Five Highlights from a Memorable Masters Week
By Ryan Adams, PGA
Patrons walk onto the course prior to the the first round of the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Seven spring days in Augusta, Georgia. That doesn’t sound so bad, right?
Right! And while Jon Rahm was the one slipping on a Green Jacket this year after his four-shot victory at the 2023 Masters, I also forged some memories of my own during the week, with work and play colliding at the center of the golf universe.
From the sun-drenched Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals to walking the emerald green grounds of Augusta National Golf Club — complimentary, thanks to my PGA Membership (more on that in a bit) — there were plenty of highlights.
Here are five that stood out:
These kids are good
If you tuned in to the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on April 2, you were treated to a display of eye-popping skill. I had a unique vantage point to this showcase, representing the PGA of America alongside the USGA and Masters on a collaborative content team. We were able to get an inside look at what goes into the preparation for the National Finals the day before, and in case you were wondering how that went:
To then watch these kids go up Magnolia Lane and perform the way they did on a beautiful day at Augusta National . . . to say I was inspired would be an understatement. Our team did our best on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to capture the best moments — and there were plenty — but as the day went on, it was easy to see that no one shot could take away the joy from these kids. They had made it.
The “skip” shot on No. 16 during Masters practice rounds is a must-see
After Drive, Chip and Putt duties were over, our team was able to get out on the course and see players get ready for the Masters. It’s not all serious work, though, and when players arrive on the par-3 16th hole, the patrons start a collective hum that slowly turns into a cheer and finally . . . “SKIP IT!” By that, they mean having the players skip their tee shots along the 16th hole’s pond all the way up to the green. Gulp. Not as easy as it looks but we saw Adrian Meronk, playing in his first Masters, skip his shot all the way along the pond, up on to the green, and the ball curled back along the slope toward the hole, nearly going in — it sent the patrons into a frenzy. If you ever find yourself with a practice round ticket, head out to No. 16 at some point. It's a must-see.
Tiger’s all tempo at the Tournament Practice Area
By Thursday, I was officially a patron myself. Easily one of the best benefits of being a PGA Member is complimentary access to the majors and Ryder Cup. That’s the case at the Masters Tournament, too, who graciously grants all PGA Class A Professionals in good standing with a complimentary ticket. Three of my best friends, who I met through the PGA Golf Management University Program, and I reunited during the first round and we headed to one of our favorite spots: the Tournament Practice Area. We snagged seats in the second row and were blessed with a 45 minute warm-up session from the legend himself, Tiger Woods. If there’s one thing I could share that would help anyone improve after watching Tiger, it’s this: tempo, tempo, tempo. Tiger was never in a rush, from his spinny wedge shots all the way up to his driver. If the best in the world isn’t rushing, neither should you. Remember “tempo” the next time you head out to practice!
There’s nothing like watching players tackle Augusta National Golf Club
I highly recommend, if there’s ever a tour event near you, try to get a ticket and go watch these players. TV doesn’t do their swings, routines and quirks justice. I stood on No. 18 tee and watched Sam Bennett, Max Homa and Scottie Scheffler tee off . . . from literally feet away. Bennett, before stepping into his swing, stood behind the ball, took a deep breath and blew on his hands — a full on cue that it was “go time.” Homa and Scheffler were entrenched in routine; both weren’t playing their best, but that didn’t matter. What did was their tee shot on No. 18. Watching these players up close try to solve the riddles and puzzles of every hole at Augusta National is so fascinating. It’s an experience in of itself that makes the Masters truly one of a kind.
The Ryan Adams power ranking of Masters concessions
After a week, I ate my fair share of Masters fare to the point where I feel like I can give a formidable power ranking of the Masters concessions menu. I’ll stick with food for consistency reasons, but the Masters does offer great coffee, sports drinks and its own craft beer called Crow's Nest, which pays homage to the top floor of Augusta National’s clubhouse where the amateurs stay for the week. No. 5: Chicken Biscuit. Only served until 10 a.m.,this is a solid option to pair up with your coffee. A tad dry, but nothing a little honey can’t solve. No. 4: Egg Salad Sandwich. Yes, I tried the Pimento Cheese, and while it’s a must for anyone attending the Masters, the Egg Salad gets my vote. I add a little honey mustard to it for a perfect combo. No. 3: Breakfast Sandwich. I think the brioche bun does it for me here, but the sausage, egg and cheese is just a classic mix and takes the cake for best breakfast item in my mind. No. 2: Chicken Salad on Honey Wheat Bread. Chicken salad and golf go hand-in-hand, and the honey wheat bread adds a little sweetness to a stellar sandwich. Grab two at lunch. No 1. In no surprise, it’s the Georgia Peach Ice Cream Sandwich. Don’t even look at the back of the wrapper for the calorie count — just enjoy peach-flavored ice cream between two amazing cookies. Give them two or three minutes out of the freezer and you’ll have the perfect Masters treat.