Masters Countdown: A Reader’s Trip Report on Monday’s Practice Round

Alex Nosevich, a reader and ad-agency partner in the Boston area, attended Monday’s practice round. Back in 2014, he described an October trip that he and a group of his friends had taken to Bethpage and Yale. This was his first trip to the Masters. His report:

The Masters and Augusta National are the Disney World of golf. Everything is perfect. There are few glimpses of any behind-the-scenes infrastructure. The one difference? All the employees and tournament workers seem genuinely happy and seem to want patrons to be genuinely happy as well.

Not to brag or anything, but as I walked by Zach Johnson’s caddie he said hi to me.

The players I saw were all business. Very few of them smiled or seemed to exchange pleasantries with each other. Well, one guy seemed to be having a great time: Tiger Woods was always smiling, even exchanging a fist bump with Fred Couples when they each knocked their shots on twelve to about three feet.

Rory outdrove D.J. by about ten yards on eight. D.J. must have hit his a groove too thin.

Rickie Fowler had a Tiger-in-his-prime following during his round.

The bathrooms are the unspoken highlight. There’s a greeter at the entrance who welcomes you to the Masters. There are two attendants inside who direct you to an empty stall, and they clean the toilet seat before the next patron enters.

The food is both highly overrated and highly underpriced. A chicken biscuit, a sausage biscuit, and a sweet tea (in a souvenir plastic cup) set me back eight dollars. And the biscuits were pretty good. An awesome deal. Lunch was also cheap—nine-fifty for the chicken sandwich, chips, and a Blue Moon ale—but the chicken sandwich was cold (should be warm) and pretty bland. Did not get to experience the pimento cheese sandwich. Hopefully I’ll win the ticket lottery next year and get to try it.

Augusta is not a very golfy town. It’s the capital of golf for one week per year, but, other than that, I don’t think most people there care very much about the game.

Two must-visit places to eat: Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar is an awesome fish shack/dive. Those with hygiene issues should probably eat outside. In fact, sit outside anyway. Had raw oysters (with plenty of horseradish) and a tasty catfish po’ boy.

The other place is the Whiskey Bar (Kitchen), in downtown Augusta. Huge selection of whiskey and heart-clogging burgers, plus my kind of vibe: hipster but not douchey. Loved the contrast during Masters week of seeing everyone wearing Titleist caps and polos in a place like that. Wore my Mr. Boh T-shirt and had more than a few Bawlmer folks chat me up.

The tournament workers are the friendliest, chattiest people ever. Talked with a few and it just made the experience that much more special. Even the security guards were helpful.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish with enough money, control, infrastructure and personnel.

Every building on the grounds is permanent. Not one tent in sight. No porta-potties. I think the grandstands and scoreboards and TV towers must be the only things that come down at the end of the event.

The hill along sixteen is one of the best spots to be during practice rounds. All the patrons chant for the players to skip their shots across the pond and onto the green, and all of them seem to oblige. Saw Tiger reach the green with his skipped shot.

Wish I could have had my phone to take pictures, but it’s nice to unplug for a few hours.

Lots of bird sounds, but no actual birds spotted. Creepy.

Thirteen is the greatest hole I have never played (and probably never will).

Amen Corner is everything it’s cracked up to be.

No celebrity sightings outside the ropes. Was hoping to catch a glimpse of Snoop Dogg at least. I did, however, run into some fellow Cyprian Keyes Golf Club members on twelve.

That approach into fifteen is scary.

Concessions and golf shop were incredibly efficient. In and out in no time.

The insane conditioning extends to the strip of grass between Berckmans Road and the sidewalks all around Augusta.

This is Rickie’s year for a green jacket. Trust me. I just won my March Madness pool, so I must know what I’m talking about. Right?

 

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