Sunday, April 11, 2010

Augusta for the Masters on Saturday ~ Congratulations today to Phil Mickelson

I went to the Masters on Saturday and watched all the pairs, from my seat 2 rows back by the green on the 2nd hole.  Ok - I'll admit it.  I snoozed for a few of the pairs because I was tired, comfortable, and yes - I'll reiterate, I was tired!

I was so close to the action that Australian, Nathan Green hit the ball, and it almost hit me (i.e. landed 1 foot away from my chair).  This reminded me of the only other golf tournament I have attended (i.e. at Akron Firestone) where David Duval almost hit me with a golf ball also.  He was paired up with Tiger that year, and my cousin had taken me with her to the event.  Fun times and a bit coincidental, but I'm "lucky" like that.

There are so many thoughts running through my mind...  My first trip to Augusta was truly memorable and there are many impressions that I need to share with you all.

OK - here we go with my updates:
  • My friend and I drove from Atlanta to Augusta on Saturday morning.  I think Google has the distance between the two cities pegged as 130 miles.  We left close to 5AM and arrived in Augusta a little after 7AM.  I noticed that there were people everywhere selling lanyards and looking for badges to buy.
  • Augusta National offers free parking or you can pay to park on the main street in one of the strip malls etc. for about $20 (i.e. if you want to make a quicker get away after the tournament and avoid the parking lot wait). 
  • After picking up the badges, we went straight to the entrance of Augusta National to take pictures in front of the Masters signage.  Since you can't bring you cameras or electronic devices into the event, this is the best individuals can do.
    • Actually, I think there may be spots where you can have your photo taken along the course, but unfortunately, I never investigated this. 
  • In order to get into Augusta National you have to be screened (i.e. think TSA security at the airport, complete with metal detector).  **** This made me chuckle a bit, since I've had an easier time getting into a Hip-Hop concert.  Just saying.  You can keep your shoes on, but all metal objects went into a tray and through the scanner.
  • I chose not to bring a purse, since I wasn't sure if my purse was "regulation size".  I heard that there's a sizer that they use.  Once again, think "airport", but smaller size specifications, of course.  I recommend wearing cargo pants or shorts w/pockets.  I put my credit cards, driver's license, and lipstick in my pockets, and I was ready to go.
  • First stop was the gift shop.  My friend informed me on the drive down to Augusta, that Masters merchandise can only be purchased at the event.  She told me that if I saw something I liked, I should buy it.  Sound advice.
    • I bought items for myself, my brother, and my dad.  Sorry, mom ~ I saw nothing you'd like.
    • Prices were reasonable.  $17 for a driver cover, $24 a hat, $11 golf ball sleeve, etc.  The best item I recommend anyone purchase is a folding chair, and the one in the gift shop is under light, ready to travel, can be slung over your shoulder, and costs less than $30.  ****I guess this will be a test to see if my family reads my blog considering I just gave away some of the gift prices.
    • Augusta National offers patrons the ability to ship their purchases home and also provides the opportunity for patrons to "check their items" (i.e. hold items for patrons) during the event. 
      • I shipped all of my items for $14.  This is an excellent feature and much cheaper than checking all my souvenirs as luggage or carrying all the gear back on the plane.
      • The line for checked items (i.e. held during the tournament) was ridiculously long at the end of the day.  I HIGHLY recommend that you run your merchandise back to your car if you don't want to carry it around all day.  Don't waste time in this line at the end of the night, since you're allowed to leave and come back into the tournament, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE YOUR BADGE.
  • Food and drink is inexpensive and there are various locations for concessions throughout the course.
    • Pricing is surprisingly reasonable.  $1.50 for a tuna sandwich, $2.50 for a club sandwich etc.  No sandwich was priced over $3.00.  Beers are available.  Domestic beers are $2.75 and imports are $3.25.  Yes, you read that correctly.
      • People rave about the pimento cheese sandwich.  I didn't try it, but just in case anyone cares ~ I overheard someone in the crowd say that the secret ingredient is "cream".  Take that for what you will.
      • I only went in line for food once.  My friend took care of the other times.  The line I was in was "cash only".  I'm not sure if there are other lines that take credit, but wanted to make sure people knew ahead of time to carry cash, just in case.
        • ATMs are available on the course.
  • Since we arrived so early, we conveniently parked our chairs in the 2nd row on the 2nd hole, near the green.  This was an excellent vantage point where I could see all the pairs come through and then "relocate" to another hole.
    • OK - I admit.  I didn't see ALL the pairs.  I was tired and threw my sunglasses on and snoozed for 3 or 4 of the pairings.  Trust me ~ I wasn't the only one knocked out during the day.
  • If you get there early and want to walk around and you have a chair, you can be confident that your chair will be there when you return.  No one will remove it or sit in it.  Golf patrons are polite.  2 chairs were empty near me for over 2 hours and people respected their positions.
    • You're only allowed to bring one chair in with you when you enter Augusta National.  However, you could buy another chair at the tournament if you wanted to set up shop at another hole. 
  • Dress in layers.  It was chilly in the morning, but the sun came out and it was outright hot in the afternoon.
  • If you burn, wear sunscreen.  If you normally don't burn, wear sunscreen also.  My poor nose is burnt!
  • After all the pairs played the 2nd hole, we moved our chairs to near the fairway of the 17th hole.  I believe this was around 3PM.
    • From the 17th hole, I was located near the 7th and the 8th hole so I could watch those holes also (i.e. by getting up and walking over).
    • When Tiger was approaching the 7th, one of the men working to change the leader board scores tapped my shoulder and asked if I wanted to go to that hole and watch since he had a chair set up.  Of course I did, so he walked me over and gave me the seat.  Later he brought me a bottle of water.  Nice guy.
      • Actually all the people working the Masters are very nice.  This event was the most similar to the experience at the Dallas Cowboys New Stadium.  Augusta National is similar to the Disney experience ~ clean environment with polite and professional people working.
  • I'm not a golfer or really a golf fan, but I learned what a 3-putt was after watching Tiger.
  • I thought it was wonderful to see the ovation that Fred Couples received from the crowd.
    • After the final pair finished on the 17th hole, we left the event and headed for the parking lot.
    • When my friend went to return the badges, I took a nap in the car.
      • While napping in the car, my friend called to say that he was hanging out with John Daly.  Seriously?!?!  How long was I asleep?!?!?
        • John Daly was selling items.  For $5 he'd autograph a golf ball, etc.  I'm working on getting the picture from my friend for this post. 
    • LADIES:  If you're single, go to the Masters.  Men are EVERYWHERE.  Just saying...
      Great day on the golf course and my first time at the Masters was AMAZING!  Next year, I'm hitting a practice day so I can take pictures.  That's my only regret of the week.

      Congratulations to Phil Mickelson on his victory today!

      Strict no camera policy ~ so this is the best I could do

      THE WIRK

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