History of Augusta National
Every green, fairway and tee overflows with history and tradition. From Amen Corner to Rae's Creek, every part of Augusta National has a story to tell. The story of "the house that Bobby built" starts back in the 1930s with the retirement of golf-legend Bobby Jones at the age of 28 ("History of the Masters: Bobby Jones"). Bobby Jones was famous for winning nine major titles from 1923 to 1929 and then capturing the Grand Slam in 1930 -- winning the British Amateur, British Open, United States Open and United States Amateur (Sowell). Upon his retirement, he set out to build his dream golf course with the help of Wall Street investment banker Clifford Roberts ("History of the Masters: History of the Club"). Jones hoped his golf course would enhance the game of golf and be a personal expression of his beliefs about course architecture ("History of the Masters: History of the Club").
Bobby Jones, born in Atlanta, Georgia, found his perfect piece of land in Augusta, Georgia. The land was formerly owned by Fruitland Nurseries, which grew imported plants. As a result of the nursery, the land was covered with beautiful flowering trees and shrubs ("History of the Masters: History of the Club"). Jones planned to utilize the natural contours of the beautiful land to shape his dream course.
Jones with the help of Scottish golf course architect Alister MacKenzie designed and built the golf course on the 356 acres of land purchased from Fruitland Nurseries and formally opened the course January 1933 ("History of the Masters: History of the Club").
Jones and Roberts then scheduled the first tournament to be played in 1934. Roberts wanted to call the tournament the Masters, but Jones didn't like the name because it was too presumptuous. The tournament was titled Augusta National Invitational until 1938 when Jones relented (Sowell). The tournament played at Augusta National during the first full week in April is still called the Masters today.
How to Become a Member of Augusta National
Odds are that unless you are wealthy, well connected, powerful and a man, you won't ever be a member at Augusta National (McCarthy). There is no application process, and membership is by invitation only (McCarthy). The membership is kept around 300, and corporate leaders and wealthy family names fill the list (McCarthy). You would probably have a better chance of qualifying to play in the Masters than getting invited to join Augusta National.
How to see Augusta National in Person
If you dream of seeing Augusta National and don't have a shot at qualifying for the Masters or getting invited to join the club, don't despair. There is a way to see Augusta National in person, and no, you don't have to blackmail, bribe or threaten anyone. Numerous Web sites sell tickets and badges for the Masters Golf Tournament, which is held at Augusta National each spring. However, because tickets are only available to Augusta National members, you will be buying from the secondary market, which means you will be paying a hefty price. For example, if you were looking for tickets to the 2005 Masters Golf Tournament, a practice round ticket would have cost about $222 to $351, a one-day tournament badge about $832 to $1,664 and a four-day badge about $3,301 (SportsEye).
To see a piece of golf history up close isn't cheap, but visiting Augusta National may be worth the memories. However, if you are like most people you will have to just enjoy the view of Augusta National from the TV screen. Although, if you are a wealthy man with powerful friends, keep your fingers crossed. Your membership invitation may be in the mail. But, don't hold your breath.