 16th and other greens around the course.
I continued my journey, winding up the 11th hole, cut across a path I didn’t remember before crossing the 18th hole just beyond the tee box, and then up through the middle of the course towards the clubhouse. The first tee was farther back than I remembered and extended all the way in front of the clubhouse. I had to walk around the tee box to the right, which was now quite close to the practice putting green, to take my photo. I’m starting to sound old here – but wow! The length of these holes get longer with each trip I make to the course. Anyway, back to the clubhouse. It was as beautiful as I remembered with swarms of media beneath the huge oak tree with others lunching under the green and white umbrellas nearby.
I was starting to get hungry for lunch. I knew there was a concession area near the large golf shop and began heading that direction. On my way, I passed the huge Masters leaderboard just to the right of the first fairway. There, groups of friends stopped to take photos and I posed for one of my own – another “must” for patrons!
Back to lunch now. The insanely low prices at the Masters have remained unchanged. I was able to buy a BBQ sandwich, bag of chips, a chocolate chip cookie, bottle of water and a soda with a cup I can take home as a souvenir, all for $9.00. Incredible. Sandwich was delicious too!
Read about the rest of Amy’s day at the Masters: lpga.com