Traditions of the Masters Tournament

The Masters, held each year at the Augusta National Golf Club, is one of the most traditional sporting events. It dates back to 1934 and was originally called the Augusta National Invitational Tournament. The name was changed to “The Masters” five years later, despite protests from Bobby Jones.

The course

Unlike the other Majors, The Masters takes place on the same field every year: Augusta National, the brainchild of the legendary Bobby Jones.

After his playing career, Jones began to think about building a golf course. He was looking for both a place where he could play without being harassed, and the opportunity to realize his vision of the best golf experience.

In 1931, he found land available in Augusta, Georgia. He was immediately drawn to the possibilities of the old tree nursery and hired the best architect in the game, Dr. Alister Mackenzie, to help him with the design. Together, the two set out to design a course that could be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of skill level, and where on each shot, players would be faced with a multitude of decisions.

The club opened in 1933. A year later, the first Augusta National Invitational Tournament was held.

The green jacket

Each year, the winner of the Masters Tournament receives a Green Jacket to commemorate their victory.

Members of the private club have been wearing green jackets for the tournament since 1937. (Although the original jackets were deemed too hot to wear). Members bought their jackets from the Brooks Uniform Company in New York.

The first green jacket awarded to a player given to Sam Sneed in 1949. It signified his membership, for one year, in the ultra exclusive Augusta National Golf Club.

Master winners must return the jacket to Augusta the following year, where it is stored and made available to players when they visit. Some previous winners, such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, have become actual members of the club and are presumably allowed permanent possession of their jackets.

Since 1954, the club has awarded crystal for various achievements, including low round, holes in one and eagles. Jack Nicklaus holds a record 61 pieces of Masters glass.

The dinner of champions

Officially known as the Teachers Club, the Teachers Champions dinner tradition was instituted in 1952 by Ben Hogan.

Every year since then, the winner of the previous Masters tournament has hosted a dinner for the previous champions. The event generally takes place on the Tuesday before the tournament. The winner chooses the menu and pays for the food.

The menu has been interesting. In 1988, Tiger Woods preferred cheeseburgers and shakes. Sandy Lyle, on the other hand, had haggis.

Fee-based starters

The first balls off the tee at the Masters are hit by “honorary starters,” a tradition that began in 1963. The first honorary starters were Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod, two men linked to Augusta National.

Hutchison won two major championships in his golf career: the 1920 PGA and the 1921 Open Championship. He was also the winner of the inaugural PGA Senior Championship (1937), which was held in Augusta; he won that event again in 1947. It started until 1973.

McLeod was a founding member of the Senior PGA, which played in the first four Masters. McLeod started until 1976.

Gene Sarazen served from 1981 until his death in 1999. Byron Nelson served during the same period. Sam Snead served from 1984 to 2002.

There has been no honorary incumbent since Sneed’s death. Augusta is rumored to be waiting until Arnold Palmer is available.

Cheese and pepper sandwiches

What hot dogs are to baseball, the pepper cheese sandwich is to the Masters at Augusta. There are eight types of sandwiches sold at Master’s, but the pepper cheese is the one to get. Although the exact recipe is a secret similar to the secret formula for Coca-Cola, it is made from pepper cheese and many on white bread.

Lifetime exemptions for winners

Bobby Jones thought of the Masters as a gathering of his friends, so he extended a lifetime exemption to the tournament to previous winners. Most have stopped playing when they felt they were no longer competitive. However, others have continued to play even though they can’t really play anymore. In 2002, the president of the Mastery, Hootie Johnson, sent letters to former champions, asking them to reconsider their participation. That move started a storm of controversy and resulted in Johnson rescinding his application. Previous players can only start if they intend to play at least 36 holes.

The crow’s nest

The Crow’s Nest is the 1200 square foot room in the dome of the clubhouse that is available to amateur players at the Tournament. The room is divided into four cubicles, three with single beds and one with a double. There is also a living room. Fans eat at the clubhouse during the week.

Azaleas and Magnolia Lane

August National sits on the site of a former tree nursery and is adorned with azaleas, magnolias, and an astonishing array of other trees. Azaleas are in bloom in that part of the country around the same time that the tournament takes place.

Magnolia Lane is the 330-yard driveway that leads to the clubhouse, which is lined with 61 ancient Magnolia trees.

The Butler’s Cabin and Eisenhower’s Cabin

The Butler Cabin is used by CBS broadcast staff for interviews and the Green Jacket presentation. It was first used in 1965.

The Eisenhower Cabin was built in 1953 for the use of President Eisenhower, who liked the club so much that he visited 45 times, 29 times while in office. He had become a member in 1948. The cabin is apparently certified by the United States Secret Service.

There are a total of ten cabins on the property, although the term “cabin” is applied only loosely, as they are much better equipped than average.

The Caddies

Until 1983, players were required to use caddies provided by the club. Since then, they have been allowed to bring their own bag holders, but they must still dress in the traditional August caddy uniform: white overalls and green hats. Several Augusta caddies have become minor celebrities, notably “Iron Man” Avery, who acted as caddies for Palmer’s four Masters victories.

For more information on the best of golf, visit

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *