On Sunday afternoon at the 2013 Masters, I witnessed Adam Scott sink a putt on the 18th green. He threw his hands in the air and shouted “Come On Aussie” as he high-fived his caddy, Steve Williams. He thought he had just won.
Angel Cabrera, standing in the fairway on #18 in the final group, needed to birdie 18 to send the tournament into a playoff. He pulled it off and the crowd went wild again! It was the most exhilarating 5 minutes of golf I have ever witnessed. I watched all of this standing just off the left side of the green, three rows back, mere feet from the edge of the green.
Actually being there, jumping up and down as the crowd roared was one of the greatest moments of my life. If you’ve always dreamed of going to the Masters or if you are on your way there next week, you won’t want to waste your precious moments at the most legendary tournament in golf. This week’s post is all about helping you experience moments like this…moments you will remember for the rest of your life.
Masters Insider Tip #1: Pay the premium for Sunday tickets
Practice rounds are great, being there Thursday-Saturday is magical, but there is nothing like Masters Sunday. The electricity in the air on Masters Sunday is palpable and I get a little verklempt just thinking about it.
Masters Insider Tip #2: Buy a Masters chair
This tip comes from my friend and Masters veteran, Jim:
“Buy a Masters chair at the store on the Augusta grounds for about $30. Not many newbies know you can then plant that chair anywhere in a viewing area or behind the ropes and leave it! That becomes your place. There is a piece of paper to put your name so you can find it, but you can walk off and leave it for as long as you want.
If you are going to a practice round, put the chair around the 16th green, as you can see #15 green, #6 and #16 there. Also, the 16th hole is where they do the “skipping” in the practice rounds, which is a major source of entertainment. The players hit their shots to the green and people start chanting, “skip it! skip it!” and they go up to the waters edge and skip a golf ball along the water, trying to get on the green. There are tortoises which are usually near the green which often deflect the balls, and roars are heard all over the course.”
If you are there on Sunday and you have a chair, get there when they open the gate and immediately head over to #18 green to put your chair there. You’ll be glad you did when you experience a moment like I did with Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera in my opening story.
I should also note that personally, I haven’t bought a chair. You can use other people’s chairs and shouldn’t have any issues with doing that. If you just ask someone sitting next to an open chair if it’s taken, they’ll often invite you to sit down. I met a lot of interesting people doing this. The rain was so bad on Sunday that I was able to snag an open chair on #18 green, but don’t expect to have the same luck. If I go to the Masters again, I will definitely buy a chair.
Masters Insider Tip #3: Bring Rain Gear…and sunscreen
The weather can change quickly in Augusta and the Masters tournament is often plagued with rain. We baked in the sun on Saturday and were soaked with rain on Sunday. Don’t bother with a cheap poncho. Bring your best rain gear from home. If you buy something at the Masters Pavilion, you can check whatever you purchase and store your rain gear with your checked stuff.
I was thoroughly unprepared for the rain on Sunday and had to leave the tournament to go back to the hotel to get my rain gear. It only took about an hour, but that was an hour of The Masters that I missed!
Masters Insider Tip #4: Call Someone From Amen Corner
I’ll never forget the time I called my husband from the AT&T courtesy phones behind the grandstands at Amen Corner! “Hey babe, just calling you from Amen corner right now!” In fact, if you really want to make all your golf buddies jealous, write their phone numbers down, bring the list with you (no cell phones allowed inside Augusta), and call them all! They’ll be “Masters green” with envy.
Masters Insider Tip #5: Walk the entire course
This tip comes from my friend, Buddy, who stresses that you need to experience the complete Augusta and take the time to walk the course from start to finish. Too many people just head to Amen corner, #2 green, #16 tee, or some other place and just park it All. Day. Long. Big mistake!
Walk the entire course, noting places you want to return and/or plant your chair. It’s easy to get around. The only traffic jams occur with Tiger, which won’t be an issue in 2016.
Buddy suggests picking a spot for your chair so you can return later (see tip #2), then spend most of the morning walking the course from 1-18. When you get tired of walking, head back to your chair.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to bring your most comfortable walking shoes. The rumors are true – Augusta is way hillier than it appears on TV and there are a few hikes along the course.
Masters Insider Tip #6: Wear a bright shirt
There’s a good chance you’ll get on TV if you’re strategic about where you stand or sit. My dad stood behind #16 tee box and was on TV over and over and over again as the camera zoomed in on players teeing off.
I happened to be standing in just the right spot when Adam Scott hit his 2nd shot on #13, and made it on to TV myself. I could even see my white hat bobbing up and down as I jumped for joy on #18 green. No one else would know it’s was me in the sea of people, but I DVR’d that and saved it for all eternity as proof that I was there! 🙂
On a related note, you will constantly be awestruck by how you can reach out and nearly touch Mickelson, Spieth, Day, Fowler, Scott, etc. A great place to park yourself if you want some VIP access is along the ropes just off the green or next to tee boxes.
Tee shot landing areas on par 4s and par 5s also present good opportunities to get up close and personal. There are surprisingly few people standing along the ropes on the fairways so it’s not hard to position yourself just a few feet from a player if their tee shot lands near you.
Masters Insider Tip #7: Make it Rain
My anticipation grows as the line zig-zags and I get closer and closer to the entrance. And then…it’s my turn to enter the pavilion, and I morph into a Black Friday shopper on crack!
Empty your bank account and throw some Benjamin’s around in the merchandise pavilion! You’ll be saving money with the cheap beer and cheap pimento cheese sandwiches, so splurge on shirts, jackets, hats, balls…buy one of everything!!
I am normally a frugal person, but you can and should spend hundreds of dollars here.
Masters Insider Tip #8: Don’t Party Too Hard
The beer is cheap at Augusta, the hospitality houses keep guests happy and keep the booze flowing, so a lot of Masters patrons party hard. It’s just a great time, and people are in a celebratory mood.
Then you kick yourself the next morning because you slept in and your head is pounding. Getting there early and placing your chair exactly where you want is key to a good experience, so don’t blow it by sleeping in or stumbling around the course.