02 APR 2015 - BY JOSEPH TYSON
The first major tournament of the year will see the sport’s creme de la creme tee off against one another in a bid to secure victory and the honour of wearing the sacred Green Jacket.
Unlike the other big golf competitions, the Masters takes place at the same place every year: Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia. The fact that the tournament happens here, and only here, has made the course somewhat of a pilgrimage for avid enthusiasts of the sport.
If you are planning on making the journey this year, here are some of the practical things you should know about travelling to the US Masters.
Predictably, Augusta gets very busy around the Masters and as such accommodation can become pretty expensive. If you want a prime location hotel, expect to pay for it.
However, there are two main options for cheaper accommodation. One is to stay somewhere around an hour away from the course itself. There are plenty of options available in the area, but this will require you to rent a car for the duration of the tournament.
If you are in a group, it may be worth your while to rent someone’s house for the week. Many people in the area do this during the tournament as a way to make some extra money. Finding a property is very easy to do through The Masters Housing Bureau, which is suggested by Golf Digest.
Although Augusta has an airport, it is only a regional one so you will not be able to fly directly to it from outside the US. You could, of course, book a connecting flight from Atlanta, but this may increase your costs significantly.
Alternatively, you can fly directly to Atlanta and then drive the rest of the way to the course. The direct route takes just over two hours, but it is a relatively unremarkable stretch of US interstate and you will need to rent a car (which you'll need anyway if you are staying far out from the course).
If you don’t want to drive, you can take the bus. This will be much cheaper than a flight but will generally take much longer. Bus operators Greyhound offer low-cost travel options from Augusta to Atlanta.
The vast grounds of the golf course are filled with great places to watch the action. However, some are better than others and to get the best views, you’ll have to be up very early to beat the crowds.
Golf Digest suggests that the ultimate place to view the action is behind the bleachers at the 12th tee. Not only does this area give you an excellent place to see the action from the 12th, you can also see the 11th and the 13th. Due to this area’s position on the course, many people congregate here which helps create a great atmosphere.
In terms of facilities, there’s a bathroom nearby and a concession stand. Other good spots include the driving zone at the 10th and the large oak tree behind the clubhouse.
Due to the variety of things to do, Wednesday is traditionally the most hectic day to go to the tournament.
The big course is the place to be in the morning, with the golfers teeing off here early on in the day. After this, there’s plenty of action to take in including the par three contest that starts at 1pm between the 8th and 9th hole.
If you fancy a go yourself, there are plenty of places to get your swing going in and around Augusta. The only problem is that courses tend to put their prices up during the Masters, so be aware of this before you head to the green.
River Golf Club, Jones Creek Golf Club and Forest Hills are three wonderful options in the area.