The Masters 2019: An experience unlike any other

By |  April 15, 2019 0 Comments

When we got kicked off of the course at Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC) during Tuesday morning’s practice rounds for the Masters due to approaching storms, I was a little bummed (though I did have fun texting a few people and telling them I’d been evicted for violating one of ANGC’s many rules). However, I had already eaten an egg salad sandwich and gotten a glimpse of the grounds at ANGC. So, even if my experience at the Masters had ended there, I knew I had seen more than most people will ever get to in their lives.

Luckily though, that was not the end.

The weather cleared and when we made our way back to the course it was sunny, hot and humid and I was able to see the course in the full glory of ANGC on a spring afternoon in Georgia. By the time we returned, several golfers made their way out onto the course and the practice greens. I saw Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau and Vijay Singh all on the same green. What a nice reward after a somewhat disappointing rain delay!

Yet it dawned on me as I walked the course that afternoon that the most important player in the Masters — at least in my mind — is probably the course itself. Of course without the golfers the tournament wouldn’t happen, but if the course weren’t in the condition that it’s in, the spectacle and prestige would certainly be diminished.

And there are so many unsung heroes responsible for keeping the turf that way. As the daughter of a former golf course superintendent, I’d like to think I have at least a small understanding of the effort that the men and women on the maintenance crews of ANGC must put in to keep the course so pristine.

My great-grandma Jo used to watch the Masters every year just to see how beautiful the course was. Photo: Seth Jones

My great-grandma Jo used to watch the Masters every year just to see how beautiful the course was. Photo: Seth Jones

There is something indescribable about seeing a golf course as well-tended as ANGC. I can’t help but think that even someone who’s not a fan of golf would have to appreciate the work that goes into maintaining a course at such a high level.

My great-grandmother used to watch the Masters every year, not because she cared a whole lot about the game — at least I don’t remember her being an avid golf fan — but because she loved to see the course itself. After spending her winters in northern Michigan, she loved to catch a glimpse of some green grass and ANGC is about as green as it gets.

Yes, thousands flock to ANGC to see the world’s most elite golfers, but we also go to appreciate how practically perfect the course itself is. It is certainly something I found myself appreciating on that Tuesday afternoon. If so many big names in the game were playing on a crummy course, it would still be thrilling to see, but it certainly wouldn’t be the same.

It’s hard not to be truly appreciative of the people maintaining the turf at ANGC, because in a way they have given us that little slice of beauty. They’re the reason my great-grandma Jo tuned in every April. And — though standing 10 yards from Jordan Spieth was pretty great, and being in the same room as Brooks Koepka at the Golf Writers Association of America awards dinner was neat — the work they’ve done is certainly the reason I would go back to ANGC any day of the year.

The food: A sidenote

The peach ice cream sandwich had to be my favorite culinary treat from the Masters. Photo: Seth Jones

The peach ice cream sandwich had to be my favorite culinary treat from the Masters. Photo: Seth Jones

And then there’s the food at ANGC, which I have been told I have to discuss because, as our Senior Editor Abby Hart puts it I am “one of the most food oriented people she knows.”

That said, it isn’t really a huge surprise that when I found out the food at the Masters was in and of itself an experience on par (see what I did there?) with the golf being played, I made it my goal to try what I could. And sandwiches seemed to be the theme: egg salad, pimento cheese and Georgia peach ice cream, which was at the top of the list.

I don’t typically like egg salad and I love cheese, so the fact that I liked the egg salad sandwich better than the pimento cheese really says a lot (especially since I didn’t hate the pimento cheese one bit).

But it was the peach ice cream sandwich that really took the cake for me. I actually teared up while I was eating that one. Ice cream sandwiches were a favorite treat of my grandfather (this is becoming a bit of a sentimental romp for me), who bought them for us whenever we attended a sporting event with him. And as he would have put it, the sandwich was “darn good.”

In fact, that’s probably a good way to sum up my entire experience at the Masters. Once the rain cleared, I got to see some world-class golf, see some of the best turf in the business and eat some delicious (and cheap!) food. It was pretty darn good.

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