Gearing Up for My Second Trip to the Masters
It wasn’t easy, but I’m now sitting on my flight to Augusta where on Thursday I’ll be taking a trip to the Masters for my second year in a row (here’s last years recap).
I’m not exactly sure why, but this year I’m even more excited to head down there than I was last year.
Perhaps it’s because I’ll be playing 3 or 4 rounds of golf in Augusta and nearby Hilton Head. It could be because I know what to expect and I know just how unbelievable it really is.
However I think the primary reason is that I’m just more excited about golf than I was a year ago. I’ve started this site, been playing more, and I think I appreciate just how special the opportunity to go not once, but twice really is.
Let’s Back Up: How I Scored a Ticket to the Masters
Almost four years ago I started my main blog Location 180.
The whole goal of the site at the time was to hold myself accountable for all of the things I really wanted to do in my life – one of these things being Play Golf at Augusta National.
The site has since morphed and now I help people build small businesses they can run from anywhere – but the bucket list is still in full swing, with over 30 items crossed off in the last few years.
Late in 2011 I got an email from a reader named Gene Jennings that went something like this:
“Hi Sean, I’ve lived in Augusta for my whole life, and while I can’t get you on the course, I’d like to invite you to be my guest at the Masters this year..”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
At first I thought it was some cruel joke. After talking more with him though I realized not only was he serious, but he was one of the most generous people I’ve ever met.
We went to the tournament last year and had an incredible time, full of inside jokes, and lots of tradition.
Imagine my surprise when earlier this year I receive another email saying he had a few people lined up to go and they all bailed.
First thought: Who on Earth would bail on Masters tickets?
Second though: I love you Gene.
So now I find myself on a flight that was supposed to have not one, or even two, but THREE layovers. As I found out last year, getting to Augusta during Masters week on the cheap isn’t easy.
Luckily I was able to change my flight 30 minutes before to a direct flight from PDX to ATL.
Things I’m Excited About for Year Two
Last year I had no idea what to expect so I was pretty much just like a little kid on his first trip to Disneyland. This year I’m trying to be more prepared.
I attended Friday’s round last year, but this go around I had the option of Thursday or Saturday.
While Saturday may be moving day with more excitement from a competitive stand point, I figured Thursday will have fewer crowds, more going on, and a better opportunity to actually see what’s going on.
A few of the things I’m looking forward to most:
- Getting a photo at the tournament. I did a little research and thanks to some kind folks over at The Sand Trap realized that you can actually get a photo at the tournament. Apparently you can get your photo in front of the traditional Masters logo and they post them online – something I’m particularly excited about seeing as how no phones or cameras are allowed on the grounds.
- Ceremonial Tee Off. I’ve heard from a few people that was one of their favorite experiences of the whole tournament, so to get to see 3 legends all at once is pretty cool.
- Azaleas – Last year the beautiful colors that Augusta National is known for were, well, just green. The flowers bloomed early, so I’m hoping this year will be different
- Cheap food and drinks – I was shocked last year when I found out that sandwhiches were $1.50. Coffee $1. Beer $3. It’s unbelievable. And the giant lines you have to wait in to get served, are faster than you could ever believe. The Masters is truly one of the most well oiled machines out there – Amusement parks and every single other event in the world, take note.
- Actually getting to golf. After the tournament all I wanted to do was go hit a golf course! This time, Gene and I will be teeing it up the Wednesday before and I’ll be getting a few rounds in after the tournament as well.