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The Gift of Augusta

By |  April 10, 2019 0 Comments

While so many golf fans enjoy the tournament from afar, one longtime Masters attendee brings Augusta National to them.

Photo: Golfdom staff

Photo: Golfdom staff

The 2019 Masters Tournament will mark 61 consecutive years of attending the Masters for Lou Miller.

“The first one I went to was 1958, the first year Arnold Palmer won,” recalls Miller. “I started out as a private in Arnie’s Army … over the years I eventually finished as a lieutenant colonel. After that first tournament, I probably saw 90 percent of Arnie’s shots at the Masters.”

Miller has lived an interesting golf life beyond his days following Palmer at Augusta National. He started out as an assistant professional 40-some years ago at Glen Arven CC, in Thomasville, Ga. He worked for four years as director of golf at Johns Island Club in Vero Beach, Fla. In the mid-70s, he became director of golf at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort. He is currently owner and president of Old Edwards Club in Highlands, N.C.

Miller, now 74, stays in tiptop condition himself, walking up to 28,000 steps per day at Augusta National. And sure, he’s teed it up at Augusta National a couple times along the way.


The 2019 Masters marks Lou Miller’s, now 74, 61 consecutive years at the tournament. Photo provided by Lou Miller

“I first played it when I was still in high school,” Miller recalls. “The superintendent at Augusta National at the time was from our county, so he got us on. We played with no pins, but we still felt like we were playing in the Masters.”

Miller has seen superintendents come and go. He even hired a former Augusta National superintendent once, he says.

“It’s incredible, the modern superintendent of today is a multifaceted person,” Miller says, clearly impressed with the advancements of the profession. “When (Gary) Player won in 1978, the greens (at Augusta National) were covered in Poa annua. The new modern grass growers are a totally different make and model (than) the superintendents of the past.”

Miller says he has no one favorite thing about attending the Masters each year. He rattles off the ambiance of Augusta National, the roars on the course when a player starts making a charge, the respect, the tradition, the history so prevalent there.

He’s also made a little of his own history at the course. Every year, Miller takes a first-timer with him to the Masters. To those who have gotten the tour from Miller, this is a tradition like no other.

This year, he’s taking two first-timers, one as the result of a letter he received from a woman describing her husband’s struggles with Parkinson’s disease. (The thought of the letter still chokes up Miller.) The other first-timer, Carlos Rodriguez, is the assistant superintendent at Old Edwards Club.

“He’s a good player, and he loves golf,” Miller says. “He went to a (professional tournament), and now he thinks he knows what the best is. There’s nothing like walking Amen Corner; there’s nothing like a ham and cheese on rye at Augusta. So, I’m going to take him there so he can see the best and smell it and taste it.”

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