With Sky Sports set to take its Masters coverage to new heights next week, Rob Lee and commentator Ewen Murray have been waxing lyrical about the venue that sits in a class of its own.
The Masters is widely regarded as the start of the golf season and of the four Majors, it’s the only one that returns to the same course each year.
“As an event, it can’t be bettered,” says Lee, who will be presenting the Masters Breakfast highlights show with special guests David Howell and Billy Foster. “It’s better than anything else, I think.”
Like Lee, however, Murray is keen to stress it’s the package as a whole that sets Augusta National apart and that ordinarily, the course alone would not make his top ten.
“It’s very hilly,” says Murray. “It’s quite wide open. Personally I look at the great courses around the world like Carnoustie, Dornoch, some of the courses in Southport.
“The defence of Augusta is the greens and if you played there you would think the same. You would love it because you were playing Augusta just like anyone playing at St Andrews would love it because you tee off in front of The R&A office with the history of the game and all that.
“As a golf course it’s beautiful to play, but there are many others that are better.”
However, Murray, acknowledges the special atmosphere only Augusta seems to generate, adding: “It’s probably the best golfing experience I’ve ever had.
“I remember as a kid, sitting in front of the television, five to nine on the Saturday evening wishing the seconds away because it’s beautiful, it’s a botanical garden.
Augusta is renowned for its azaleas and patrons, but it’s the hallowed turf and the immaculate conditioning that Murray remembers most about one of his visits to Augusta.
“I played once with Bruce Critchley and it was just an amazing experience. I actually walked round looking for a weed and I couldn’t fine one,” jokes Murray.
“I hit my first shot from the fairway and I almost wanted to thin it. I didn’t want to damage the ground. It was just like the most perfect lawn.”
This year’s Masters coverage on Sky will be in HD and 3D, and it’s this experience that will allow viewers to truly appreciate the topography at Augusta National.
“It lends itself perfectly to 3D,” adds Lee. “You see people tee off on 10, it’s like a ski slope. I can’t believe, when I went there, how steep it was. It’s ridiculous. The gum trees are 100 feet high where the drives are landing.
“You are at the top of the gum tress where you’re driving, that’s how high you are and it drops way, way down. In 3D you can see it much more than you can on TV.”
All four days of live coverage will be available in HD, 3D, on PC and on mobile devices via Sky Go and through Sky Sports for iPad.