There's something very magicalabout Augusta, Ga, inApril. That's probably whyit graciously hosts the world-famousMasters Tournament each year. Thisyear the highly anticipated tournament,which unofficially marks thebeginning of golf season, was heldApril 7 through April 13. Ratherthan commenting about this year'stournament, I have decided to provideyou with a list of some invaluableMasters facts.
While your undivided attentionwill most likely be paid to the menhitting the golf balls, the beauty ofthe course shouldn't be overlooked.In fairness, it probably can't beâ€”it's apparent everywhere. And thecourse's trees help set this picture-perfectstage. The most abundanttree at Augusta National is the pine.The predominant species is theLoblolly Pine. Many of the pinesfound in the original forested part ofthe course are over 150 years old,while others were planted when thecourse was built.
The big oak tree on the golfcourse side of the Clubhouse is a liveoak, . It was plantedwhen the building was completedin the late 1850s, making the treeapproximately 145 to 150 years old.Several other live oaks were plantedon the grounds about the same time.The "big oak tree" is one of thefavorite gathering places during theMasters Tournament.
The privet hedge at the club wasdeveloped from plants imported fromFrance by the Berckmans (ie, theowners of the land during the mid-1800s). There are thousands of milesof privet hedge in the South, whichwere propagated from this originalsource. Azaleas and dogwoods arealso in abundance. There are over 30varieties of azaleas, several strains ofdogwood, and dozens of varieties ofornamental shrubs on the grounds.
THAT FAMOUS JACKET
The Augusta National member'sgreen coat began in 1937. Jacketswere purchased from the BrooksUniform Company, New York City.Members were urged to buy andwear a jacket during the MastersTournament so that patrons couldeasily identify reliable sources onthe course. Members were not initiallyenthusiastic about wearing thewarm, green coat.
Within several years, a lightweight,made-to-order jacket wasavailable from the club's golf shop. In1949, the first Green Jacket wasawarded to that year's Masters champion,Sam Snead. The single-breasted,single-vent jacket is "MastersGreen," and is adorned with anAugusta National Golf Club logo onthe left chest pocket. The logo alsoappears on the jacket's brass buttons.
It is the custom at the MastersTournament that the winner from theprevious year presents the GreenJacket to the new winner and helpshim into it. In 1966, Jack Nicklausbecame the first champion to winconsecutive Masters Tournaments.Bob Jones recommended that Nicklausact in a dual capacity, and put onhis own coat. Nicklaus proceeded toslip into his own Green Jacket, muchto the enjoyment of the crowd.
LITTLE-KNOWN FUN FACTS
Of course, there's more to theMasters Tournament than the treesand the famous green jacket. Followingis a list of other interestingfacts about Augusta's famous coursethat will fill in the details of a longand interesting history:
Shoutingat Amen Corner
• Amen Corner. The nameAmen Corner refers to Augusta's No.11,No. 12, and No. 13 holes. HerbertWarren Wind first coined the phrasein a 1958 article. Inhis attempt to describe the location ofcritical action on the course duringthat year's tournament, Wind cameup with the name. But it wasn't hiscreation. He borrowed the namefrom an old jazz recording, , by a band under thedirection of Milton (Mezz) Mezzrow,a Chicago clarinetist.
• Rae's Creek. Named afterJohn Rae, who died in 1789, Rae'sCreek runs in front of the No. 12green, has a tributary evident at theNo. 13 tee, and flows at the back ofthe No. 11 green. Long before thebirth of the Masters Tournament,John Rae's house was the farthestfortress up the Savannah River fromFort Augusta.When you were underattack by hostile invaders and couldnot reach the Fort, Rae's house providedsafe shelter.
• The Eisenhower Tree. Locatedat hole No. 17, the EisenhowerTree is approximately 195 yards fromthe Master's tee, and left-center ofthe fairway. The Loblolly Pine isapproximately 65-feet high andabout 100 to 125 years old. FormerUS President Dwight Eisenhower, anAugusta Club member, hit his golfball into the tree so often that at theclub's 1956 governors meeting, heproposed cutting the tree down.Club Chairman Clifford Robertspromptly ruled him out of order andadjourned the meeting. The pine hasbeen linked to Eisenhower ever since.
• Ike's Pond. During his secondvisit to Augusta National, PresidentEisenhower walked through thewoods on the eastern part of theclub's property. When he returnedfrom his walk, he informed the club'schairman that he had found a perfectspot to build a dam if the club everinstalled a fishpond. The pond waspromptly built and christened "Ike'sPond," and the dam was locatedexactly where Ike suggested. It nowoccupies 3 acres and is spring-fed.
• Magnolia Lane. The 61 largemagnolia trees that line both sides ofMagnolia Lane date back to approximatelythe late 1850s, when thelandowners, the Berckmans, plantedthe seeds. In 1947, Magnolia Lanewas paved. It is approximately 330yards long, extending from theentrance gate to the Clubhouse.
• Crow's Nest. Every April, theCrow's Nest provides up to 5 amateurgolfers with lodging during theMasters Tournament. Rising fromthis 30 x 40-foot room is the Clubhouse's11-foot square cupola. Thecupola features windows on all sidesand can only be reached by ladder.
From the beautiful flowers thatare planted to bloom to perfectionevery year during the second week ofApril to the vibrant Rembrandt-likeviews of the course, everything aboutthe Masters Tournament is exceptionalâ€”including its history. Becausewhen it comes to the AugustaNational, nothing is average. If youcan't make it to the tournament nextyear, relax. Remember, you're just atelevision set away from enjoying itsmany splendors.
Adrian Davies is a former EuropeanTour player and Europeandirector of golf for DavidLeadbetter. He has been a PGAClass A professional for 19 yearsand is affiliated with the Links inShirley, Long Island. He welcomes questionsor comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.