You may not have the connections or the cash required to secure a tee time at Augusta's most famous golf course, but a trip to nearby Forest Hills Golf Club is the next best thing.
You want history? Forest Hills, a course designed by Donald Ross in the mid-1920s, is where Bobby Jones won the 1930 Southeastern Open en route to his amazing Grand Slam season -- victories in the British Amateur, Open Championship, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. And while he was at Augusta Country Club, Jones saw the site of an abandoned nursery and thought it might make a nice place for a golf course.
MORE PHOTOS: Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
"I'd like to think it was his time here that brought him in touch with the land that eventually became Augusta National," said PGA Professional Dan Elliott, general manager of Forest Hills. "To me, that makes us a big part of Masters history."
GETTING THERE: Augusta is about 140 miles east of Atlanta. Take Interstate 20 East to Interstate 520 East/Bobby Jones Expressway. Take Exit 2 (Wrightsboro Road) and follow approximately two miles. Turn left on Magnolia Drive. Clubhouse is two blocks on left.
ABOUT THE COURSE: Now owned by the Georgia Regents University, the course -- and one of the first fire-proof concrete and steel hotels in the Southeast -- opened for business in 1926 and co-hosted professional events until the Masters tournament was created.
As the university grew, a few of the original holes were eliminated or rerouted in 1984. Twenty years later, the Arnold Palmer Company restored much of the course, including the back nine holes, to Ross' original vision.
COURSE FINDER: Use this handy tool to find courses nearest you
The rolling fairways are lined by tall, mature pines, so it's imperative to get the ball in the fairway. But the real fun begins on the undulating greens. Misjudge the correct distance and you'll be faced with speedy putts with significant break.
"This is definitely a second-shot course," Elliott said. "The real challenge is the approach because our greens are a little difficult. If you miss a green, you definitely don't want to short-side yourself in any way because you'll be faced with a difficult up-and-down."
MEMORABLE HOLES: Elliott admits there's not a particular "signature" hole at Forest Hills, but the back nine has some picturesque views.
"The 11th hole is a very attractive par 5, the way it goes down into the valley," Elliott said. "And the seventh hole is probably one of the toughest par 3s that you'll play."
Elliott's favorite hole is No. 15, not because of the difficulty but because of the view. It's a short dogleg left downhill to a generous green.
"When you're standing on the green and looking back towards the fairway, you can see what the course looked like back in 1926," Elliott said. "That hole hasn't really been touched, and it really gives you an appreciation for the architecture of the time.
"I've seen old photos. The golf course hasn't really changed over the years, from a visual standpoint. The trees look much the same as they did back when Bobby Jones was playing here."
PROS WITH CAMERAS: Golf course photos by pro tour players
Elliott said the plan is to continue to clear much of the underbrush away in an effort to match the original course plans and get more panoramic views from each fairway.
"Over the years, our tee boxes went from square to round, and we're shaping them back to square again," he said. "We're trying to do some of those things."
CLAIM TO FAME: In addition to its connection to Bobby Jones, Forest Hills can lay claim to a host of famous names and faces as college tournament host. In addition to the likes of Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III and Dustin Johnson, the Augusta State men -- led by Patrick Reed -- won consecutive NCAA championships in 2010 and 2011.
"A lot of famous golfers have walked the property here," Elliott said. "It was maintained and kept going by the Army for a number of years. When they went over to Fort Gordon, the Augusta Golf Association took over management of the club and struck a deal with the university for a place for their players to play.
"It's a golf course that's fine for the amateur today, but also worthy of hosting the best collegiate golfers. And it was also worthy of the professional golfers of the day, way back when. It holds a lot of history."
WHAT TO SEE: Augusta has several historic homes. Meadow Garden, built before 1791, was the home of George Walton, youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. The Ezekiel Harris Home dates back to 1797. And Woodrow Wilson's boyhood home is located on Seventh Street, near the First Presbyterian Church where his father was pastor.
Adjacent to the Augusta Canal, the 168-foot tall Confederate Powderworks chimney is the only surviving structure in Augusta authorized and built by the Confederacy. The Magnolia Cemetery is the resting place for more than 300 Confederate soldiers and seven generals.
KEY COURSE DETAILS
Address: 1500 Comfort Road, Augusta, GA 30909-3044