There are certain times of the year that stand out more than others. Early February represents the Super Bowl. March brings us March Madness. And, for my family, we love the arrival of October, because we get Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving and finally Christmas.
However, for golfers, there is no better time than early April.
Why? Early April means it’s time for the Masters Tournament.
I’ve been fortunate to have attended three Masters Tournaments.
In 1993, I was a junior at the University of New Mexico, and my teammates and I were able to attend an early practice round at Augusta National.
I remember it raining the day we attended. But it wasn’t the rain that I remember. What stands out from that experience is my memory of watching Bernhard Langer practicing pitch and runs on one of the practice greens adjacent to the driving range.
As fate would have it, Langer found himself to the right of the 11th green during the final round that year. He hit the exact pitch and run shot I watched him practice earlier in the week, and he holed it for a birdie.
He would later go on to win the Green Jacket.
My next Masters experience came in 2008. That year, my brother and I surprised our dad with Masters tickets. We were able to attend on Wednesday and Thursday. This is the best combination of days to attend The Masters.
We enjoyed watching the Par 3 contest on Wednesday. We even witnessed Fred Couples hitting a hole in one. I also remember seeing Arnold Palmer observing the patrons from the balcony of the main clubhouse.
When Thursday morning arrived, we were delayed by fog as we awaited Palmer’s opening tee shot to begin the tournament. We waited near the landing area of the first fairway, and I remember seeing his ball land as the crowd above cheered frantically.
Finally, I was able to attend last years Masters with my close family friend.
It was his first experience at the tournament. In addition to sharing this experience with my friend, we were able to stay at a home adjacent to the golf course with my former high school teammate, Rich Beem.
I’ll never forget driving up Magnolia Lane with Beem as we entered Augusta National.
That’s an experience very few will ever enjoy.
I love The Masters. It’s the greatest tournament in the world because of its rich history. When you walk the grounds at Augusta National, you can’t help but relive historic moments throughout the course. I hope to one day take my son to the Masters.
If that experience is anything like those I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying already, I have a lot to look forward to.