10 Apr Majesty of The Masters
Written and photographed by: Christin Gish
Walking into The Masters, is like walking onto a movie set Every detail is perfection. It’s indescribable magic. Second to my wedding day and childbirth, it maybe the most memorable 12-hour experience of my entire life. This is my second trip here. My first visit was in 2012 when I entered the Masters lottery for the first time and, by nothing short of a miracle, won (millions enter every year of their lives and never win). This year, we’re attending as guests.
Welcome to the 2017 Masters…
It’s 7:00 am on Tuesday. Pictured above is Founders Circle which is at the end of the iconic Magnolia Lane entry, reserved exclusively for players and members of Augusta National Golf Club. We turn off of I-20 following thousands of cars toward free parking areas around the course. Hundreds of volunteers and police are efficiently directing traffic. Security is serious business. We’re allowed one bag, no bigger than 10″ wide X 5″ tall X 5″ deep. Thank Heaven my purse fits inside of the green box at our gate, or else it would’ve been back to the car (and back to the end of the entry line)…NO exceptions. There’s also a strict NO photos policy, except on practice days (although I’d attend on a tournament day in a heartbeat, practice round days (today) are amazing because the mood is relaxed and players engage with the crowd). Finally, there’s also a strict NO cell phone policy. In the event that you are caught with any cellular device you will be banned from attending for LIFE.
O.M.G. I’m already going into withdrawal…when was the last time you went without your cell phone for 12 hours?!?
Just ahead we witness the driving range for the first time. I’m covered in chills. It’s gorgeously green, magnificently manicured, and perfectly perfect in every way. Past the driving range is the patron entrance onto the greens. Everyone is quiet and waiting (im)patiently…
At 8:00 a.m. we’re welcomed onto the course. Not a blade of grass is out of place. We head to the first hole. The golf gods are with us, we choose to start walking the front nine holes not knowing that all of our favorite players would tee off right as we arrive. Each player chooses to play alone and/or start and stop as they please.
Phil Mickelson tees off at the first hole. He is such a love! All day we overhear him advising other players and congratulating good shots. When patrons talk to him, he smiles and responds. God bless his sweet, kind heart!
The beauty is breathtaking. Every single hole is manicured to perfection, so much so, even this little leaf below looks out of place (#details).
The water knew it was time to shine and gave our camera a picture perfect reflection.
You’ll certainly work up an appetite with all of the walking (on TV the course looks flat, but in reality I’ve never walked up and down so many hills in my life!). Have no fear, $1.50 Pimento Cheese sandwiches are here (I devoured two—no shame). PEOPLE, three words, EAT IT ALL! Does delicious food this inexpensive exist anywhere else?!? I’m also obsessed with the egg salad and BBQ sandwiches, trail mix, chicken biscuits, and sweet tea (drink as many as you can, save all The Masters cups). And—very important—pack stretchy pants for the plane ride home!
You may not know that all Masters branded merchandise is sold exclusively at Augusta National Golf Club (#husbandsofcloche went a little overboard with purchases this year). We’re especially obsessed with the 2017 hats. If you’re in the market for merchandise, shop eBay, but be prepared to pay a huge mark up.
In case you don’t follow golf, here’s a quick 101 on The Masters. It’s one of four major championships in men’s professional golf, held the first full week of April as the first of the majors to be played each year. Unlike the other major championships, The Masters is always held at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in Augusta, Georgia. The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Jones designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie. The tournament is an official money event on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour. The field of players is smaller than those of the other major championships because it’s an invitational event.
Augusta National goes to extraordinary lengths to cloister its roughly 300 members, a group that includes some of the wealthiest, most powerful businessmen and women in the world. Membership in Augusta National remains one of the most sought-after affirmations of corporate success. Guests must be accompanied by members at all times. Autograph requests are forbidden. And in recent years, the club has acquired an estimated $55 million in real estate surrounding its courses, clubhouse and cabins, creating a bigger buffer zone to insulate its members, and to better control The Masters experience. The grounds house 10 cabins for members to use at their disposal. They are simple but lovely, each one offering an incredible view of the course.
Cloche had the time of our lives, and can’t wait to come back next year to again experience the majesty of the Masters.
CONGRATULATIONS to 2017 Masters Champion, Sergio García!