The Masters Has Many Traditions That Make It Quirky and Unusual

It’s one of the only places in the U.S. where there are long lines for payphones.

Masters patrons using pay phones.

 

Masters patrons must use pay phones provided by Augusta National.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

There’s a huge fence around the course to keep out animals. There has been one deer sighting in the last 65 years and visitors often talk of never seeing a single squirrel.

augusta national driveway



Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Source: NYT

Birds are also mysteriously rarely seen at Augusta National. Bird sounds are heard during television broadcasts, but there is a rumor that those sounds are artificial.

The Masters



Andrew Redington/Allsport

“Also, there are no birds, squirrels, insects or any other living creature indigenous to planet earth at the Masters. Nowhere on the property. Well, okay, there must be some somewhere. But the Post’s Dave Sheinin and I made a multi-day quest for a single bird sighting. So far, none. Those bird calls that you sometimes hear on the Masters broadcast? The source remains undiscovered.” — Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.

The lakes are also reportedly artificially enhanced to look immaculate on TV. Golf Digest tested the water on one hole in 1996 and found food dye.

A pond at the Masters



JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Golf Digest

But like many golf courses, there is good fishing at Augusta National. The players, though, don’t like to talk about it because it is forbidden.

The 12th hole at the Masters.

 

The 12th hole at the Masters.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In 2011, Monte Burke of Forbes interviewed golfers about the best fishing spots on the PGA Tour. When Augusta was brought up, he described their responses as “squeamish” and they only admitted to hearing there were some good spots.

A former caddie was willing to tell Burke that the best spots are the creek in front of the 12th hole (“full of bream”; seen above) and the pond at the 16th hole (“brimming with bass”).

The legend of the only palm tree on the course has finally been confirmed.

Augusta National Palm Tree

 

Some thought the palm tree was a myth.

Augusta National via Getty Images

For a long time, there was a legend of a single palm tree on the Augusta National Golf Club. It was said to be hidden by larger trees on the fourth hole and only golfers who hit a terrible shot into the woods had seen it. But when the fourth hole was lengthened, many trees were removed and now the palm has been revealed and is featured on the hole now.

When the change was made in 2019, Fred Couples went to visit his “secret” tree.

“First thing I did today was walk to the fourth green,” Couples told Golf Digest. “I did that because the palm tree is visible. Once upon a time, while chasing misdirected shots, my buddy Tom Callahan and I noticed a palm tree hidden in a forest to the right of the fourth green. Research showed that it was the one and only palm tree on the property. We thought of it as our secret.”

Only 4 minutes of commercials per hour are allowed during the broadcast.

Masters TV camera

 

A CBS TV camera at the Masters

Rob Brown/Augusta National via Getty Images

Source: ESPN

The rough is also to be referred to as the “second cut.”

matt kuchar masters



AP

Source: The Age

The Masters banned CBS broadcaster Gary McCord in 1995 for saying, “They don’t cut the greens here at Augusta, they use bikini wax.”

gary mccord

 

Gary McCord

Christian Petersen/Getty Images for The Match

Source: SI

Players had to use local caddies provided by Augusta until 1983. Players still must use local caddies if they play at Augusta outside of Masters week.

augusta caddie 1984



David Cannon/Getty Images

Source: ESPN

Players are allowed to use their own caddies now, but they have to wear the Augusta uniform — green hat, white jumpsuit.

Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas walk the course at Augusta National

 

Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas walk the course at Augusta National.

Augusta National via Getty Images

Fans … oops, we mean patrons … patrons aren’t allowed to wear their hats backward.

augusta masters hats



Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Source: NYT

Patrons can bring collapsible chairs to sit on, but those chairs are not allowed to have armrests.

Masters golf chairs

 

Chairs at Augusta National for the Masters.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Golfweek

Source: Augusta.com

Running is not allowed unless you are a player.

Hideki Matsuyama runs past the azaleas at the Masters.

 

Hideki Matsuyama runs past the azaleas at the Masters.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The course used cows as lawnmowers in the 1940s.

augusta national fairway

 

The grass at Augusta National is immaculate.


@DaveTindallgolf

Augusta is its own universe with a tenuous connection to the outside world (see: all the ridiculous anecdotes in this slideshow).

But WWII affected Augusta just like it did the rest of the country. During the war, Augusta didn’t have the manpower to maintain the course, so they set 200 cattle loose on the grounds in hopes that they would “trim” the grass by eating it.

You can’t apply to become a member at Augusta and nobody outside of Augusta knows how many members there are.

condoleezza rice augusta talking



REUTERS/Mike Segar

It’s nearly impossible to become a member at Augusta.

You have to be nominated by a current Augusta member, and new initiations generally aren’t accepted unless someone quits or dies. The total membership hovers around 300.

Tickets are dirt cheap; only $375 for a patron badge that grants you access to the entire week. But getting one is a lot like Green Bay Packers season tickets. There is a waiting list and it has been closed since 2000. A limited number of single-day tickets are sold via lottery each year. Those are $115 for the tournament rounds and $75 for practice rounds.

Masters Patron Badges



Charles Laberge/Augusta National via Getty Images

Getting a patron badge is a lot like Green Bay Packers season tickets. There is a waiting list and it has been closed since 2000. A limited number of single-day tickets are sold via lottery each year. Those are $115 for the tournament rounds and $75 for practice rounds.

Read more: Masters tickets are cheap for a major sporting event, but only the Super Bowl is harder to get into

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