To walk inside Augusta National's beautiful clubhouse was a real privilege
A Tour of Augusta National’s Historic Clubhouse
Augusta National is steeped in history and tradition and arguably the most iconic golf course in the entire world, so to walk inside its beautiful clubhouse was a real privilege.
Press are given unbelievable access at the US Masters, something that stretches back to the earliest days of the tournament.
Bobby Jones, when he was trying to get his new event off the ground, scheduled it in April so reporters could cover it on their way back from baseball spring training (pre-season).
Indeed, you really get the sense that the club, and the tournament, feels indebted to journalists – you only need to look at the lavish, state-of-the-art media centre to see that.
The entrance to the clubhouse is to the left side of the first tee. To get inside, you walk past a giant tree – where interviews take place, managers wait for their players and so on.
The first thing I did was head up the stairs – past portraits of players and club administrators past and present – through a lounge area and onto the outside veranda. From there, I gazed out over the first tee and looked down on the lawn outside, where guests were enjoying lunch. It’s probably my favourite spot at Augusta National, along with the right side of the 11th green.
I then popped in to the restaurant and walked through another lounge are to a hallway with some of the most amazing old photographs and historical documents.
On that really caught my attention was a letter from Augusta National designer Alister MacKenzie to Clifford Roberts in 1931. In it, he lauded Bobby Jones.
“If, as I suspect, Augusta National becomes the best inland course in the world, it will be because of Bobby Jones’ vision and influence,” he wrote. Prophetic stuff.
It was also interesting to note that MacKenzie originally intended for “several” holes to be bunkerless – something he underlined in his letter.
Next to the framed letter was a photograph, taken in 1931, of Jones looking out over an endless sea of mud during the construction phase. I’m not sure I’ve seen an image like it before.
There’s also the initial letter sent from Jones to prospective members in 1932, shortly after the completion of the course.
The clubhouse is a wonderful place situated in the grounds of the most wonderful of all places. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back to Augusta National, but I’ll be doing everything I possible can to make sure I return.
Attend The 2018 Masters with Your Golf Travel – visit yourgolftravel.com/us-masters Experiences including flights, hotels & tickets are available. Nick Bonfield travelled to the 2017 Masters courtesy of Your Golf Travel.