Travelogue: 2018 Masters

By |  April 6, 2018 0 Comments

Jones and Golfdom Publisher Craig MacGregor convene in front of one of the Masters scoreboards.

I missed the Masters last year, electing to take in the first Major of the year, the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration in 2017. So this was my first time getting to Augusta National in more than 700 days.

I forgot how much I missed it, so much so that I couldn’t sleep the night before, nervous I was going to leave my one-day pass behind or commit some other mistake that would keep me off the grounds.

About a week ago I put out the call on Twitter and Facebook that Golfdom would be back at the Masters… who was coming with us? Sure enough, we got a lot of responses. We would only be on the golf course on Wednesday, so that prevented us from catching up with a lot of friends who would be there earlier or later in the week. And yet at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, at a meeting point we declared only that morning, we had about 25 Friends of Golfdom (FOG) show up to say hello. We got photos of most everyone.

And I remembered why this is such a great trip each year. And yes, we’ll do it all again next year. Make plans to see us there.

The Wednesday round started off with ominous skies, but after only a few sprinkles we remained dry all day. The clouds went away and by that afternoon it was sunny, mild, a perfect day to be at Augusta National and kick off another golf season.

In all we broke bread with six different Golfdom advertisers (you know Golfdom wouldn’t exist without them!) and 20-plus superintendents from Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Yes, a few connections were missed (Andy and Rafael, next time!) but for the most part we got where we needed to be and picked up a few ideas here and there. I didn’t get as many maintenance photos as I would have liked to for two reasons: 1.) the train of fairway mowers didn’t come out to play while I was there and 2.) we had to take off in time to get changed for the annual Golf Writers Association of America dinner.

The Golf Writers dinner was again a great treat… good to see some old friends like Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press and Brandon Haddock of Textron Specialized Vehicles. Somehow our table was right next to Dan Jenkins’ and Herb Kohler’s, so that made for some interesting people watching.

We took off from there and I met up one last time with Tyler Otero and Russ Harris, my Jersey friends. We talked a little industry gossip, then shut it down. Everyone was exhausted from a full day on the golf course. It occurs to me that we’re finally getting older and those late nights in Augusta just aren’t as frequent as they used to be. Probably a good thing.

The next morning it took me a minute to try to understand why my legs were so sore… Oh yeah, I must have walked up No. 18 three different times. That hill is a killer!

Back on I-20 and to the airport. Back in Kansas in time to have dinner with my family. Turn on the TV and watch the coverage and point out certain areas of the golf course to my son. Hopefully someday I can take him with me.

Thank you to Augusta National for granting this humble member of the Golf Writers Association of America a one-day pass every year. This tradition continues to be an honor, and I hope it lasts a very long time.

Bring on the 2018 golf season!

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