My earliest memories of Augusta National involve pimento cheese sandwiches, hole No. 6, and lots of sunscreen. I learned to love the game of golf by watching Phil and Tiger play Amen Corner, so I guess you could say it was inevitable.
The first thing about the Masters that makes an impression is the course— it’s absolutely stunning. Tucked smack in the middle of Augusta (otherwise a fairly unattractive place) is the world’s most perfect golf venue. The bright pink and white azaleas frame the green expanses of the course itself, and the grandstands blend into the huge Georgia pines. Also pollen. Lots of pollen.
The second thing about the Masters that makes an impression is that its patrons, employees and golfers are the nicest, friendliest people you’ll ever meet. It sounds cliché, but I promise it’s true. One of my favorite parts of the tournament is meeting the couples who have been coming for decades, who have their favorite spots and players. They’ve witnessed thousands of incredible shots, and they’ve got the stories to prove it.
As I got older, I learned that being in the red is good, not bad, and golf etiquette is never more highly respected than here. I think I got shushed fairly frequently, which is most likely why this particular point stuck. I learned that these guys make golf look like a breeze, and when I started playing, I learned that golf is the most frustrating game on the freakin planet.
The best way to see everything is to sit at one location, then stay for a while to watch the different pairings come through. I prefer the back nine, but the entire course is incredible. I’ve always had a soft spot for hole No. 6 because it’s a par 3, so little tiny me could watch the golfers play the entire hole, then get right up close to the green.
Amen Corner is by far the most beautiful section of the course, combined with the most drama. No. 13 is a prime spot for birdies, sometimes eagles, and it’s right next to a leader board. Nos. 15 and 16 are my other favorites, especially on Saturday and Sunday.
The Masters as a whole is surrounded by tradition, but Masters Sunday is a tradition all its own. The roars get more exciting, causing every head to turn to the leader board, waiting to see where it originated. Aside from the usual massive crowds following Woods, Mickelson, and now McIlroy and Spieth, the crowd gets bigger and bigger as the leaders close out the course. Say what you will, golf is exciting.
As much as I would have loved to watch Jordan Spieth take home that green jacket, I had to miss the Masters this year. But I’m a lucky girl, and I’ve got years of memories to go on. See ya next year, Augusta National. Save me a pimento cheese sandwich.