Like many people, I have watched the Masters on TV since I was a kid, and to attend myself and witness the event firsthand had always been a lifelong dream.
Augusta National; Golf’s Mecca and one of the world’s most exclusive golf clubs… and after all these years of longing, I couldn’t wait to walk down Magnolia Lane and get inside the gates and sense for myself the aura and history. The anticipation was amazing. Masters tickets are some of the most coveted and difficult tickets in all of sport to procure, and after all these years, I was finally going to be there, at the Masters!
Inside the gates and my first view of Augusta National’s green pastures; a place where traditions and the integrity of the game are zealously guarded, a place steeped in history and all I can think is….it’s hilly! The drop from the first tee to the green is 176ft! The greens have so much slope! There is nothing natural about The Masters, or Augusta National. The course is flawless. There areno bugs and there are no animals, despite all the bird tweeting you hear on the telecasts. There are no dead leaves, no bare patches of dirt poking through the grass, no weeds. The brilliant white bunkers are raked to perfection, meticulously manicured gardens, maintained by an army of attendants on the hallowed turf. When the players tee off this army of attendants descend to pick up broken tees, fill the divots and tidy up any leaves that may have dropped…..when a group moves off from a green this army descends again to pick up the pine needles that the trees have dropped! It’s out of this world.
For 3 days I followed the Aussie golfers. On some of the holes, you can get very close to them and some of the Aussies loved having us following them around, barracking and encouraging them. The crowd noise is amazing. You can hear roars going up as one golfer or another sinks an unsinkable putt. The excitement is palpable. I found a great spot alongside the 15th green and next to the 16th tee. It’s a spot where you can see both holes, and a favourite that I returned to several times over my 3 days at the Masters.
Everyone now knows the history of the 2015 US Masters, Speith tied Tiger’s record and won US$1.8 million to become 2015’s green jacket recipient. It was a well-deserved victory, and he seemed like a hardworking and justified champion.
For me, words can’t truly express the feeling I carried with me as I left Augusta National on that Sunday. There was a real buzz amongst the rest of the group, who were all full of stories on the way back to the hotels in Aiken, but it was hard for any of us to put into words how it felt to have finally achieved a lifelong dream.
That night, as every night that week, the restaurants and streets of Aiken were full and the buzz and atmosphere was similar to Sydney during the Olympic Games.
It’s been a week that I had been looking forward to for most of my adult life, and even though I had high expectations, it’s been a trip that well and truly lived up to them. The memories and the experiences are something I can re-live over and over again as I watch future Masters Tournaments from my lounge chair, telling anyone who will listen, about the time I was at the US Masters.
Ian Forsyth – 2015 US Masters Tour Attendee