Insider's Guide: The Masters

Simon Elliott

Veteran Masters Guide

This year, I had the privilege—and the pleasure—of leading a B&R group at the Masters for the fourth time this past April. “It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it,” is something I often find myself saying with a wink to our B&R travellers. If you haven’t yet made the in-person pilgrimage to Augusta National, you’re missing out. For lifelong golf fanatics like me, there’s nothing that compares to the electric atmosphere and the hush (or roar!) of the crowds as the world’s top golfers vie for the coveted green jacket each spring.

The night before the tournament, the level of excitement—and even anxiety—at dinner the evening before we head to Augusta is palpable. People want to know every detail about the morning and, most importantly, where to plant their chairs.

The Most Important Decision You’ll Make All Day

One of the better-known traditions at Augusta National involves the chair, which we provide for all our travellers. While there are grandstands on some holes at the Masters, most of the seating comes from folding chairs, which patrons carry around. Our recommendation is always to make planting your chair a top priority when you first get to the course each day. Once you do, you can walk around for the rest of the day with full confidence that no one will take your chair. People may sit in it while you aren’t there (and many people do), but a simple tap on the shoulder and they are happy to give it right back to you.

This year, I found myself mediating a family discussion about where our travellers should spend their afternoon. Was it at Amen Corner or the 16th hole? Our travellers ended up splitting up for the afternoon. With no digital devices allowed on the grounds, having good sightlines and a nearby leaderboard, charmingly updated by hand, are keys to the ultimate throwback experience at the ‘Cathedral in the Pines’. Binoculars are also a great idea.

Where to Plant Your Chair at Augusta

Chair placement is crucial to your Masters experience! Here’s a detailed description of some of the locations that Masters patrons know to be the best spots to set up, and where, over the years, I’ve helped travellers grab the best seats.

Make the most of your time at Augusta at the following locations:

Amen Corner – behind the 12th tee

Amen Corner, one of the most iconic stretches in golf, encompasses the fairway and green of the par-4 11th hole, the entire par-3 12th hole and the tee shot on the par-5 13th. It is the first look golfers get at water on Augusta National, and is the site of many key moments in Masters Victories past, not to mention a fair share of meltdowns. Jordan Spieth has found the water on the 12th two years in a row, and many other Masters meltdowns have started here. Beyond just watching the 12th hole at Amen Corner is the ability to watch play on two other holes as well – the 11th plays very tough most days of the Masters, and yields just as many exciting moments and meltdowns.

Jordan Spieth Meltdown (2016)

The 16th hole – Redbud

One of the most iconic holes at Augusta National, this is one of the more exciting places to plant yourself for an exciting Sunday finish at the Masters. A medium length Par-3 at 170 yards, the excitement comes from the tricky L-shaped green, which slopes heavily down to the pond that stretches almost the entire length of the tee shot. More hole-in-ones are made here than any other par-3 at Augusta, and the typical Sunday pin position makes for exciting tee shots and really tricky putts. This is where Tiger Woods chipped in from what seemed like an impossible lie to win the Masters in 2005:

Tiger Woods Chip 1 (2005)

Tiger Woods Chip 2 (2005)

From the hill next to 16, you can also watch the approach shots and the green at 15, so this is another great location from which to watch two holes. 15/16 are especially fun on practice rounds – a tradition on the Monday and Tuesday involves players trying to skip their shots over the pond and on to the green, which leads to this kind of practice round excitement:

Martin Kaymer Chip In (2012)

The 18th hole – Holly

The toughest place on the course to plant your chair, people line up outside the gates to ensure they are first on the course for a good spot. If you’d like to watch the final pairings from your own chair on Masters Sunday, you’ll have to arrive at 7 a.m., wait for the gates to open at 8, before walking briskly (there is no running at Augusta—use your Southern decorum!) to the 18th green to place your chair. While this does guarantee you will watch the final putt holed (unless it goes to a playoff which could end on hole 10), it doesn’t offer a great vantage point for the rest of the golf Sunday has to offer. 18 is on a tremendous hill which is not apparent on TV, so most seats at the green cannot see what happens below the greenside bunker guarding the front flag.

For this reason, we recommend only arriving at the 18th for the final 3 or 4 pairings, and purchasing another chair to plant elsewhere on the course. 18 is where history is often made, so we can’t argue with wanting to be there for the magic, but we find it is usually best to be in front of a TV for the ending, be it at Berkman’s Place or the hospitality suite off the grounds.

Phil Mickelson Victory (2004)

Experience The Masters in 2019

Watch Tiger and the world’s best golfers battle for one of golf’s most coveted championships on our Augusta Masters Golf trip, and commune with the greats at the Cathedral in the Pines. Click below to download the full itinerary, or click here to email Trip Designer Jon Lansdell to design a Bespoke trip customized just for you.

DETAILED ITINERARY

 

The 2nd hole – Pink Dogwood

One of the iconic par-5s at Augusta, low scores here are often an indication of the round to come. Reachable in 2, with raised mounds around the green to allow for a better vantage point for spectators, this is a lovely spot to place a chair if you are considering a move to 18 at the end of the day. The two holes are only a 5-minute walk apart (close by Augusta standards), and you can see the 7th green from here as well, depending on where you plant your chair. Many players have started a charge to the top of the leaderboard on 2—most recently, Louis Oosthuizen made an albatross here to jump to a tie for first; it was a shot that was responsible for getting him to a playoff for the green jacket.

 Louis Oosthuizen Albatross (2012)

Honourable mentions:

A few other holes are worth mentioning, although they don’t beat our recommendations above…

The 6th hole is a nice place to plant your chair, on the slope below the tee, no less. As players hit over you to the elevated green, which sits at the perfect height for viewing, you can also turn your head slightly for a great look at the 16th green.

The 13th hole has a grandstand near the green, so it’s a great place to spend part of the afternoon, but maybe not worth planting a chair.

The 15th hole has grandstands near the fairway which offer great views of players going for the Par-5 green in 2, as well as the approach shots for those who lay up. However, trees partially obscure the 16th green, so this isn’t the best spot if you are trying to get a look at two holes.

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