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by Scott A. Sumner
    Each April, the televising of the famed Master’s on CBS would signal the beginning of  golf season. This year would be my first time to attend the tournament and see first hand the 
beauty and prestige of this event. My journey was possible this year because of my new membership in the Golf Writer’s of America Association. This organization holds their annual meeting each year in the media centre at Augusta on the Wednesday of thr tournament which afforded me the opportunity to see this great event. 


 My journey began with a flight to  Atlanta and then a 2 hour drive to Augusta. The temperature outside my car was 92 degrees on the drive and I was looking forward to seeing the famed Augusta course. Our meeting was at 9am the next day so after a good night’s rest it was
off to the course when it opened at 8am. The traffic to the course from my hotel, some 2 miles away, was intense even quite early and people were in long lines making their way to the gates. I noticed the 45 foot John Daly motorhome right across from the entrance and could even see John Daly himself signing merchandise. Daly has gone from Grip It and Rip It to Sign It and Sell Items!
  Once parked in the press parking lot it was a short walk to the entrance, where you were scanned in, had your camera bag searched and wisked off in a cart to the media centre. Here the guards with metal detectors scanned you and then you were escorted to the large media centre. Augusta has some 500 media that cover the event and it  seemed each one had a desk location in a bowl like setting facing big  screen TV’s and scoreboards. Also there was a large food area with some of the Master’s favourite food selections.
    After our meeting and a group photo of the GWAA members on the course, we were free to check out the course for the day and see some of the players during this practice round. Tiger Woods was out on the course at 8am with friend Mark O’Meara and I didn’t see him until later
in the day on the practice area. For me it was fun to go right to Amen Corner and see the famous holes we watch each year during the broadcast. I also liked seeing the famed 16th hole where the players performed the traditional skipping of their balls over the pond to land
on the green. It is a tradition. Out on the course I enjoyed lunch with the famous pimento cheese sandwich for $1.50 and drink for $ 1.50. That was a good deal. People were talking about how expensive it was to get a weekly badge for the Masters which has a waiting list of over 30 years. The rumour was weekly badges were being sold for $8000 especially high given Tiger’s return to golf! It was fun to sit back and watch the groups of golfers come through hitting multiple practice shots. The mood was upbeat. People (or the patrons as they are called) who were lucky enough to get even a practice round ticket were happy to be there, in awe almost it seemed.
    My day was coming to an end as I had to make the drive to Chattanooga,  TN?that evening. As you left the grounds your pass was scanned showing your exit. I had at least 5 people come up to me to buy my practice round ticket which of course you can’t sell. The Master’s is certainly a hot commodity. Overall I was very impressed with Augusta National. The place was pristine and brimming with tradition. Everyone should experience it at least once. Be sure to
enter their practice round lottery system and give it a try. Maybe next year you’ll see this golf tradition up close and personal!

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