I can now say I’ve made the drive down Magnolia Lane and it’s one of the greatest sights with the trees so beautiful as you head straight to the clubhouse at Augusta National. It was the first of many thrills after playing Augusta last week with Craig Stadler.
It’s a lifelong dream for every golfer to play Augusta, an experienced enhance considerably with Stadler along. I’ve met him a few times, but I didn’t really know how nice a guy he was until that day. I’ve met lots of athletes from football, hockey, golf, but he was so genuine.
We spent eight or nine hours with him and he was great. The golf course was in great shape. Every minute was a thrill.
I’ve been to the Masters, so I’ve seen the elevation changes, but as Craig Stadler pointed out, it looks different without the stands and refreshment booths that are part of the tournament.
People don’t realize the huge elevation change on the first hole and the 10th hole is like driving it straight downhill. On the 18th hole, the second shot is like it’s straight uphill. The elevation changes are just stunning and I don’t think TV really captures that.
Amen Corner is fantastic. Our entire group made par on the 12th hole, so that was great, but the entire course, even the holes you don’t see much on television, is outstanding.
Besides the obvious thrill of actually playing Augusta, there are so many little things there that make the experience special.
After 18 holes, we went and played the par three course where they play the Wednesday contest during Masters week. We were the only people out there with Craig Stadler. That was a little piece of heaven because that complex is all by itself, so that was a great highlight.
We came back in for a couple of drinks before Craig Stadler took us on a great tour. As a past champion, he took us into the champions’ locker room.
The clubhouse at Augusta is just beautiful, but we wound up on a very steep set of stairs and all of a sudden, it was like going back in time to the 1940s in the Crow’s Nest, where the amateur champions stay.
It was like a throwback with white paneling, white paint, white bedspreads – just beautiful. You could almost see Bobby Jones in that room or Jack Nicklaus as a young guy.
The tour was fantastic and we also went over to see the new driving range that they’ve just built and it looks like one of the best in the world.
All of those little things combine with the big thrills of playing Augusta with Stadler to make a experience that will never be forgotten.