You’ve scrapped and clawed your way to the most elusive ticket in sports, and you’re on your way to the Augusta National Golf Club for the 2014 Masters.
This may be your first day trip to golf’s Holy Grail, or it may be an annual tradition. Either way, I’m here to share my misadventures of pimento cheese gluttony and triumphs of executing the perfect day at golf’s perfect place.
If you aren’t attending this year’s event, stash this away for happier times. In all seriousness, go register for the 2015 Masters ticket lottery on masters.com. If you hit the jackpot and are granted practice round or tournament tickets, you’re in for an experience of a lifetime.
Then, the journey of Augusta National execution begins. Here are some tips from someone who takes great pride in these sorts of things:
1. Wear sunscreen. Don’t let the elation of magnificent beauty blind you from life’s essentials. Every year, a few lobsters roam the course in the late afternoon. You don’t want to be one of them.
2. Don’t walk too much early. It’s a bucket list experience, and one you may have waited a lifetime to see. I get it. But even though it feels like a dream, it’s actually reality, and most of us don’t power-walk up hills in the pounding sun for nine hours every day. Find a cozy spot under a tree, behind a green or even around the practice range. Your legs will thank you in the afternoon.
3. Amen and Amen (Corner). There’s beauty, and then there’s Amen Corner. Don’t miss it. It’s nestled near the back of the course, but it’s a breathtaking experience that television fails to conquer.
4. Study up. Phil Mickelson always attributes Augusta National’s unparalleled appeal to the fact that history is made every year on the same course. Remember Phil’s tree-splitting 5-iron on 13 in 2010? You can stand where he did. Remember Bubba Watson’s other-worldly hook shot on the 10th to win in 2012? There’s often a makeshift shrine at the spot from the gallery trying to recreate it. It’s a living museum of golf history. Enjoy it.
5. Bring your shopping list. You’ve won your experience, but your enjoyment comes at a price. Everyone else in your life wants some Masters gear, and unlike everything else in the world, it’s not readily available on Amazon. So wait until late in the day – you don’t want to be carrying giant plastic bags around all day – and then splurge like you just won the green jacket. It will make your return to reality a celebrated occasion.
One more thing – there’s no such thing as pimento cheese gluttony. Eat your heart out.
Vince Johnson is covering The Masters for Morris Multimedia for the sixth year – or the 36th day. You can follow his coverage on Twitter @vincejohnson.