Welcome to Augusta, Georgia, Home of the Masters Golf Tournament. Augusta is a small city south of Atlanta whose residents fiercely guard their city's claim to fame. Every year, the first full week of April, the city becomes host to the Master's Golf Tournament. And like the Southern Lady she is, Augusta is overly hospitable to the players in their prime like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh as well as thousands of incoming golf enthusiasts.
There are certain things to expect when attending the Masters. In fact most of the things that define the Masters and Augusta National are also the things that make it quite different from the other major tournaments on the PGA Tour. For instance, did you know that of the 4 majors on the PGA tour, the Masters is the ONLY Tournament to be held in the same location every single year?
The Masters is the sporting event that legends are made from. Names like Arnold Palmer, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are synomous with the Masters. For that reason, among many others Masters Badges are the most difficult ticket to obtain in sports. Masters Week begins on Monday and continues through the finals on Sunday. Monday through Wednesday are known as the Practice Rounds. These tickets are distributed each year through a lottery system open to the general public and are good for only one day. The actual Tournament begins on Thursday and continues through Sunday. The Tournament Badges are distributed only to a tightly guarded list from of Augusta National. It is unknown exactly how many people are on that list, but some estimate it to be around 30,000. Each Tournament Badge is valid for ALL 4 days. Since most of us are not lucky enough to be included on Augusta National's list of Badge Holders that means that we must resort to other means to obtain a Badge.
Here are a few things one should know prior to purchasing a Badge:
1. Unless you know someone who receives Badges from Augusta National every year you will have to use a ticket broker, since these tickets do not go on sale to the general public+ever. It is best to find a ticket broker who specializes in the Masters. (A full list can be found at www.consumerchoicereview.com.) The prices will not be cheap. In the recent past, a 4 day Badge sold for well over $4,000.
2. Always make sure that you use a ticket broker who will be on-site in Augusta. Should you have any problems, they will be available and able to remedy any issues.
3. Most ticket brokers will break the 4 day Badges and sell them individually for each Tournament Day. This is a far more economical approach, and realistically 4 full days of golf is too much for most people.
4. You will be expected to return the Badges after the Tournament. If you purchase a daily Badge, you will usually pick up your Badge the morning of the Tournament and return it after tournament play has finished for the day. If you purchase a 4 day Badge, you will be expected to return the Badge after the finish of Tournament play on Sunday. Most ticket brokers will charge exorbitant fees should you not return the Badge ($2,000 plus per badge) for any reason.
5. Most original Badge Holders ask that the ticket brokers return their badges after the Tournament so that they may rest easy that their rights to obtain these badges have survived to another year.
Please keep in mind that when buying the rights to use a Badge, you are technically representing the Badge Holder. If for ANY reason you are asked to leave the course, Augusta National will revoke that Badge Holder's rights to obtain a Badge for the rest of their life. Pretty steep consequences, right? So, think twice before you bring in your cellphone and pagers, even if you only plan to keep it in the "silent" or "off" modes. They are strictly prohibited. For a full list of prohibited items, refer to www.consumerchoicereview.com.
Despite the craziness of the Badge pricing, the Masters is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Where else will you see greens that lush and azaleas as vibrant and pink? Not to mention Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh or any number of golf's greatest players in hot pursuit of the coveted green jacket awarded to the winner of the Master's Tournament.
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