Augusta National Golf Club is located in Augusta Georgia, USA and is often referred to as Augusta or the National. Founded in 1932 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, it has hosted the annual Masters Tournament since 1934, one of the four major championships in professional golf and the only major played at the same course each year. In 2019, it began co-hosting the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Bobby Jones was the most successful amateur golfer to compete at a national and international level and became one of the most influential figures in the history of golf. He sought to create a world-class winter golf course in his home state of Georgia, so he set the wheels in motion to establish Augusta National Golf Club along with Clifford Roberts, an American investment dealer and golf administrator.
The first decade of the club’s existence was tough; memberships were low, and finances were limited due to the Great Depression and the somewhat remote location of Augusta. This put grand plans for a women’s course and squash and tennis courts on hold.
In an effort to draw in crowds and players, they decided to hold a tournament, the Augusta National Invitational, later known as the Masters. Roberts persuaded then retired Jones to play in the tournament.
Today, Augusta is one of the world’s most well-known golf clubs. It is also considered one of the most beautiful courses in the world. The 365-acre site that the course is built on was originally a fruit nursery. As such, Augusta is full of beautiful trees, flowers and shrubs. The lane way from the entrance to the club house is lined with 61 Magnolia trees and is aptly named Magnolia Lane. Each hole has been given the name of a tree or shrub that can be
found on that particular hole.
Club facilities include:
- – Butler Cabin – located near hole 18, this is where tournament winners are presented with their green jacket
- – Clubhouse – located near hole 1, it dates back to the 1850’s and features a well- stocked wine cellar
- – Practice range
- – Three large cabins reserved for tournament sponsors
- – On-site press building with TV studios
The club also has strict rules and policies in place for employees, club members and visitors.
- – No mobile phones or electronic devices are permitted except in the press building
- – No running
- – No loud talking
- – Spectators are not allowed to cheer when a player makes a mistake
Anyone breaking any of these rules is permanently banned from the club As one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the United States, it is difficult for just anyone to play the course. The course is predominantly open only to members and top professional golfers. If by chance you happen to know a member then playing becomes more of a possibility but with only about 300 members, the chances remain slim.
Some other bizarre and notable facts about Augusta.
- – In 1942, during WWII, the club closed when America entered the war, re-opening in 1945. Rather than let the land lay dormant, it was temporarily transformed into a cattle farm.
- – In October 1983, President Ronald Reagan’s round of golf was cut short when a recently fired millwright held several people including two members of Reagan’s entourage hostage in the pro shop, demanding an audience with the president.
- – The Masters only came about because the USGA wouldn’t consider having the US Open played at Augusta in 1934. Jones and Roberts decided to create their own event which is now considered golf’s premier event.
- – The club is very protective of its members and as such there is no official list of members.
- – Membership criteria or if there are actually membership criteria is kept secret. They also say when it comes to getting in, if you have to ask, the answer is no.
- – Broadcaster CBS adds bird noises to their telecast of The Masters to make Augusta seem like more of a natural paradise.
- – It’s rumoured that the famed azaleas that line the golf course are actually frozen during warmer years so that they are always in full bloom the week of The Masters.
- – A ticket to The Masters is one of the hardest sporting tickets to get.
While an important piece of golf history and a must-see for golf enthusiasts, Augusta National is as exclusive and private as golf clubs get. While many have it on their bucket list the chances of seeing this great course up close are unlikely.