Last year was my first ever trip to Augusta and the Masters. I can admit that until recently I didn’t really understand just how different the Masters is from every other sporting event in America, perhaps the world. A few days in Augusta in 2018 and it was all clear just how this tournament was
This time around we had an altogether different experience than last year —although we went to the same Waffle House and sat in the same booth— because we attended the tournament on a practice round day, not during competition. You could feel the difference in the crowd. Everyone was as respectful as one would expect on the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club, but things were a bit more relaxed. The players showed this in their own ways —the tradition of skipping balls off of the pond on number 16, joking with patrons on the tee boxes— the patrons did as well.
One big thing about Monday at the Masters was the ability for patrons to bring cameras and take photos. This means real cameras and not iPhones. Like every other time at ANGC, phones are not permitted on the course, ever. One can’t emphasize just how great it is to be in a phone-free environment. Oh my gosh, you can actually see what is happening. No one is walking and staring at their phone. No one is having annoying private conversations in public. I don’t cringe for the people filming the players. NO SELFIES. I could go on and one about how great this is as a patron. The one downside is the fact that you need to set up a pre-arranged meeting place should you get separated. We failed on this and it came into play during a thunderstorm late in the day. (That’s a story for another day.)
Instead of bringing my big DSLR (which I loathe traveling with at this point. I need to make the move to mirrorless.) I went low-tech and took advantage of the relaxed photo policy to shoot the Masters on film with my Yashica T4. I didn’t put much thought into this going into things. In hindsight, I should have brought one type of film (I shot on some Fuji and a more colorful Kodak 400) and I should have brought more film altogether. Having only 50 or so shots made me really think about composition — which is sort of a good thing too. But it certainly didn’t provide much flexibility. I just figured that I either got something good or I didn’t. That’s perhaps the beauty of film.
There’s a lot of well-publicized things about The Masters that you probably already know. There’s practically no branding out there. The food is super inexpensive and sold at what basically seems to be at cost. The merch is extensive and also not egregiously marked-up and finally, the parking is free. This is basically the opposite of every other tournament and basically all sporting events. It really shines a light on the fact that the golf competition is above all else. If you like pure golf, this is the place for you.
My pal and ACL contributor David Coggins got a chance to go on the
The really interesting thing about The Masters is that you don’t need to be a golf nut to enjoy it. Even the most casual fans would find much to like about the experience. Partially because it is just so unique for this day and age, but also because the place is just so beautiful and pure. If you get an opportunity to visit Augusta, definitely do it. We’ve resigned to make our way to The Masters every chance we can. If only for the chicken biscuits and the beautiful flowers.