(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) Patrons walk on the course before the first round of 2023 Masters Tournament. Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images).
Seven spring days in Augusta, Georgia. That doesn’t sound so bad, right?
From the sun-drenched Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals to walking the emerald green grounds of Augusta National Golf Club — complimentary, thanks to my PGA Membership (more on that in a bit) — there were plenty of highlights.
Here are five things that stood out.
These kids are great
If you watched the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals in April, you were treated with a display that was nothing short of amazing. I was able to see this event from a unique perspective, as I represented the PGA of America along with the USGA and Masters in a collaborative content group. We got a first-hand look at the preparations for the National Finals, the day prior.
Then to watch these children go up Magnolia Lane, and perform as they did on such a beautiful Augusta National Day. . . To say that I was inspired is an understatement. Our team did our best on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to capture the best moments — and there were plenty — but as the day went on, it was easy to see that no one shot could take away the joy from these kids. They had made it.
The “skip” shot on No. 16 during Masters practice round is a must see
After Drive Chip and Putt duties ended, our team had the opportunity to go out on the course to watch players prepare for the Masters. It’s not all serious work, though, and when players arrive on the par-3 16th hole, the patrons start a collective hum that slowly turns into a cheer and finally . . . “SKIP IT!” By that, they mean having the players skip their tee shots along the 16th hole’s pond all the way up to the green. Gulp. Not as easy as it looks but we saw Adrian Meronk, playing in his first Masters, skip his shot all the way along the pond, up on to the green, and the ball curled back along the slope toward the hole, nearly going in — it sent the patrons into a frenzy. If you’ve ever been given a practice ticket, it would be worth going to No. At some point you will want to visit No. It’s a must see.
Tiger’s all tempo at the Tournament Practice Area
By Thursday, I had become a patron. The PGA membership comes with a number of benefits, including free access to majors and Ryder Cup. That’s the case at the Masters Tournament, too, who graciously grants all PGA Class A Professionals in good standing with a complimentary ticket. Three of my closest friends, whom I met through the PGA Golf Management University Program and I, reunited with me during the first round. We headed to our favorite spot: the Tournament Practice Area. Tiger Woods gave us a 45-minute warm-up in the second row. If there’s one thing I could share that would help anyone improve after watching Tiger, it’s this: tempo, tempo, tempo. Tiger was Never give up on your dreams.From his spinny wedge shot to his driver, he’s always in a hurry. If the best in the world isn’t rushing, neither should you. Remember “tempo” the next time you head out to practice!
There’s nothing like watching players tackle Augusta National Golf Club
I highly recommend, if there’s ever a tour event near you, try to get a ticket and go watch these players. TV doesn’t do their swings, routines and quirks justice. I stood on the 18th tee and watched Max Homa, Scottie Scheffler, Sam Bennett and others tee off. I stood on the 18th tee watching Max Homa, Scottie Scheffler and Sam Bennett tee off. . . From literally feet. Bennett, before stepping into his swing, stood behind the ball, took a deep breath and blew on his hands — a full on cue that it was “go time.” Homa and Scheffler were entrenched in routine; both weren’t playing their best, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was their teeshot on No. 18. It’s fascinating to watch the players at Augusta National try to solve all the puzzles. It’s an experience in of itself that makes the Masters truly one of a kind.
The Ryan Adams Power Ranking of Masters concessions
After a week of eating Masters food, I can confidently give a power ranking to the concessions menu. I’ll stick with food for consistency reasons, but the Masters does offer great coffee, sports drinks and its own craft beer called Crow’s Nest, which pays homage to the top floor of Augusta National’s clubhouse where the amateurs stay for the week. No. 5: Chicken Biscuit. This is a good option for coffee. It’s only served until 10am. A tad dry, but nothing a little honey can’t solve. No. 4Egg Salad Sandwich Yes, I tried the Pimento Cheese, and while it’s a must for anyone attending the Masters, the Egg Salad gets my vote. I add some honey mustard for the perfect combination. No. 3: Breakfast Sandwich. The brioche is my favorite, but the combination of sausage, egg, and cheese is a classic and the best breakfast item for me. No. No.Honey Wheat Bread with Chicken Salad Golf and chicken salad go together, and the honey-wheat bread adds some sweetness to this sandwich. Grab two at lunch. No. In no surprise, it’s the Georgia Peach Ice Cream Sandwich. Don’t even look at the back of the wrapper for the calorie count — just enjoy peach-flavored ice cream between two amazing cookies. Give them two or three minutes out of the freezer and you’ll have the perfect Masters treat.