Friday, April 07, 2006
April 4th, a crisp 75 degrees and blue skies, 148 miles from Atlanta, a 2 hour search for a ticket, and $160 later, I found myself standing in Augusta National Golf Club at The 2006 Master’s practice round – and I couldn’t have been happier.
Augusta National is immaculate. Every blade of grass is perfectly green, perfectly cut, and perfectly soft. Everything was in bloom. I was amazed and instantly excited upon entering. You could feel there was something special about this place.
Not knowing the course at all, I decided to join the crowds and randomly mill around wherever they may take me. I eventually let my ears be my guide, and moved towards the most “oohs” and “ahhhs”. This eventually led me in the general direction of Amen Corner.
Over the course of the day (no pun intended), I found myself drawn time and time again to the nook right around 15’s green and hole 16 (Redbud).
16 is a par 3, with water spanning the entire distance between the tee box and the green. The hole is exceptionally fun during the practice round because after teeing off, the entire crowd starts to chant “SKIP, SKIP, SKIP”. Almost always, the player will acquiesce by walking down to the edge of the water and attempt to skip a few balls across it and onto the green. If successful, the crowd goes crazy.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience that I am still excited about and hope to repeat someday if I am so fortunate. So in the years to come, if anyone out there wants to get rid of their badge, look no further.
Update: Photos from my Masters experience here.