What it’s like to go to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National

Sharing all about our trip to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National. And this is a post I never thought I’d write, but here we go …

Would I call myself a golf fan? Sort’ve. You see, I’ve watched the first two seasons of Netflix’s “Full Swing” so I feel like I know more about golf than I used to, and I know a little bit about the popular players and what’s going on in the golf world. However, I’m married to someone who is most definitely a true golf fan. Dave loves to golf, he watches golf, he’s good at golf, he used to work in the golf industry, and he’s always wanted to go to the annual Masters golf tournament. We were lucky enough to go to the Masters last week. And it was so cool! 

If you’re wondering why I’d write a whole post about attending a golf tournament on what’s usually a health and wellness blog, I totally get it — bear with me. But for those of you who are golf fans or have someone in your life who is a golf fan, you know how significant the Masters is. And now that I’ve attended it, I can see why it’s such a big deal, and I wanted to share some thoughts on what it’s like to go to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National …

What it’s like to go to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National

Let’s talk golf! 

What it's like to go to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

But really, what is the Masters anyway?

The Masters tournament is one of four major golf tournaments a year in the golf world. While golf tournaments take place all over the nation every single weekend, only four of them hold this “major” title. So winning this one is a big deal. The winner of the Masters gets a special green jacket, and then they become part of a small group of green-jacket holders. Apparently it’s every golfer’s dream to one day put on that green jacket.

And by the way, the Masters tournament is not a one-day affair. In fact, it runs from Monday to Sunday. The first three days are “practice” rounds for golfers to play the course and get acquainted with the challenging set-up and greens, and then the next few days are the actual competition, from Thursday to Sunday. After the first two days of the competition, the field is cut down to just the top 50 spots and a lot of golfers are eliminated, culminating in a big winner given a green jacket on Sunday evening. The winner in 2024, Scottie Scheffler, also received $3.6 million dollars, which is a pretty nice pay day. (But Dave said every golfer who plays makes a little bit of money, whether they win or not. How cool is that.)

Where does the Masters take place?

The Masters tournament takes place at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, and this is a private golf club that’s very hard to get into, limiting its exclusive membership to only a few hundred select invited members. Apparently some of the wealthiest folks in the world are members at this club, and it’s pretty impossible for the average joe to get a chance to golf here (employees of the club only get to golf on the course once a year). I’m pretty sure Augusta National doesn’t even have a public-facing website, because I couldn’t find one. Now that’s exclusive.

The Masters scene at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

Augusta National is known for being hilly, beautiful and meticulously maintained, and even though I haven’t spent time at a lot of golf courses, I know a gorgeous course when I see one.

Dave was very into the little details of the course and was in awe of how it looked up close. We enjoyed walking many of the holes while we were there. He explained to me how/where parts of the course were imported and cared for, and I think that’s all so very awesome. To me, it almost looked fake — and that’s just how nice it is.

The course at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

So how did we get to go to the Masters at Augusta National?

Through Dave’s work relationships in the sports industry. We were the recipients of a last-minute invite for an overnight stay and one-day attendance, and yes … we literally jumped at the chance to do this. And we’re so thankful for the person who extended the invite.

And even though this was our first time attending the Masters, it wasn’t Dave’s first invite. Dave received an invite to attend the entire Masters tournament years ago through a sponsoring brand in 2020 and was so pumped to get to experience it … then the world changed, COVID happened, and his Masters dreams were shattered as the tournament was cancelled that year. Every year, he puts his name in the lottery to win tickets and has never been chosen. But this year, through a business relationship, Dave got invited to go to one day of the tournament, and he was allowed to bring a guest … and it was me!

The timing of this trip wasn’t ideal, because we would be getting back from our three-night family trip to NYC on the same day that we needed to head to Augusta. My mom agreed to watch Brady and get him off to school the next day. So we got home from the airport, emptied out our big suitcase, showered up, repacked an overnight bag and were out the door in about 90 minutes after arriving home.

The change in scenery, vibe, weather and atmosphere from NYC to Evans, Georgia (where we stayed for the night) couldn’t have been more drastically different. It was truly a breath of fresh air to get out of the car, walk over to the river and look out at nothing but nature — especially after walking through the bustling streets of the Big Apple for a few days.

Evans Georgia by A Lady Goes West

A little bit about our one-night stay in Evans, Georgia

It took about two-and-a-half hours to get to Evans from Charlotte, and we had an easy drive with no traffic. We arrived at the “host house” that we were given the address to, and things seemed different from the second we entered the neighborhood.

