Six Little Known Facts About Augusta National

Cows once ruled the hallowed grounds.

Photo: Getty, Augusta National

During WWII, few of AGNC’s 128 members had booking a tee time too high up on the ole’ priority list. Having donated prior proceeds to the war, the leadership determined that the club would either have to reduce operations or disband entirely. Bobby Jones, realizing the potential for the unused acreage, reasoned that the 200 cattle would provide meat for the local area AND assist with golf course maintenance by keeping grass at manageable levels. Win-win, right? Unfortunately, as the bermuda strains went dormant, the cows turned to the beloved azalea bushes for feed. Oh, and when the cattle had overstayed their welcome? Turkeys. 1,423 of them. Members contributed $100 a piece in return for a fresh Christmas bird. And Augusta National lived on.

Ben Crenshaw met the ghost of Masters past mid-round.

Photo: Augusta.com

Follow along closely with us on this one. During the final round of the 1954 Masters, amateur Billy Joe Patton held the lead on the back nine. He opted to go for the green in two on both the 13th and the 15th. Sadly, both of those shots met cringeworthy fatal splashes, resulting in a third place finish.

Fast forward 30 years to Crenshaw’s Sunday round, standing on the 13th with a three-stroke lead. Just as Ben contemplated going for the green in two, he glanced across the gallery to see none other than Patton among the fans. The crucial reminder led to Crenshaw’s decision to lay up, leading to his first major victory.

Only thing is… Crenshaw learned that Billy Joe Patton wasn’t in attendance that day.

The Masters was sort of a last resort for Augusta National.
These days it sounds like pure blasphemy to reject anything associated with this sacred tournament. But believe it or not, Bobby Jones originally had his eye on hosting the U.S. Open (or a second choice U.S. Amateur) at AGNC. The USGA, however, rejected the notion of moving down south. In turn, the founders created their own tournament in hopes of attracting new members. Needless to say, it worked. One thousandfold.

 

Photo: Augusta.com

Those pimento cheese wrappers aren’t just green to match the jackets.
While the green Masters plastic wrap sure does make the patrons feel festive, the clever folks at Augusta National may have thought just a bit further than that. It’s said that the wrapper color was chosen to prevent stray baggies from ruining the beauty of those incredible fairways and greens on the broadcast. Now, to be fair, the crew is stellar. And I’d doubt they’d leave any trash floating around for more than an inhale and an exhale. But Augusta National takes no chances.

Photo: Dave Nastalski

The grounds are golden… literally.

Photo: Fred Vuich

Anyone who’s set foot on this sacred course knows just how magical it feels. But it’s more than just a feeling.

Believe it or not, there’s a natural spring running between the 13th and 14th fairways that spouts gold dust when it rains. It doesn’t even sound real, but does any of Augusta National?

Tour caddies weren’t always a thing.
These days, pros and their caddies are attached at the hip. Some loopers are even more famous than players. But prior to 1982, personal caddies were prohibited. That means Nicklaus and Palmer played some of the most important rounds of their lives with men they didn’t really know by their sides.

Photo: Shaun Best/Reuters