While there are countless golf courses around the globe, few have monumental status (and fame) like Augusta National Golf Club. Located in Augusta, Georgia, the club is arguably America's most prestigious golf course. Playing host to the Masters Tournament, one of the four annual major championships in professional golf, it is consistently rated as a top-ranked golf course in Golf Digest’s annual list of America's 100 greatest courses.
In the words of professional golfer Rory McIlroy, “Every hole seems to have a personality of its own, and the atmosphere on tournament days adds a dimension unlike any other event.
Originally an indigo plantation, the land was purchased in 1857 to become a nursery—Fruitland Nurseries—where it thrived with plants from all over the globe for several decades. In the early 1930s, Bobby Jones (one of the most influential figures in the history of the game) and investment banker Clifford Roberts entered the picture, fell in love with the property, and bought it in 1931 to turn it into a golf course.
Jones hired Alister MacKenzie, the famed British golf course architect, to help design the course, and the club opened in January 1933. The stunning, abundant plant life played a huge role in the design of the course and as such, today, each impeccably manicured hole at Augusta National is named for its distinctive plant.
In a word: prestige. Today, Augusta National Golf Club members — until recently, all male — must adhere to extreme rules and regulations, which include no cell phones, and a firm code of conduct. They also enforce a strict dress code, which includes conservative golf slacks, skirts, or shorts. Shirts should have sleeves and a distinguishable collar… and that’s just the beginning.
The pick of the litter: it’s a well-known tidbit that those who desire to become members of Augusta National don’t tell a soul. Hush is the word because expressing even the slightest interest in becoming a member means permanent black ball. Augusta does the approaching – if they want someone as a member, they seek that person out.
The Green Jacket
In 1934, Jones and Roberts decided to host an annual golf tournament, which would become The Masters. From the get-go, Roberts suggested calling it the Masters Tournament, but Jones thought it too presumptuous and the Augusta National Invitation Tournament was born. However, five years later, Roberts got his wish.
Of the four major championships played each year, the Masters is the only one to take place, year after year, at the same golf course. Always played in the first week of April, over four days and 72 holes, players from around the globe compete for a chance to capture the Green Jacket and a place in Masters history.