Now for you non-golf fans or non-Southerners the title of this post might suggest that I am going to write about S&M, BDSM or discuss the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. Sorry to disappoint you? No, this is a special week for golfers and non-golfers alike in the South, The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia begins Thursday and lucky me, I got a ticket for Sunday, or a “Badge” as a ticket is called.
I have attended several golf tournaments in my life but I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, none of them compare to the setting of The Augusta National Country Club. If you are a fan of Southern flora, Dogwoods, Azaleas, Camellias, Wisteria, and green grass this is your heaven. Oh, and the golf is pretty spectacular as well.
I have been going to the The Masters since I was eight years old. I have eaten my weight in egg salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, still just a $1.50. I have wandered the grounds in amazement looking for a weed, you can’t find one. And marveled at the simple delicate beauty of a pink Azalea bloom, they are everywhere.
We have had a very warm winter so I am going to be interested to see how the grounds look. The horticulturist, and landscape crews at The Masters are magicians. They use crushed-ice spread around the roots of the plants to fool them into staying dormant and then work their magic so the peak is perfect for one week, one glorious week, this week.
For many, including myself, the “experience” of The Masters is more important than the golf. I like golf, but I love walking the course with a pimento cheese sandwich and cold beer in my hand. Now a days, it is a hard ticket, I mean badge, to get. When I was a kid finding someone who had badges was easy, everyone that I knew had them. But the folks at The Masters tracks those badges. If you are one of the lucky ones that can still buy them Augusta has your social security number so when you die, guess what, you can’t will them to your son or daughter, poof, they go away just like you do.
In the old days, I remember friends of mine whose family had the “privilege” to buy six, maybe even eight badges. My wife’s grandfather could buy four. After he died his widow continued to get the letter for badges and my father-in-law would pay for them and then one day that letter quit coming.
My Dad can buy two badges. He got on list in the 70’s before they closed the waiting list and then did away with the waiting list. The logistics of getting the badges are a pain in the ass so I don’t use his very often but my wife hasn’t been in a while so I thought I would treat her and myself one more time. Who knows, it could be my last chance to walk through heaven here on earth with a cold beer and pimento cheese sandwich in my hands.