For the lucky few who get to go to the Masters in their lifetime, they will attest that there is a certain insider’s knowledge that is gleaned from the experience. It goes without saying that all guests need to be quiet and respectful on the course; you are on hallowed ground, after all. It also goes without saying that this golf tournament is the best you will ever see. Once you’re outside the boundaries of Augusta National, the town itself holds a lot of great places to discover. Here’s our breakdown—of the tournament and the town—for first-timers.
1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Augusta is not for the worn-out or weary. Plan on a lot of walking, over hills, dales, through the woods … you get the picture. For that reason, wear good walking shoes. Let us put that in caps: WEAR GOOD WALKING SHOES! This is not the time for flip-flops, your cute new flats or anything that has not seen upwards of five miles of trek. For this same reason, have a plan of attack before you wander around the course for miles and miles and don’t see a shot. Decide if you are a sitter or a walker, and commit to it. Sitters need to pick a good hole and camp there all day. Benefits of this are that you get to see every single player. Walkers need to follow a handful of players they like for the day. Tee times are released early in the morning so that you can plan accordingly.
2. No, that is not a typo on the menu. The food is that cheap.
When you look at the food menu prices, you might think it is 1975, because the prices are SO low. Thank goodness for that, because you are going to be eating a good number of their delicious sandwiches over the course of the day. The chicken sandwich is a hands-down favorite, but never discount the pimento cheese or the egg salad. You will be walking so much that none of these calories count. The alcohol is cheap, too, but temper yourself. Raucous behavior is definitely frowned upon at this tournament. Just ask the handful of guests who were asked to leave when they were walking around with 10+ beer cups stacked together like badges of honor. [SB TIP: Buy a chicken sandwich and a pimento cheese. Lose two of the pieces of bread, combine them and add a dollop of hot sauce, too. YUM!]
3. Hit the merch tent early.
Always go to the merchandise tent as soon as possible to get the best selection. If you can go Monday morning during the practice round, that is the golden hour. Buy every possible gift you can here to last you for the rest of the year. Might we also note that their selection of wine glasses is always top notch, so it doesn’t have to be all about sportswear. When you are done purchasing, either place the items in a locker or ship them home right there. Whatever you do, don’t carry them around the course all day. Most importantly, be sure to get yourself something to wear for the day that has the logo on it. It’s important to wear the swag!
1. If you didn’t pack right, Augusta’s boutiques have you covered.
Sundress hunting? Ladies, check out Soho for breezy bohemian picks from the likes of Free People, or head to One. at Surrey Center for staple designer duds from Tibi and Equipment in a chic, glossy boutique environment. One. Surrey Center is the beating heart of Augusta’s retail and plays host to a fabulous lineup of other shops and restaurants all worth perusing. For plodding around the course, there is a pro shop on-site if you’re looking for a sportier look. Other important accessories? Sunscreen and binoculars!
2. Staying with a friend? Pick up a pretty hostess gift in town.
An array of beautiful gifts awaits you at the town’s many well-appointed, ever-so-Southern shops. Pick up thank you notes or party invitations at The White Crane, the city’s premier stationer. (They carry cute Masters memorabilia, too!) Wesley Cadle is the namesake and creative spirit behind The Wesley Cadle Lifestyle store, an offshoot of his renowned interior and event business, where you can pick up gifts from brands like Matouk and Pine Cone Hill. Also available are designer floral arrangements from Cadle’s seasoned staff.
3. Don’t forget your guy.
He can’t buy a green jacket, but at The Boardroom, Augusta’s finest haberdasher, men can outfit themselves properly for the tournament or its peripheral events. The knowledgeable staff members are seasoned vets when it comes to Masters-related dressing, and have been for 25 years at this family-owned business. All the classic brands are accounted for: Allen Edmonds, Southern Proper, Smathers & Branson … the list goes on and on. That means whether your guy is headed for the course or for cocktails, he can be properly attired even if the airline loses his luggage. On-site tailoring is offered, as well.
EATING AND DRINKING
1. Ready for a cocktail?
If you opted out of cocktails on the course (see Tournament Survival, tip 2), make up for it at Craft & Vine. The intimate restaurant is operated by an Atlanta-bred crew who cut their teeth at some of the Southeast’s finest restaurants. Their inventive cocktail menu includes drinks inspired by Augusta National, and their by-the-glass wine selection is second-to-none due to a selective storing process. Check out their deviled egg, which changes every day!
2. Go where the locals hang.
In the mood for something more low-key? The French Market Grille is an easygoing dining spot with a Bayou-infused menu chock-full of delicious Po’ Boys and gumbo. Locals gather here for casual conversation and cold drinks, especially on the restaurant’s breezy patio. It’s a perfect spot for afternoon or family dining — kids are more than welcome. Also here: a well-stocked oyster bar and plenty of beer to go with!
3. Treat your partner to a quiet evening after a long day in the sun.
Take a step up from lemonade and pimento cheese. For a romantic evening, snag a reservation at Abel Brown’s Southern Kitchen & Oyster Bar. Private dining rooms accommodate large, festive parties in an intimate, upscale setting. Light, bright and modern decor sets off a clean, thoughtful menu of Southern classics served the same way you’d treat your fanciest house guest. Share their famous salted caramel pie with a glass of champagne from their extensive wine menu.
Consider yourself rightly equipped to hit the Masters circuit in style! We’ll see you there!
Thanks to SB Louisville’s Heidi Potter for sharing her Tournament Survival Tips.
P.S. If you want to experience the food of the Masters, but you can’t hit Augusta, here is the recipe for their egg salad, a crowd favorite! Make it while you tune in from the comfort of your couch!
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