This lovely neighborhood in Evans, Georgia is a prime set-up for Masters guests, so many of the homeowners rent out their places one week a year to visitors. Masters flags were flying on nearly every front stoop.

We stayed in a very nice home, just steps from the host home where we originally arrived. (If this seems confusing, it’s like this: Companies rent out multiple homes for their guests to stay, and one home is the centralized host home for meals and gathering. The other homes are mostly for sleeping. While there, I was told that a lot of these homeowners make a good portion of their yearly mortgage with just a one-week rental fee. Businesses and individuals are willing to pay a ton for Masters housing.)

That night, we enjoyed a delicious catered meal at our host home, and we got a chance to hang out with the very friendly person who invited us (let’s be clear, they invited Dave, but I got to go), and we also met some new people, all of who were very nice. Most of the people staying in the host home (or nearby associated homes with our group) were somehow in the sports world in the Southeast.

I haven’t been at a social gathering like this where I literally knew no one but Dave in some time, and it was actually a great time. We had good conversations, drank good wine, sat outside, and I really loved the several hours we were at this host home gearing up for the next day.

Then … the next day, we woke up early and were ready to head out at 7:30 a.m. to begin our Masters experience. Some people were up and out before us, with shuttles running as early as 6:30 a.m. to get to the course.

Attending day one of the Masters tournament 2024

We were invited to day one of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National, a Monday, which was also the first practice day of Masters week. While some people may think this is the worst day to attend, I actually think it may have been ideal for first-timers, because it wasn’t crazy crowded, the merchandise shop was full of the good stuff, and we were also allowed to bring cameras too. (More on that in a bit.) 

Having access to Berckmans Place

Not only did we get invited to attend the Masters for free, we also had the best perk — access to Berckmans Place, which is a special VIP area at Augusta National, only open during Masters week.

I had never heard of this hospitality mecca before, but Dave was familiar with the idea of it, and he said it was even cooler than he had heard/expected.

Inside this large building, there are multiple sit-down restaurants serving whatever you want (all food and drinks were free inside Berckmans), and a special merchandise shop, lounging areas, fancy restrooms with bathroom attendees and more. There were no cameras allowed inside Berckmans, so of course, I didn’t take any pictures. But I’ll paint you a picture …

Berckmans Place at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

I will tell you that I kept comparing it to a fancier and larger version of Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel in the theming, decor and vibe. I loved walking around in there, and I could have stayed all day. It was a different world. The excitement, the formality, the decor, the people … it was just so very special (a word I’ll be using a lot in this post).

Coming out of Berckmans Place

Berckmans Place also features an outdoor restaurant and special putting greens for guests. We tried out two of the putting greens, and one was made up of small replica holes from the real Augusta National course.

On these putting greens, there were visiting caddies from other country clubs helping us hit balls and understand the layout of the holes with strategies for how the ball would roll. This was really fun for me, even as a non-golfer, and Dave absolutely ate it up. 

Ashley golfing at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

After having a sit-down breakfast inside Berckmans Place and sampling the putting greens, we went out into the main golf course and stayed there the rest of the day. Had we not had to drive back to Charlotte that night after the Masters day one was over, we would have wanted to spend more time in Berckmans, because it was incredible. What a way to start the day!

The Masters at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

The rest of the day, we walked around and took in some golf, as well as enjoyed more food and drinks. Now, let’s talk about what makes the Masters tournament at Augusta National so different.

What’s different about the Masters tournament?

You cannot have a cell phone, a laptop, a beeper or a tablet with you. 

At first I was worried about this aspect of not having a cell phone with me all day, because I’m a mom and feel like I need to always be available. But I alerted Brady’s kindergarten teacher about the situation, and my mom was on call as the emergency contact had anything happened.

So Dave and I went off for a full day of fun with no phones at all. It was weird, but also … it was fabulous. I loved that when we found ourselves with downtime (both in transit to Augusta National and while sitting around), we couldn’t busy ourselves with technology. We just had to chat with each other or think, and that’s a seriously beautiful thing.

And there weren’t people in the bathroom taking selfies, there weren’t annoying people taking loud calls while we watched the golfers — it was all about the here and now. That’s one of the best things about this special day. We just soaked in every little thing that happened with no distractions. I loved that aspect so much.

You can bring a regular camera, but only on practice days Monday through Wednesday, not on tournament days. 

And for me, as a content creator without her phone, it meant I didn’t feel the need to document every little thing that happened with videos for Instagram stories, etc., and that felt nice. We took a few photos on my DSLR camera just to have for memory’s sake. But otherwise, we stayed off technology entirely. I loved that.

Fans at the Masters in Augusta by A Lady Goes West

There are free public phones you can use to make calls during the day.

