"It's just golfing heaven; there's not a blade of grass out of place," said Graeme McDowell. Home to the biggest competition in the golfing calendar, The Masters, Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most historic and memorable clubs in the world. Every big name in golf has played at Augusta and notable winners include the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
For the players coming through the ranks presently, they may say the main thing that only Augusta National can offer is the history that it is steeped in. The first Masters was held in 1934 and it is safe to say every year since it began, the competition has never failed to deliver a tense and close tournament. The Masters is the only tournament in golf in which the playoff is sudden death, leading to even more closely fought and tight tournaments, and it is therefore always a fans’ favourite. But perhaps the most unique thing about the golf club and the Masters tournament is the green jacket given to each winner. It is the prize a golfer dreams to win over any other. The list of players who own a green jacket is indeed very prestigious and the honour of being among these names should be a great motivation for any golfer.
Alongside the players and the history of the club, some of the challenges and features of the course are what makes playing there so special and unlike any other round of golf. Perhaps the most notable feature is “amen corner”, the 11th, 12th and 13th holes on the course, since they pose a challenge which cannot be replicated. Under the intense pressure of the tournament these holes have seen the downfall of many a great player, costing them the title. Most recently, in 2016 Jordan Spieth had a four shot lead, but the immense pressure led to a nightmare around amen corner and subsequently he lost by three shots. Its miracle shots and tight tournaments make the Masters such a spectacle year on year, and without a doubt the unique and quirky features of the course lead to these historic tournaments.
For the players themselves, outside of the golf, features of the Augusta such as the club house and the entrance down Magnolia Lane help to make the whole experience unique and therefore such an honour to attend. Graeme McDowell in fact proclaimed that, "There's nothing quite like it when you pull in the gates of Magnolia Lane." It would seem, therefore, that the experience of being in the club, separate from the actual sport, is one the players all cherish and look forward to.
In conclusion, the uniqueness of the golf club and the Masters is what makes the whole experience for players and fans so special. The Masters never fails to deliver a suspenseful and well fought tournament with a deserved winner, a feature of the tournament that makes it such a special week for both the players and the golfing fans.
Original Image by Sam Quinn