Thursday, April 10, 2014

Five Tips for Attending the Masters

Other than the time change (which everyone hates) The Masters is one of the heralds of Spring. The pollen has dropped, the flowers and trees are budding, the weather is finally warming up, and golf's best gather in Augusta to test their skills. I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend the tournament, so I thought I would share five tips for those of you who may be attending for the first time.

1. Go on Thursday or Friday: If it's your first time, (and you have a choice) try to go on Thursday or Friday. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Sunday is the best day to go. Well you'd be wrong. First of all, if you go on Thursday or Friday, you get to see the whole field before they cut people. This will allow you to see a lot of the older players and former champions who won't be around for the weekend. Also, I know this sounds dumb, but you can see the end on Sunday better on television. Finally, if you want to buy all sorts of Masters stuff, going on the first two days is better because the shops are sold out of the good stuff by Saturday.

2. Dress for a Sporting Event: You're not going to a cocktail party, ladies. So leave those high heel shoes at home. You're going to be doing a lot of walking, and the course is much hillier than it looks on television. Also, the grass is really low, and in the morning it's slippery. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a young lady in a white dress fall down and get muddy because she wore some slippery shoes. You don't want to be that girl.

Your ideal shoe should be a golf shoe, because it will have spikes. Failing that, wear something that you are comfortable walking around in all day. Again, it's a sporting event, not a cocktail party. Guys, same goes for you. You're going to look silly wearing a tie. Bring sunscreen and a hat.

3. Leave Your Electronics in the Car: This is probably the most important rule because it's something that can get you in trouble.Yes, it will be hard for you to part with your iPhone for an entire day, but you can do it.  The folks at the gate are going to check your bag, but even if you somehow got your phone in, you're going to get in big trouble if it rings, or pings, or does anything that attracts attention. What kind of trouble?

Well, those spiffy badges that you have will be taken away (and since this is your first time, they're probably not yours, are they?). You will be escorted off the grounds, and those badges could possibly be permanently cancelled for the owner, which is going to land you in hot water with whomever gave you the badges to begin with. You want to try explaining that one? Just don't do it. Enjoy the day in the beautiful surroundings without looking at a little screen.

4. See the whole place: Get there as early as you can. Do your shopping (if that's your thing) first, and then use the bag check so you don't have to carry everything around all day. Did you wear the right shoes? Good. You can then walk the entire course to get a feel for the place. About that time, the first groups should be going off the front. You can choose to follow a group or sit on a particular hole. It just depends on how ambitious you feel, but if it's your first time, don't just hunker down on Amen Corner because you've seen it on television. There's much more to the course.

5. Put your chair down early, and observe seating etiquette: You can bring in collapsible chairs that don't have arm rests. Definitely do this. When you get there in the morning, go put your chair down somewhere and leave it there. Yes, it will be safe. No one is going to mess with it. Also, don't mess with other people's chairs. In the morning, you'll see tons of empty chairs placed around greens and tee-boxes. It's how you save your seat. Just put your chair down in line with all the others. Snag a pairing sheet when you come in, and when you're sitting there, you can plan for the groups.

Personally, I like to sit on the 15th hole, near the top of the hill (or in the stands near the green), because it's a place where you see players make the decision to either go for it in two or lay up. If you sit in the stands by the 15th green, you can also see the action on the 16th hole just over your shoulder, so you kind of get bonus viewing.

As for etiquette, obviously be quiet when the players are within earshot. That will be easy because everyone else will be quiet. It's actually cool how a couple hundred people will all be huddled down somewhere, and it will be so quiet, you'll be able to hear the birds. No running to put your chair down. What are you five years old? Clapping for good play is acceptable, but booing players you don't like, or cheering for their mistakes is bad form.

Other that that, try a pimento cheese sandwich and enjoy the cheap beer.

1 comment:

  1. Be sure to have the first beer before 10 am. It's extra delicious