The man who knows he’s blessed is truly blessed. For the second time, Shark Attack Golf was fortunate enough to gain access to The Masters golf tournament. We aren’t on the official list and we can’t afford full price passes but when fortune smiles upon you and you are in the right place at the right time, how could you ever refuse free passes to this event? The answer of course is…you can’t.
We began our journey at 7 am and rolled into Augusta around 10:30. Just before we entered the parking area, we had been following the “controversy” over Tiger’s drop the day before and we spotted a huge billboard with his picture on it. It must be really cool to pull up at a course and see your face hovering over the main road. Our personal moment of duh was quickly to follow as we grabbed our folding chairs and headed to the gate. As we approached the gate, there was a sign and the security guard who confirmed it by saying that armchairs were not allowed. Embarrassed, we quickly retreated across the parking area and put our chairs away. When we finally entered the gates, we were quickly surrounded by a few Tiger haters who were discussing at a loud volume how they would have been disqualified if they had done what Tiger did. Of course, we already know that these same folks could never even be in his or any shoes inside the ropes. When visiting the Masters, it’s mandatory to jump into the huge line and visit the onsite store. Picture if you will, a shark feeding frenzy and you might begin to understand the mad exchange of money being spent within the store walls. You’re best bet is to purchase what you need and then to store the items in the locker area provided. As we waited in line to store our items, we were goofing around about bringing a spy camera in and capturing video that no one else has and the person in front of us said that we should forget that idea because no matter what our idea was, it’s already been thought of before and why would we risk losing the passes that we were enjoying? He didn’t really understand that we were just kidding but he was genuinely concerned for us. As it turns out, the guy was really cool and had only missed 1 Masters since he was 8 years old…in over 50 years. There’s no shortage of people at this event who simply show up because it’s a social event and who have no idea how blessed they are to enjoy this luxury but this guy was a Legacy with a true appreciation for what it means and how hard it is to obtain.
The practice areas are simply amazing and you could spend hours just watching the players chip, put and hit range shots. We attempted to have a free photo taken by an onsite photographer but the line was so long that we decided to just proceed to the golf course. When we had first visited these grounds in 2011, I can say that it was an almost spiritual experience and the hallowed grounds were hard to take in but this time, I quickly went into full absorption mode and started recording mental notes for this very blog. Mobile phones are not allowed on site and without a watch, you quickly get caught up in a land that time seems to have forgotten. The hub of action for the main portion of the course would be holes 1,9, 10 and 18. These are all accessible within a short distance from each other and we took full advantage of the opportunity to watch tee shots and approach shots by Phil, Guan, Rickie, Bjorn, Hanson, Singh and Jacobson to name a few. We followed Phil down 10 and into Amen Corner. The kid (Guan), for the record, was no slower than the others. Leaving Amen Corner, we decided to enter the food area for the retro priced items. The specialties include egg salad, pimento cheese, barbecue, the original chicken, ham, turkey and club sandwiches. I grabbed an egg salad, club and barbecue sandwich but there were no chicken sandwiches in the bin. I mentioned it to a worker and she grabbed one from another spot and yes, you read that right, I ate 4 sandwiches starting out. I’m not sure where else you could purchase 7 sandwiches, 2 drinks and a cookie for $23 but we put them to good use. While standing in the food line, we attempted a photo bomb. CBS was interviewing a couple of kids near us and we kept pointing out the Yeti, Shark Attack and Tattoo Golf logos on our shirts while standing directly behind the kids. I can neither confirm nor deny that we were successful.
On a side note, the word fashion comes to mind for this trip. Ernie Els and Matt Kuchar are not known for their style on the course and today was no exception. Ernie was sporting his best 50+ old style with pleated pants and a dull shirt and we could only assume that Matt Kuchar’s better half had pulled a prank on him by allowing him to leave the room wearing khaki pants, an aqua shirt and a purple, beat up Bridgestone hat. Other popular looks for the crowd included sweaters for the European stylish dudes, knickers and the always popular guy who has to wear his golf gear including golf shoes while walking the course.
After our food gluttony, we filtered down to hole 13 and finally into the Grandstands at hole 14. The viewpoint allowed us to witness tee shots, approach shots, chips and putts from virtually the entire field but perhaps the best part was observing the flow of people though the stands as the groups passed by. One of the first people that sat near us was clearly not in tune with the course and asked if that was Rae’s Creek in front of us? This was followed by any number of well (beer) hydrated spectators who made different impressions on us. There were a couple of mature ladies that parked behind us at one point and we listened as they passed judgement upon the appearance and appeal of the players. They informed us that there was a difference in the terms “Cool drink of Water” and “Just plain sexy”. The first term describing a plainly dressed but well put together man and the last describing someone like Freddie Couples or Tiger Woods. We in turned shared with them the concept of the “lunchable”. This is a Shark Attack term abbreviated to describe receiving knowledge from a mature woman and her in turn giving you a lunchable kids snack or juice box as a parting gift. It was also really interesting to listen to the crowd cheer and gasp at the ever changing leader board above the stands. I’d also have to say that one lady had a classic and stereotypical line in this section. She said that she and her son had watched Freedie and Phil and Tiger to which her son replied that they hadn’t seen Tiger. She then said, of yeah, it was the “other guy”…”Singe”. I’ll leave it up to you to mentally work out how goofy this statement was and why.
There were rounds played on Saturday that were the equivalent of a horror movie including Keegan Bradley who shot an astounding 82. Many players struggled and dragged tail as they rounded our corner. After the last group had passed, we reversed our track and got up close and personal with many tee shot and approach shot locations without the crowd. We also interacted with several of the workers who were already busy cleaning up and preparing the course for a Sunday finish. As we emerged behind the 18th green, I noticed Tiger’s bag near the practice putting green and I suggested we hang for a minute to see him again. Just as we gave up and started to walk away, security made us stop so that Tiger could pass by. We then proceeded to the entrance to the scoring area and observed many players , caddies and wives enter and leave this location. It was here that we saw a classic clash between a rich patron and a security guard. The security guard had the mendacity to hold him up as the players passed by and this guy went nuts. He removed his glasses, gripped and acted like a jerk. The security guard did his job well and explained that the gentleman could contact his boss if he had a complaint. The patron rewarded the guard by pitching one last fit as he was allowed to finally cross the path.
We departed the grounds and had a smooth 3 hour drive to reflect upon the days events. The photo above is of the actual souvenirs that I brought home. As I stated above, if you ever get a chance to attend the Masters, how can you not go?
Shark Attack Golf