“Man look at this grass, it’s just so, I mean it’s just so… green.”

I can totally empathise with this first-time all-American spectator I ran into by the 1st tee at Augusta today. As a fellow Masters virgin on my first reconnaissance mission all I can say is wow, wow, wow, oh and WOW.

Apologies but I think I am still suffering from severe shell shock, it’s fair to say that the inane grin has certainly not left my boat. In fact, that’s one of the first things that struck me about this very special place – it’s a dentist’s nightmare, everyone has the same dis-believing smile permanently plastered to their face. It’s like we have all entered a highly exclusive cult, drunk deeply from the intoxicating well and we’re all rather pleased about it. It has got my vote.

I have to admit that I entered the gates today a little nervous, I was concerned that having been told how lucky I was by so many people, been informed about how incredible it was and heard countless classic stories from my travelling companions on the way here, I was going to be slightly disappointed or even worse I wasn’t going to get it. Oh, no, no, no, no no – I get it all right and I’m not sure I will ever leave.

So strong is the sense of well-being, contentment and inexhaustible goodwill towards all of God’s creatures that consumes everyone privileged enough to be here that were I made Sec Gen of the UN (not inconceivable I may add) a trip here for Bush, Rice and Co would be top of my agenda.

The first real golfer – so overwhelming is the course that you forget people are here to play a tournament – I encountered was Zach Johnson teeing off at the 1st. Not a bad start then.

After that it was straight to Amen Corner – I couldn’t resist. The gradient at 11, the ludicrously difficult approach to follow, the sheer beauty of 12 and then the majestic horror that is 13. Woh, not sure quite how you play that bad boy.

Normally, at the Majors I have been lucky enough to attend, I am still totally star-struck and desperate to see my heroes in action. However, despite Woods, Mickelson, Rose, Karlsson and Garcia playing while I was out and about, it wasn’t them I was looking to see, it was just the golf course. It’s everything and then a whole lot more than I had been told about.

As I approached 18, a guy in the requisite baseball cap and Bermuda shorts was (half) jokingly asking the steward if he could dig up some turf and take it away with him. Good call from the Yank.

Best thing of all about the first wander around? It’s got to be that there are another five days left!