However, there were a bunch of public phones that you could use to make free calls, and I called my mom while we were there to check in. There was no line for the phones, and we saw a big phone bank in one area for the general public, and there were also several phones in Berckmans Place. Our group used one of these photos to let the driver know we were ready to be picked back up, so they were handy.

The Masters phone at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

You can get a free photo taken at Founder’s Circle.

We stood in a 20-minute line to get our official 2024 Masters tournament photo taken at Founder’s Circle. This was totally free, and we were given a QR code on a little postcard and our image was available for download that evening, about five hours after we took it. I think this is such a special (there we go again with the word special) thing to do for attendees. And I like our photo, which is below.

The Masters at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

The concessions have incredibly low prices.

The food and beverage in the general public areas have historically low prices, and I’ve heard they plan to keep it that way. A sandwich was literally $1.50. A beer was literally $6. Those are unheard of concession prices for a sporting event (and I go to a lot of sporting events, so I would know this fact first hand). The concessions moved quickly, and every employee was incredibly friendly and wearing Masters green.

The food at the Masters at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

The Masters is known for a few signature food and drinks that you have to try while there.

The pimento cheese sandwich, the azalea cocktail and the Georgia peach ice cream sandwich are supposedly the signature and most popular items. So of course, we tried them all while we were there. I also had an egg salad sandwich, and it was delightful. 

The Masters food at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

Everything we ate and drank was delicious, actually. And even though it was clearly mass produced and delivered in on-brand plastic green bags, it felt … special. I almost wish I had bought a few extra sandwiches to bring home. Next time. 

The Masters food at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

You cannot run, you cannot be loud, you cannot use a selfie stick and you cannot ask for autographs, except in designated autograph areas.

I love that the sport of golf is so civilized, and the Masters tournament completely upholds that. Even though there were thousands of people there (I have no idea how many people), it wasn’t loud. Everyone was using their inside voices, no one was screaming, there was no music … it was just so orderly.

I feel like everyone seemed friendly — patrons and employees — and everyone seemed genuinely so excited to be there. I know Dave and I were incredibly grateful to be there, and we mentioned that to each other multiple times throughout the day.

Dave at The Masters at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

You can only get Masters merchandise at the Masters. The merchandise is a big deal!

The first thing we did when we arrived at Berckmans Place and Augusta National was get in the line for the merchandise store.

There is a special merchandise store in Berckmans Place, then several others throughout the golf course. I read a figure that all of the merchandise shops in total make about $70 million dollars over the course of one week. That’s insane. We added to that total, because I got myself a shirt and a bag, Dave got himself several shirts, several hats, a flag and an umbrella, and we also bought some gifts for people and fulfilled some requests from others that asked us to get them stuff. People were loading up their bags, so we weren’t the only ones pumped to shop.

I got a green Masters hat as part of a little welcome gift in our host home, and so I was already decked out in a piece of merchandise upon arrival.

Beer at the Masters at Augusta National by A Lady Goes West

The course is incredibly hilly, and you’ll do a lot of walking to see it.

Dave told me ahead of time how hilly Augusta National would be, so we were prepared in comfy shoes and breathable clothes. While there, we walked about seven miles or 15,000 steps around the golf course — and I don’t think we even made it to every single hole. That’s a lot of walking, especially on incline.

It was super nice in the morning, but it did get a little warm in the afternoon under the sun. Oh and also, there was a solar eclipse while we were there, which was really cool. We got special Masters eclipse glasses to take it in. And it got a little dark at one point in the afternoon during the peak of the eclipse.

Eclipse at the Masters in Augusta by A Lady Goes West

There are too many good holes to watch and too many good places to watch the action to take it all in. You’ll never be able to see as much golf as you want in one day.

Of course, there’s a downside. It’s just too much for one day!

This was actually my third time attending a golf tournament (I’ve been to the Memorial Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, and the Safeway Open (it’s now got a new name) in Napa, California. Both of those experiences were fun, but they were nothing like the Masters, that’s for sure. This golf tournament was exceptional in every way.

Golfers at the Masters in Augusta by A Lady Goes West

And the thing is, when you go to a golf tournament, you have a few ways to watch the golf. You can follow a specific golfing group and walk with them as they move through the course. Or, you can post up at a hole (or a green) and watch all the golfers come through there. At Augusta National, the holes are so beautiful, it’s hard to stay in one place too long. And this means you probably won’t see all the golfers you want to see. 

We stayed and watched at a few holes during our Masters day, and one of the fun ones was hole 16 where the players tried to “skip” their golf balls along a water feature after they teed off. This was a crowd pleaser. We also stayed and watched at the final hole 18, and it was cool to see golfers finish up for the day and wave to the crowd.

