Growing up I had always watched my Dad play golf. When I turned 8, I started taking junior lessons from our Country Club Professional and joined the Roanoke Valley Junior Golf Tour. I even won back to back Junior Club Championships when I was 12 and 13. It was always a dream of mine to play or at least walk around Augusta National, home of the Masters. Although, I am not nearly good enough to play at the Masters, my dream did come true when I attended a practice round in 2010.
Getting tickets to Masters Events is very difficult, almost impossible. Watching the Masters on TV is something my Dad and I always did together. We never missed the back 9 on Sunday for many of my years growing up. When Dad and I received an email from our friendTim inviting us on the trip , I called him right away. I said, “Dad is Tim really serious? Are we really going to the Masters?” My Dad could tell I was excited and knew it would be a trip of a lifetime.
For anyone who knows my friend Tim, he loves golf. He plays just about every week and sometimes multiple times a week. So a trip to the Masters was not just going to be walking around and watching the Pros. We were of course going to play golf somewhere as well. Tim was able to pull a few connections and set up a tee time at Musgrove Mill, a private course just outside of Charlotte, NC. I still don’t know how we were able to tee times, but at this point I will never ask.
A view of the Musgrove Mill Clubhouse. Photo courtesy of musgrovemill.com
first tee. The round included a few interesting moments (most likely cause by all of the donuts) but we were all
able to complete the round. After playing, we went up to the clubhouse, ordered a few drinks and grabbed a bite to
eat. Being a private course, there were not very many people around on Sunday afternoon/evening. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. Instead of going straight to the cabin located on the course, we competed in a few putting competitions. Tim taught us a new game known as 7-up which was quite a long game with 4 people. After putting, we headed to the cabin for Sunday night baseball and sleep.
Monday morning we got up early to head to Augusta. This was one of the biggest practice round days. Most players were playing a few holes rather than just hitting balls. However, we first headed over to the practice area. We all had to stay together because phones are not allowed at Augusta. Security is tight and you have to go through a medical detector prior to entering the grounds. Watching a few players warm up was fascinating. Normally,
I don’t warm up prior to playing. Seeing the professionals using props to help them line themselves up and using other devices was interesting. I only thought the gimmicks were for weekend golfers such as me.
After leaving the Practice Area, I wanted to walk the course. I knew the course layout from watching on TV, however TV does not do it justice. The hills and undulations in the greens are far greater in person than on TV.
I remember walking up 18. The hill does not look too steep on TV, but when you are walking up 18 you definitely feel the burn in both calves. Later we caught the premiere group of the day. Fred Couples was playing with Tiger Woods. Despite what people say, Tiger Woods is the most exciting golfer right now. He is great for the game and it was awesome to follow him for a couple of holes. Watching him think about certain shots and interact with another great player was really cool. It was difficult getting close because of the huge crowds following this group, but we did get pretty close to Tiger and Freddy on #7 green.
In the later part of the afternoon, the players on the course were beginning to dwindle. We decided to head to the Merchandizing Tent and make a few purchases. I ended up buying a shirt (I believe my Dad picked out the exact same shirt) and a Masters flag. It would have been cool to have a few signatures on the flag, but that will be saved for my next Masters trip. I continue to enter my name in the drawing for practice tickets and actual tournament tickets, but have yet to be accepted. Nonetheless, my trip with three great guys was a trip I will never forget.
The Masters is truly a “Tradition Like No Other” and my top sporting moment thus far. Can anybody score me some Masters Tournament Tickets?
Dad and I at Augusta National. 13 Green in the background!!