4.23.2014

The Masters 2014 - Augusta National

I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the practice round for Brandon's birthday this year. 
His birthday is April 19, but he absolutely loves golf and has always dreamt of going to The Masters. 
Truthfully, so have I. 
We wanted to go to the practice round on our first trip so that we could take pictures...and that we did!
We took over 400 to be exact!
It was one of the best days of our lives!
We had so much fun, just the two of us.
I still can not get over the beauty of that sacred ground. I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden.
It was so unbelievably breathtaking.
 Our passes were for Tuesday, April 8. 
Brandon had to work Monday and we had an obligation in Macon Monday night, which made travel a bit tricky.
After our event in Macon we drove up to Milledgeville to stay the night with one of our dearest friends, Elaine, who happens to be a Veterinarian at Heart of Georgia in Milledgeville.
Elaine also happens to be from Augusta and her family has tickets to the Masters every year. 
Anyway, we stayed up talking until 2:30AM and my alarm went off at 4:45AM.
It was painful getting up to say the least, but it was worth it for the Masters.
We traveled down two lane country roads with no traffic and made it in an hour and a half-just after the gates opened, which Brandon was adamant about so we could walk all 18 holes right off the bat.
Gates open at 8AM.
 As excited as I was about the food, I hate to report that the biscuits were horrible.
I threw mine in the trash and just dove in with an egg salad sandwich.
 Egg salad sandwiches and sweet tea - the breakfast of champions, well maybe golf champions.
 
We started off our morning by following one of our favorites, Phil Mickelson. 
He is the epitome of class.
Jason Dufner was playing with him, so we watched him, too.
 Every little thing is immaculate. The service is prompt. Everything was a pleasure.
 These little lovies were heaven in your mouth. 
Georgia peach ice cream sandwiched between soft, moist sugar cookies...straight up my alley!
By the way, the $1.50 drinks (sweet tea, lemonade, etc.) come with a cup.
 My handsome fella getting a 10AM snack.
 The most beautiful pink dogwoods you've ever seen.
 Live oaks and resurrection ferns to my delight.
 Eating an ice cream sandwich.
 The most beautiful grass in the world.
We could not believe we were standing on it!
 Where Bubba Watson sealed the deal in 2012.
 Thousands of perfect azaleas everywhere you look.
 We hung out at Amen Corner for a while.
 Eating again...I swear I ate 10 sandwiches.
 Bubba Watson, our favorite, finally made his appearance around 3:15PM, so we followed him the rest of the afternoon.
 Representing the Bulldawg Nation!!
 Bubba is very serious, very focused. People were shouting at him and barking at him (that's what Dawg fans do) and he never once acknowledged any of it. 
He kept his eye on the ball.
 Beautiful grounds and scenery everywhere you look.
 Everything was immaculate. 
We saw not one single weed or even the slightest dusting of pollen. 
It truly was heavenly, nothing spoiled.
Just how I imagine the New Earth to be.
Television and pictures do not do this place justice. 
It's like trying to take a picture of a glacier...you just have to be there to witness it in person.
 You have to wait in line to get your picture taken at Founder's Circle, and once you get there you better snap the pictures fast!
 An employee takes your picture and gives you a card and the quality is horrible, but it's free.
 Magnolia Lane...gorgeous!
 Eating again...
 Native azaleas.
The gates close at approximately 6:30 PM. 
If you ever get the opportunity to attend The Masters, you really should.
The beauty you will witness is unmatched, in my Southern opinion. 
We had the most wonderful day even though we'd only slept a few hours the night before and we walked probably 8 miles at least. 
After we left we felt rejuvenated rather than weary. 
It was an experience we will never forget and I'm so thankful I got to share it with Brandon.
Happy Birthday, Honey! 

*My dress is the Lilly Pulitzer Eaton Shift in Pop Pink Southern Charm print.
My sweater is the Lilly Pulitzer Athena Crochet in Pop Pink
My hat was from Target last year.
My Sperry's were bought at a shop in Pawley's Island, SC 7 years ago. 

TIPS AND OTHER INFORMATION
1. Cell phones, beepers and other electronic devices are NOT allowed.
Seriously, it's not even worth trying to sneak it in because if you get caught you get thrown out.
Just enjoy the peace. Where else can you be with 50,000 other people and no one has a cell phone?
Embrace the silence! It was so refreshing. 
They have plenty of really nice free phone booths in Augusta National if you need to make an outside call.
That being said, don't get split up from others in your group without having a meeting plan because there are thousands of people wearing virtually the same outfits. 

2. The food is super cheap and super yummy. 
That being said, the merchandise is super expensive!!!!
Be prepared to spend hundreds-possibly thousands- of dollars. Seriously. 
Speaking of gift shops, the merchandise can be overwhelming and the shops are very crowded. 
If you are getting gifts take a list with you because chances are you will lose all train of thought and all sanity once you're there. 
Try to know what you're looking for ahead of time if possible.

3. Be prepared to walk. A lot.
Wear comfortable shoes. I wore Sperry's and they were great.
If I had worn sandals or something other than tennis shoes I would have been miserable.
The terrain is much hillier than you would think-very steep in places. 

4. Take your camera if you have practice round tickets.
If you have actual passes Thurs.-Sun. you can NOT take your camera, unfortunately.
All you will have is the memories in your mind.

5. Parking is free! There is plenty of parking. All of the lots are grassy. Don't forget where you parked though, and you can't take a picture with your phone because you can't take your phone in. 
Traffic is very heavy, so plan accordingly.

6. Dress in layers!! It poured down raining the day before we were there and thankfully it cleared up and was beautiful when we got there. It was really cool in the morning but it warmed up in the afternoon. We were blessed to have perfect weather: warm and breezy-neither of us broke a sweat all day, but this is April in Georgia.
Anything could happen. 
Definitely bring: jacket, poncho/rain jacket, hat, sunglasses, a change of clothes to leave in the car just in case, extra socks, an umbrella.
Sunscreen is a good idea-expensive if you  purchase on site.

7. Bag/purse size restrictions are 10"x10"x12". This policy is strictly enforced. You can always go back to  your car to drop off merchandise, bags, jackets, etc. and get back in with no problem. 
Be prepared to go through security lines anytime you enter Augusta National. 

8. THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE PROHIBITED: coolers, alcohol, folding chairs with arms, weapons of any kind regardless of permit, flags, banners, signs, golf shoes with metal spikes, strollers, walkie talkies, radios, TVs, tape recorders, ladders and periscopes

9. Buy some extra sandwiches at the end of the day for the road. 
Trust me on this one. 
Next time I'll have a cooler in the car and I'll take home some of those incredible ice cream sandwiches, too.

10. Have the time of your life and savor every single second!