Golf lovers around the country are getting excited for the renowned Masters Tournament, which always occurs the first full week of April. The event is the first of four major PGA championships in professional golf. Unlike the other tournaments, the Masters is always held in the same location, in our backyard at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Columbia County locals take the tournament very seriously. They can tell you all the unique customs around the event since its inauguration in 1934. These traditions probably aren’t what you think. The Masters is known for being rooted in tradition, original and of the utmost etiquette. If you’re new to the game, sit back, relax, and enjoy a breakdown of the noteworthy trends and traditions.
Patrons Share Chairs
Spectators at the Masters, who are only allowed to be referred to as “patrons,” can sit in any available chair. Per the rules of the Masters, the chairs belong to anyone until and unless the owner asks to sit there.
Chairs must be foldable and are not allowed to have armrests so they don’t take up too much space. Although any color chair is permitted, most use an unofficial green Masters chair. A shiny new green chair is not the status symbol, though. It’s the worn, less comfortable ones that are coveted. These show that the owner has been to multiple Masters throughout the years.
In traditional old-school style, many people mark their chairs with a business card in a small plastic sleeve on the back of the chair. If someone accidentally takes your chair, there is no need to worry. It’s the kind of event where you’ll get a phone call when they realize their mistake.
Food Prices are Shockingly Cheap
If you can swing the up to $4,000 for Masters tickets (secondary market), you’ll save some money in the food department. The most iconic concession, the pimento cheese sandwich, will cost you just $1.50. The other menu items are equally as inexpensive, from the egg salad and pimento cheese sandwiches to the $5 beers. In fact, if you were to purchase one of each item on the menu, it would cost just $62.
No Cell Phones Allowed
There are absolutely no cell phones allowed at the Masters. You won’t find anyone scrolling through social media or taking selfies here! Everyone is completely present, watching the tournament. However, if you need to make a call, payphones are available. These are a free courtesy provided by the club.
Caddies Must Wear The Augusta Uniform
Until 1983, players had to use local caddies provided by the club. Now, they can use their own caddies. However, they must wear the Augusta Uniform of a white jumpsuit with a green hat.
Commercials Can’t be Longer than 4 Minutes Per Hour
Commercials have gotten so long nowadays. Sometimes, they feel never-ending. At the Masters, you can set your stopwatch for four minutes and run to grab a snack. The commercials will be at most four minutes per hour during the broadcast.
Championship Green Jackets
Perhaps the most recognized Masters tradition is the green jacket. Winners of the Masters are given the blazer on Sunday evening and allowed to hold onto it for a year. The winner must return the jacket at the following year’s tournament and then may only be worn at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Par 3 Contest
A heart-warming and adored tradition, the Par 3 Contest takes place on the Wednesday before the first round of the Masters. Participants and past winners get together for a 9-hole par-3 course and some friendly competition. Golfers’ loved ones often act as caddies, from children to wives, and dress in traditional caddie outfits. You may see Tiger woods and his son Charlie!
The Championship Dinner is held on Tuesday of Masters week each year. Past winners enjoy dinner and exchange stories for a night to remember. One thing patrons always want to know: What’s on the menu? The current reigning champ decides the menu, usually based on their favorite foods or the cuisine they grew up with. It’s customary for the menu to be released to the public before the gathering.
Every year, the tournament chooses “Honorary Starters” to hit the first shots of the week. The honor is bestowed upon past tournament winners and other professional golfers.
Long before Airbnb, Augusta area residents rented their homes to golfers and patrons. The Masters home rental market began in 1970, when the tournament’s growth exceeded area hotel capacity at the time. While hotels are still a primary option, the home rental market has been increasingly popular. For a listing of accommodations, visit our lodging page.
Masters Gear Can Only Be Purchased at the Golf Shop
There’s a reason Masters gear sells for so much on the secondary market. It’s extremely difficult to come by. The merchandise is only sold at Augusta National during the tournament week. You must be a player, someone with a badge during Masters week, or one of the club members to get your hands on it. For those who manage to attain a hat, shirt, or another souvenir, it’s an exclusive status symbol.
Believe it or not, these are just some of the beloved traditions of the Masters. As the world changes, we’re lucky to have this little slice of southern tradition remain the same. So, who’s going to the Masters this year?