Let’s face it, the Masters is Disney World for golfers. Walk around Augusta National during tournament week and you’ll see the same unabashed happiness and gleeful smiles so prevalent at Mickey’s place in Orlando.
Whether it’s the grins you notice when first-timers see the circa 1970s concession prices or the “wow, look what I just scored” expression when people exit the merchandise store, you realize that while Disney World might be the happiest place on earth, Masters week is a close second. I’ve been lucky enough to experience the Land of the Mouse and the Land of the Green Jacket and here are some of the little happy things I enjoyed that often go unnoticed about the Masters experience.
1. Cameras Allowed on Practice Days
If you want a wide variety of pictures to document your experience, you certainly won’t be taking any shots of Tiger in his back swing on the back nine on Sunday. The good news is cameras are allowed on the Practice Round Days (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Everything is a lot less stressed and relaxed on these days and you have the opportunity to take all sorts of pictures that you can use to re-live your experience when you get back home. Click HERE for helpful list of Dos and Don’ts regarding cell phones, backpacks, lawn chairs, etc.
2. Free Picture In Front of the Clubhouse
It’s not advertised anywhere on the grounds, but you can get a complimentary picture in front of the storied clubhouse complete with the flowers in the shape of the Masters logo in the background. It’s easy, too. You get in line near the first hole of the short course, wait patiently (remember, too, never run to get in line) and you step up to the mark and look down towards Magnolia Lane and one of three photographers takes your picture. You pose, the picture is taken and the photographers gives you a small plastic card that allows you to retrieve you image later online.
3. Classic Umbrellas
I’m not sure why but I absolutely, positively love the timeless green and white umbrellas behind the clubhouse. They just remind me of a simpler time before smartphones and tablets. The people sitting under them always seem to be happy and contented carrying on actual conversations with others instead of scrolling their phone screens.
4. Egg Salad Sandwich
Yeah, yeah, the Pimento Sandwich gets all of the headlines, but my favorite is the Egg Salad Sandwich. First, you can hardly get them anymore as it has been banished somewhat as a 1950s relic sandwich choice. That said, the “Egg Sally” is made to perfection at the Masters. I’m not the only one that thinks so, either. Last year, Golf.com did a feature on the Top 16 concession items at the Masters and the Egg Salad Sandwich was rated No. 1 followed by the Classic Chicken and Pimento Cheese Sandwiches.
5. Hidden Concession Stands
Unlike most tournaments where the concession stands are in high-profile positions to sell you $10 beers and $8 hot dogs, the Masters is very discreet in placing their concession complexes in tree-lined areas away from the fairways. You won’t believe the prices, either. Think 1972! How about a: A Masters Club Sandwich for $2.50, Pimento Cheese Sandwich for $1.50, a domestic beer for $4.00 and Georgia Peach Ice Cream Sandwich for $2.00
6. Masters Coffee Mugs
Out of all the souvenir loot I scored at the Masters Merchandise complex, my favorite is the coffee cup which cost around 12 bucks. Why? Because every single morning I can savor my coffee or tea and be reminded of my favorite golf tournament and all the happiness I experienced there. It’s a phenomenal gift too with lots more staying power than a golf shirt or hat.
7. Orange Slices with Blue Moons
Think of all the money Masters organizers could save if they didn’t include an orange slice with your Blue Moon. But, then again, the Masters never, and I mean never, scrimps on anything. Like Disney, they do everything in the world to exceed expectations. There is a serving tray of oranges next to the “craft beer” tap and you make a simple request and “voila” you’ve got the quintessential Blue Moon beer experience. Best of all, it’s only $5 instead of the $9 to $12 you pay at most sports events (without the orange, too).
8. Moon Pies
When was the last time you had a Moon Pie? You can’t find them much anymore, but you’ll find this wondrous southern delicacy at the Masters. For first-timers, it consists of two round graham cracker cookies with marshmallow filling in the center and coated in chocolate. Wash it down with a Coca-Cola and you’ve got yourself a sugar high that’ll last all 18 holes.
9. Old School Leaderboard
Forget digital scoring, the traditional leaderboards are manually operated taking patrons (remember you’re not a fan, but a patron at Augusta National) back in time. There’s a main leaderboard near the clubhouse and eleven leaderboards set around the course, each listing the 10 lowest scorers at a given time.
10. Significant Signage
Since you won’t have your phone and you don’t want to take time deciphering the layout map in the Spectator guide, the Masters has simple and unique directional signs located throughout the course. They’re easy to follow and promote good traffic flow.