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The (Golf) Holy Land: My Masters week at Augusta National Golf Club

By Chelsea Kalt

A little more than a week ago, I made the dream pilgrimage of golf fanatics. For the very first time, I attended The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. 

I’m living proof that the Masters lottery isn’t a hoax and that real people can win. July 25, 2023 I checked my account as a way to stall my Monday morning, and instead of a rejection notice I was prompted to click on “continue to tickets.” I’ll never forget the shock and astonishment I felt. My hands were shaking. My brother-in-law Andrew and I still laugh to this day about my phone call I made to him that Monday morning saying, “are you free April 11th? We’re going to the Masters!” 

Even before I was a real golf fan, the Masters (at least on Sunday) was always on TV in my house growing up. I knew then that it was a big deal. The Masters signified the beginning of spring for us in the Northeast. So when I approached the first hole I thought to myself, “is this the same feeling critics experience when they walk into the museum and see Michelangelo’s The David for the first time?” Here I was face to face (sneakers to ground?) of the holy land of golf: The Masters week at Augusta National Golf Club. 

So what were my initial reactions after passing through security via the North Gate? Well not a blade of glass stood in the wrong direction. It was hillier in person, but everyone warned me of that. Being present, without my cell phone in my bag, was incredibly freeing. And woah, is that the 18th green? It looks way smaller in person compared to the CBS broadcast. I have a newfound appreciation for players who get on the green in two. 

I’m still surprised at how many green jackets were in close proximity to me. I assumed they’d be located in a different, unattainable section of the course throughout the week. I’m still thinking about the concession experience of all the snacks displayed like a grocery aisle and the poured beverages displayed to grab what you want. Why don’t more sporting events follow this model? And the volume of volunteers was greater than the average sporting or concert event. The volunteers truly want to help you find your way and want to make your Masters experience a memorable one. 

I’d say most, if not all, people are incredibly happy to be at the Masters. However, I predict not having your phone in your pocket or handbag made patrons friendlier and more willing to engage in conversations with strangers. The shared happiness and camaraderie within the crowd is contagious. It’s a reminder to me that the Masters is in a league of its own. It’s hard not to chit chat next to the person standing or sitting next to you. 

Speaking of sitting, the only time I sat down was in my designated Masters chair, which we planted alongside the rope of 14 tee overlooking the 13th green. I loved the vantage point of seeing players either lay up or their approach shots landing on, or short of the green. Based on where I was seated, I didn’t know whose shot belonged to which player, which made it all the more exciting. If you, my friend, dear reader, find yourself stuck deciding on a place to park your chairs, I highly endorse this location. 

Now let’s revisit the concessions and get down to the snacks. 

Due to the weather delay on Thursday, they did not serve breakfast at the Masters (may this be the biggest problem of my day). I ate an obligatory pimento cheese sandwich, a chicken sandwich, the peach ice cream, a moonpie (Andrew’s favorite) and a bag of chips. To kick off the morning I had a black coffee and then I dabbled in one Crows Nest (dear I say it’s a Blue Moon) and a couple of domestic light beers (possibly Miller Lights?). Yes, the concession prices are true to what you see on social media. Inflation has not penetrated the Masters and my favorite bite was the chicken sandwich. 

From the merchandise shop I bought more hats than days of the week, Masters needlepoint coasters, a few pullovers, and a t-shirt the TikTokers are calling “The Eras Tour” shirt. I brought my chair and umbrella home with me, and intend to get the 2024 Masters flag framed later this month. I think my MVP item is the floral masters mug. She’s perfect. 

From the moment the ball dropped in Times Square, I kid you not, I thought about attending the Masters every single day of this year. I still can’t believe it happened and that I’m able to summarize the experience. My mom, and my therapist (though two different people) reminded me about the scarcity of this event. It’s not like the Super Bowl where you could just “buy” a ticket online. Andrew gave me a little jab to my side when we were seated in our chairs, “how lucky are we?!” and my eyes welled up underneath my sunglasses. 

There’s a designated area, similar to the phone booths, where patrons can submit Masters feedback. We ignored the station as we had absolutely no complaints. 

Everyone who appreciates golf deserves this opportunity. So take it from me and enter the lottery.  I’m so lucky to have experienced the Masters, and damn, I hope it’s not my last!


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