Into the Green
Thoughts on the Masters.
There's a sense of universal joy for anyone who attends the Masters. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, the patron experience is unlike anything else. Going to Augusta is a rare thing in life which actually exceeds the expectations.
The Masters is undoubtedly the best experience you can have at an American sporting event. You don’t need to even know anything about golf to appreciate it. The grounds are so awe-inspiring you can walk around for 8 hours stunned at how hard work can transform the rolling hills of Georgia into perfection. You can marvel at the precision and service of such a large event. You can absorb the pure joy that thousands of people collectively share throughout the week.
The duality of the Masters is what makes it interesting to me. It’s an exercise in unlikely combinations. The tournament is well attended but never crowded or chaotic. It manages to be quaint and have scale. The Masters is old school and traditional, but also completely modern. It is efficient and hospitable, which would seem like opposites anywhere else. It’s constantly evolving, yet forever remaining the same.
Augusta National Golf Club is a blank canvas of sorts —it's the perfect backdrop of green and white— which allows the golf to come alive like a beautiful painting. Everything there is memorable, from the striped umbrellas to the simplicity of the leaderboard. Every detail is considered but nothing is overdone.
It’s rare for something to be enjoyable on television and even more so in person. The lack of phones keeps everyone completely present. With the tournament's tradition of etiquette and the lack of selfies you get the best version of people. When you walk inside the gates, or through the golf shop or concessions you realize how friendly and polite everyone is. As an ex-New Yorker and current LA driver it almost doesn't feel like it could be real, but it is. You start to appreciate that the Masters is more than just a tournament on a beautiful golf course. It's a portal into a different world and another time.
The Masters traditions are some of the most interesting aspects of the tournament to me and many other people. This week I have contributed several stories to Masters.com around some of the most cherished traditions of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. As far as fun historical stories to tell around golf, this is about as good as it gets. Hope you like them.
There's a film that I love called Jazz on a Summer's Day. Directed by the fashion photographer Bert Stern, it documented the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and the America's Cup which was going on at the same time in the waters near Newport, RI. It's one of the most beautiful films ever created and I am always struck by all the shots of the fans in attendance. It's a time capsule of sorts with the personal style of the era on full display. The film is like going back in time to a stylish event to people watch.
There's an element of Jazz on a Summers day going on every year at the Masters. Each time I have attended the tournament I have seen flourishes of modern moments which could be straight out of Jazz on a Summers Day or even Take Ivy. With the ultra clean aesthetic of Augusta National and the tournament's lack of commercialization (and cell phones!) it's a rare glimpse into what things might have been like way back when.