Masters golf by A Lady Goes West

While we walked around, we saw some big-time golfers I’d seen on “Full Swing” as well as some up-and-comers. It was definitely neat to see them chat with their caddies, work on strategy and practice different types of putts to get ready for the tournament days. I can’t believe how hard they hit the ball.

Ultimately, as a big-time golf fan, Dave wished we had seen even more golf. And I get that. But personally, I feel like we did pretty much all we could in one full day there.

By the time about 5 p.m. rolled around, it was time to head back to our host home, pack up our things and get back to Charlotte and the real world. Our trip to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National was short, but it sure was sweet.

Tips for you if you ever get to go to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National

Even though it’s hard to get tickets to the Masters, there’s always a chance! Here are a few tips, so you’ll be prepared …

  • Leave your cell phone at home or in your car. And soak up those tech-free, disconnected moments.
  • If it’s a practice day, bring a real-life camera to capture some memories.
  • Pack lightly, maybe just a small belt bag or purse, because you’ll be carrying whatever you have with you all day, and large backpacks/coolers are not allowed inside.
  • Get there early. And when you arrive, go right to the merchandise shop to load up on what you want (there is a place to check your merchandise, so you don’t have to carry it around). The merchandise lines are long, but they move quickly. If you think someone in your life will want you to bring something back for them, ask them their size and exactly what they may want, so you can cut down on decision-making time in the lines.
  • If you go with a friend, make a plan on where to meet if you end up getting separated. Because there are no cell phones, you won’t be able to find each other in the crowd with a text. This happened to a couple people in our group.
  • People watching is so good here, especially the outfits. Now that I’ve been, I suggest wearing light-colored (or green) comfy, preppy clothing and sneakers. I wore a cream-colored sun dress with sneakers, and it was the perfect vibe. A lot of people were in golf clothes too. No jeans, no black and no golfing cleats.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, because you’ll do a ton of walking, and some of it will be hilly.
  • Wear sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. There’s not a lot of shade out on the golf course, so be prepared to be in direct sunlight for most of the day. You’ll probably need to reapply — I know I did.
  • You can bring small folding chairs into the Masters, and if you do, it’s best to put it out super early to save your viewing spot at a hole.
  • Don’t forget to walk up to Founder’s Circle for your free Masters photo session.
  • Plan to get there early and leave late to take in as much as you can. It would have been cool to be there at dusk, but we weren’t able to do that.
  • If you drive there, the parking near the course is free. While we didn’t have a rain/weather delay on our Masters day, they can happen and you’ll be sent back to wait in your car until the weather clears. It may be a good idea to have a cooler of refreshments in your car in case of bad weather to keep you occupied.
  • Be grateful and happy you get to experience something so awesome.

My concluding thoughts on what it’s like to go to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National

Before last week, I probably wouldn’t have said that going to the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National was on my bucket list, but I know Dave would have said it. 

Ashley and Dave at the Masters in Augusta by A Lady Goes West

Yet, now that I’ve experienced the beauty of Augusta National, the tradition and excitement around this famous golf week itself, and the feeling of being part of something so cool — all the while not having a cell phone — I can definitely say that it will be a core memory for me and for us. We truly loved everything about this day. 

On most Mondays, I’m wearing leggings, teaching group fitness classes and then sitting behind a laptop at home or waiting in the school pick-up line. But on one this fine Monday in early April 2024, I was part of the biggest week of golf in a gorgeous setting, and I’m so grateful it happened that way. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever get an invite to go back to Augusta National, but I’ll always watch the Masters moving forward thinking about the one time that I was there in person. Good stuff!

Ashley at the Masters in Augusta by A Lady Goes West
(Here’s my purse, here are my shoes, here are my sunglasses, and here’s a similar dress. By the way, I wore biker shorts under my dress so I would be more comfy sitting on the grass. It was a great idea.)

And that’s what it was like to attend the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National. It was an amazing experience that we won’t soon forget. Thanks for reading, friend. Have a great day!

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4 Comments

  1. I loved this post, Ashley! I’ve never known anyone who attended the Masters, and this was a wonderful close up look! Thank you!

    1. I didn’t know anyone who had gone to the Masters either! It’s such a cool experience to be a part of. And I’ll definitely watch it on TV every year from here on out just because I’ve been! Hope you’re doing well! 🙂

  2. Ah this is so cool! My husband plays and watches a lot of golf, so I’m in the same situation as you really, this was so interesting! What an amazing place and thanks for the recap 🙂

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