"Golf Heaven"

“Golf Heaven”

The Masters is one of golf’s four Major Championships and while each event is different in its own respect, the Masters may just be the favorite. Consider this - It is the only major played at the same course each year, and Augusta National Golf Club ranks as one of the best courses in the world. The top 3 courses are most often one of the following: Pine Valley (NJ), Augusta National (GA) and Cypress Point(CA).

The tournament claims to be “A Tradition Unlike Any Other.” The same can be said for the golf course. The Masters has brought us many “firsts.” It was the first tournament to use red numbers to signify an under par score, it was the first tournament ever broadcast on the radio, and years later it was the first golf event broadcast in HD…I still remember watching, slack-jawed in awe, when we got our first flat screen TV.

The course itself is a dichotomy of sorts; both suffused with historic place-marks like Amen Corner, Rae’s Creek, and Hogan’s bridge; however, it also may be the most modern course in the world having undergone extensive changes to keep it at the forefront of major championship golf. There are a few key factors that make this possible. The first being seemingly unlimited resources: ANGC members are invited to join and represent the elite’s elite; most, if not all, belong to multiple golf clubs which means Augusta National can close shortly after the tournament in the spring and re-open again in October to allow for annual updates. When you consider the deep-pockets and the reports that ANGC profits more than $44 million annually from the tournament alone, I doubt their superintendent needs to beg to replace that aging fairway mower.

The second aspect that makes Augusta my favorite Major is the strategic genius of both Alister Mackenzie and Bobby Jones. The co-designers incorporated a risk-reward philosophy unlike most courses up to that point. Bobby Jones is quoted as saying, "Two things were essential. First, there must be a way around for those unwilling to attempt the carry; and second, there must be a definitive reward awaiting the man who makes it. Without the alternative route the situation is unfair. Without the reward it is meaningless." These attributes influenced modern golf design, including many of the holes found here at Stowe.