For most, there will only be one chance to attend the Masters, and this memory must last a lifetime. The hallowed greens of Augusta National Golf Club and the history of this place is rooted in tradition, and several of the greatest stories and comebacks in golf history occurred on these fairways. There is no doubt this is the reason the Masters is known as a “tradition unlike any other.”
The players who have graced these greens are legendary, and you will not want to miss a thing while you are there. Part of the allure of this course is not only witnessing the game of golf throughout the day, but of seeing where the history of golf was made. You may have watched these events unfold on your television, may have read about them in the papers or books, but witnessing the Masters in person is an experience like no other. This is undoubtedly one of the most fabled and mysterious courses. Since 1934 when the Masters first began here, it has been a sanctuary for the widely loved sport, golf. Now you are finally here, and I want to make sure you have the best knowledge for the premiere view.
Unlike most prestigious golf tournaments, this course does not feature a number of big grandstands at many different locations along the golf courses. The two biggest patron viewing areas are located to the left of No. 15 green and at the No. 11 green/ No. 12 tee area. There is another smaller patron viewing area at the No. 13 green/ No. 14 tee area. These grandstands fill up early with patrons. However, the tradition that is the most dominant and results in the closest, best view of the Masters is to bring or purchase your own collapsible sports chair. At the gate, you can bring in one chair per person. You can purchase the quintessential Masters green collapsible chair at the Masters merchandise building for around $30. This is a wonderful keepsake! The tournament prohibits folding armchairs and stiff chairs. Once, you are in the gates then you can place your chair near the green. You should do this as early in the day as possible so you can have the freedom to walk the course. When you return, your chair will be there, just as you left it. This is a prime example of Masters hospitality and the civility that is expected of all patrons once you enter the Augusta National grounds.
The co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club, Bobby Jones, offered his insight on the best places to watch the Masters Tournament. Though the course has gone through extensive renovations over its history, by as many as 10 golf architects, his suggestions as to the best places are still echoed by the current golf experts. I would be remiss to not list a few of his recommendations and add information of interest regarding these locations.
Spot No. 1: This is Amen Corner, where every golfer wants to be. It is the spot where so many pivotal moments have occurred throughout the years and placing your chair near Hole No. 12 is highly desirable. If you are fortunate enough to place your chair there, you will be able to see the opening shot and the entire 12th hole play. You will be also be able to see the opening shots to No. 11 and some of the shots of No. 13. It is of note, that there are leaderboards nearby for review. Also, there are restrooms and concessions up the hill between No. 11 and No. 13 fairway.
Spot No. 2: Who does not want to be there for the final shots of the tournament, especially if it is a close game in the end. Placing your chair at Hole No. 18 will allow you see the final plays of the game. Depending on your placement, you also may be able to see other holes prior to the final shots.
Spot No. 3: This is another great spot. Patrons can view the advance toward No. 3 hole and watch the initial shot on the No. 4 hole as the golfer tees off. Positioned correctly, you will be able to have a good view of both of these holes if you place your chair close to Hole No. 4. These can be pivotal holes for the tournament.
Spot No. 4: Placing your chair near Hole No. 16 provides you the ability to see the greens around the holes surrounding No. 6, No. 15, and No. 16. It is of note, if you prefer not to use a chair, you can place yourself high up in the patron viewing areas to the left of No. 15, then you will see almost all of No. 15, No. 16, much of No. 17, and even some of No. 6. There are restrooms and concessions close to this area as well.
Now that you have placed your chair in your chosen area, you will definitely want to walk the course and visit some of its most famous and special locations. The famous live oak tree is an amazing place to sit and “people-watch,” Ike’s pond is a tranquil, historic landmark, and Amen Corner is arguably one of the most renowned sites in golf history.
The giant, sprawling, live oak tree was planted in the 1850s and was likely imported from the coastal regions of Georgia. It is located behind the Augusta National clubhouse and is a nexus of activity. The first tee is near, and it allows you a scenic view up the fairway. This place is great for watching for everyone famous. This includes celebrities, golf pros, caddies, broadcasters, and many others. It is an amazing place to spend time and take in the course. Additionally, it is very close to the practice putting green area which allows the closest views.
Arguably, one of the most famous and best 3- hole stretch in all of golf is Amen Corner. The myriad of blooming colors–red, pink, and white azaleas overwhelm the senses and sweeten the air while the magnolias hover above to create this fairytale scene. The name Amen Corner was coined in 1958 by a Sports Illustrated writer, Herbert Warren Wind. During that year, much of the pivotal golf game occurred at these three holes. He named the second half of hole No. 11, hole No. 12, and the first half of hole No. 13 Amen Corner. The name was taken from Mildred Bailey’s jazz tune, “Shouting at Amen Corner.” The No. 12 hole has been the bane of many golfers at this tournament through the years including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth. “It’s the one hole I’ve played that demands absolute commitment mentally,” three-time major winner Nick Price has said, “Wind or not, if you don’t have that, you will pay serious consequences.” You do not want to miss walking this iconic part of the course.
Another equally famous area is the man-made pond on the No. 8 and No. 9 holes of the Par- 3 Course–Ike’s Pond. It is less known for the turmoil of golf but more for its patronage. Ike’s Pond was requested to be put in place by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was completed in 1949 and stocked with bass and bream. It was fished by President Eisenhower 29 times during his presidency and an additional 11 more visits afterward. He joined the club in 1948 and was a close friend of Masters Chairman Clifford Roberts. It remains an oasis of peace and looks much the same as it did over 70 years ago when it was a refuge for the president.
There are so many other areas where you can walk and see where history was made. Be sure to bring your most comfortable walking shoes and be aware that the elevation at points can be as much as 105- feet on a downhill trek. The hills, the challenging terrain, and the gorgeous flora make Augusta a jewel in the golfing world. However, it makes for a long day, so after walking the course you will be glad to return to the chair that you placed in the early morning to enjoy the rest of your day watching the golfers battle. Settle back in your chair and know there is no place like the Masters and no better place to be on this memorable day.