The Masters and Golfdom through the years

By |  April 5, 2022 0 Comments

Ever since the launch of the prestigious Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in 1934, Golfdom has brought its readers behind-the-scenes coverage. From interviews with an Augusta superintendent to pictures of some of history’s greatest golfers in action, Golfdom readers have enjoyed some of the most interesting stories Augusta National has to offer through the years.

Ahead of the 86th edition of the tournament, Golfdom, in partnership with Quali-Pro, looks back at the best Masters coverage from our 95-year history.


The April 1934 cover of Golfdom featured Bobby Jones dropping a birdie putt on No. 4
at Augusta National. Of note, the National Rifle Association’s logo appears inside the ‘G’
in Golfdom on the cover.

Quali-Pro will sponsor Golfdom’s annual “Meet up at the Masters” on Tuesday and Wednesday of the tournament, as well as our in-person coverage of the major. To learn more, visit our website or follow us on any of our social media channels. And we hope to see you in Augusta!

The first Masters

Golfdom had coverage of the first-ever Masters — then officially known as the Augusta National Invitational — in 1934.

Bobby Jones — one of the tournament’s co-founders — highlights that Golfdom cover. Jones also co-designed the course alongside Alister MacKenzie.

Jones, a lifelong Georgian, unretired to play in the inaugural tournament at the age of 32 following a successful career. Jones won four U.S. Open titles and three British Opens, taking home both championships in 1926 and 1930 before retiring from the game in 1930.

He finished the first Masters’ tournament tied for 13th at six-over-par, missing the $100 prize. Jones played in the first 12 tournaments before his declining health forced him to stop in 1948.

Horton Smith, the first-place finisher, shot four-under, earning $1,500. For reference, the winner of the 2021 Masters tournament, Hideki Matsuyama, took home more than $2 million.

Smith also won the tournament two years later, in 1936, becoming the first multi-winner.

Paul Runyan, who is in the foreground of the cover image watching Jones birdie the fourth hole, tied for third at two-under-par, earning $550.

The King in his kingdom


The May 1961 issue of Golfdom wrote about the growing TV effort at the Masters. The cover image was of a single camera tower looking over No. 16 green.

The May 1961 cover shows the two runners-up at the 1961 tournament, Arnold Palmer and Charlie Coe.

Both Coe and Palmer finished one stroke behind Gary Player, who picked up his first green jacket with an eight-under-par score. The ’61 Masters marked the 25th anniversary of the tournament.

The May 1961 issue of Golfdom highlighted the growing television coverage of the major.

“During the tournament, the electrical output of the equipment was enough to light all the homes in Augusta, a city of 80,000. Twelve cameras were trained on the play, and of these, nine were equipped with a new type of zoomer lenses, each valued at $9,500.”


The April 1975 issue of Golfdom highlights the work that goes on behind the scenes at Augusta. The issue features an interview with superintendent James “Bubba” Luke.

The number of cameras increased drastically in the six decades since that tournament. At the 2021 Masters, CBS had 110 cameras covering the action at Augusta, with ESPN adding to that number with its 3D cameras that added depth to the broadcast.

What makes the Masters green?

In 1975 Golfdom spoke with Augusta superintendent James “Bubba” Luke about how he dealt with the pressure of leading the course that hosts the Masters.

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t more pressure here than at other courses,” he said. “I’m not trying to sound boastful or anything. The fact is that we have more problems here because of the Masters. Some things have to be done differently because of the Masters; it comes down to having the course better manicured than most. Hadley (Plemmons) and I don’t have anything on most superintendents, we don’t do anything most superintendents couldn’t do, but our standards have to be a little higher because of the Masters.”

Luke details his routine in the conversation with Golfdom, saying, “If a superintendent does not run soil samples, there is no way he can tell by looking the shape his turf is in.”

The 1975 Masters marked the first year the course featured its iconic white bunkers, filled with spruce pine sand. Luke told Golfdom that at that point in the history of the course, crews still hand raked Augusta’s 44 bunkers and that he had just begun experimenting with an electric rake.

He also called the bunkers “one of the most expensive areas of the course.”

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About the Author: Rob DiFranco

Rob DiFranco is Golfdom's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Golfdom, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

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