The US Masters is one of the four championship events in professional golf. A prestigious event and the highlight of most professional golfers’ careers, the Masters is an experience deeply-rooted in history and tradition. It is the first of the major events to be held in the year, slated every first full week of April and held at the same place in Augusta, Georgia.
Since opening in 1933, the Augusta National Golf Club has served as the venue for the US Masters. Formerly an indigo plantation until the year 1857 (and a plant nursery immediately afterward), the property now boasts of tall, towering pine trees and beautiful dogwoods and azaleas that serve as a backdrop to the event. Some of the pines on the property are well over 150 years old, dating back to its plantation days. It is also recorded to hold almost three dozen varieties of azaleas.
The idea to lay down the foundations of what would later become the Augusta National Golf Club came from Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Jones, a celebrated golfing champion in his own right, who retired early in 1930. Determined to fulfil his dream of building a golf course of his own, he (along with Roberts) bought the property for a meagre $70,000.
Aside from being the most recognisable golf course in the world, the Augusta National Golf Club offers some of the toughest holes in the game. The best-known are the front nine, all of which are named after trees and shrubs significant to their area.
There are a total of 18 holes in this course:
- Tea Olive
- Pink Dogwood
- Flowering Peach
- Flowering Crab Apple
- Yellow Jasmine
- Carolina Cherry
- White Dogwood
- Golden Bell
- Chinese Fir
- The Augusta National has yet to be given a rating by the United States Golf Association. Is it because of its particular difficulty? Not necessarily (though the course does boast of some exceptionally difficult holes). The real reason is simply because of membership and its exclusivity.
- Due to a lack of an official rating, Golf Digest asked Dean Knuth, the creator of the rating system and former USGA senior director, to rate the course. He gave Augusta National a 78.1 and slope of 137.
- The official list of members of the Augusta National is a well-kept secret. They are assumed to number in the hundreds, but this cannot be verified. To be a member, one has to be invited by a current member and under the consensus of the whole. Upon acceptance, members are given a green sports coat embroidered with the logo of the club on the left breast. Some very notable members include:
- Warren Buffet
- Bill Gates
- Pete Coors
- Hugh L. McColl Jr.
- Roger Goodell
- The attendance of the US Masters is another tightly kept secret. As a result of this, the actual number of admitted spectators dips and spikes year by year, with the only constant being high price of tickets and that they are always hard to come by
- The US Masters also holds one of the highest viewing records of any golfing event. CBS, Augusta National’s chosen partner since 1956, is under strict guidelines when it comes to broadcasting. They use fixed high definition and wired handheld cameras, as well as state-of-the-art streaming equipment.
A fun fact: the US Masters boasts the shortest commercial breaks at 4 minutes per hour, but remedies that with exclusive partnership packages of up to three sponsors, with the most recent including BMW, Mercedes, and AT&T.
- Augusta National looks much better in person. Viewing it on a screen can only show so much (though what it does show is pleasing to the eye. There may be details one might miss, like how alive everything is, and the way the slopes curve ever so gently. No video or picture can give justice to how beautiful the course truly is.
Want to learn more about the US Masters?
Download our ‘Everything you need to know about the US Masters guide’ which features:
- The Greats – Prominent characters in the history of golf.
- Augusta National – The Course
- The Weather – what to expect
- The Tickets – warnings about buying and questions you should ask before purchasing to ensure yours is real!
- The Autograph Policy
The Traditions: The Amen Corner, The Green Jacket, and the Pimento Cheese Sandwich!
Download Our US Masters Guide