Saturday, March 31st we dropped Janice’s sister Connie and her husband Lee at the Jacksonville airport and began our drive to Augusta for the Monday practice round at the Masters. We forget how many beautiful locations there are going up the east coast, that we normally just drive by to get home. Saturday night we stayed at the Georgia State Park on Jekyll Island. The Island is beautiful and we enjoyed a round of golf Sunday morning on the Oleander course. The course designed by architect Dick Wilson in 1964 was created on the grounds of the 34th oldest registered golf course in the United States. It is the local’s favorite and was challenging and fun to play. Finishing up about 1:00, we headed out for the 4 hour trip to Augusta. We plan to return to Jekyll Island. Possibly this fall and spend several days.
We arrived in Augusta and went directly to the Highlander RV park to register the RV and check out our “accommodations” (power, water and other necessities). With that done we took off to go cross town to the Augusta National Golf Course and see where we could park in the morning. The drive through the neighborhoods near the course was a pleasure as we saw so many large beautiful homes.
Having gotten the layout of the parking we returned to the RV Park for the evening. Setting our clock for 5:30 we got a good nights sleep- until the alarm!!
We headed out to Augusta National about 6:30 and got parked by 7:00 in the second row. With the gates not opening until 8:00 we walked up to the main gate and got in line for one of the golf stores. We had the shopping list for family and friends, mostly for ourselves and picked up shirts, towels and hats with the Masters logo. It is interesting, Master merchandise is only available at the course. We took the bag back to the Roadtrek and then headed to Gate 9.
Janice had been to the Masters while working the tournament as part of the IBM team. The changes to the course were subtle, the changes to the infrastructure and security was tremendous
Upon entry the beauty everywhere was a thrill. We made our way down to Amen Corner. Climbing our way up to the 15thfairway,
Thinking the best way to see the golf course, we headed over to the first hole. With the ninth hole right next to the first we watched Tom Watson hit his ball into nine. Watching him walk up to the green, you got a great appreciation for how tiring the course is to walk. UP AND DOWN, UP AND DOWN!!! Walking the first hole and then back down the second hole gave such a great appreciation for the elevation changes. The only flat points on the course are the tees. It seems like all the lies are up hill, down hill, side hill or just hard! We caught up with a lot of the golfers, but the show was the course!
We strolled by the club house and passed the Eisenhower Cabin built in the early 1950s after Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s election as President of the United States. It was built to specs provided by the Secret Service to secure the residence specifically for the President and Mrs. Eisenhower. Still beautiful, Rory McIlroy stayed there on a visit in 2010 and was surprised how large the three floor and 6-7 bedroom home was.
Lunchtime: The concessions are of great interest. When have you last seen an egg salad sandwich for $1.50 and imported beer for $3.75, needless to say, since the plastic cups are collectibles, of course, we have a nice collection of 6 cups for the Roadtrek.
We took our lunch to the stands over looking the par 3 at 12 and the Hogan Bridge. With the temperature around 90 degrees, it was like a hot box!
We continued to walk the course and sat in the stands overlooking the 15th green and the 16thpar 3.
Part of the fun with the practice rounds is that the players drop a ball at the edge of the water on 16 and try to hit and skip it off the water and up to the green. The loud cheers sound like there was just a hole-in-one!
Having walked the whole course it was time to call it a day. The legs were sore, but the thrill of the day will be remembered for years to come. It will make watching the Masters such a different experience on TV.
Stayed Tuned as we start our Spring and Summer of RoadTrek’ing. Next is the Alabama golf trail. We will be playing 12 courses with our friends from the Alaska adventure Pete and Bunny in May!