As the golfing world prepares for the next Masters Tournament in Augusta 2017 there is much excitement. But how much do you know about the Masters Tournament and the club which hosts the event every year?
The event is due to take place from the 3rd until the 9th April this year. Here are a few fun facts to keep you going until the big week arrives for an event steeped in history!
- The very first Masters Tournament was organised by Clifford Roberts and Bob Jones. It took place in 1934 at Augusta National.
- The first event was won by Horton Smith.
- It was held on the 22nd March. However, from 1940 onwards, the event has traditionally been held in April. It is scheduled for the first Sunday to Sunday week.
- From 1934 until 1938 the event was called the Augusta National Invitational.
- It was 1949 when the winner, Sam Snead, was awarded the first Green Jacket.
- In 1997 Tiger Woods became the youngest Masters Tournament winner. He was just 21 years, 3 months and 14 days old.
- 1986 saw Jack Nicklaus as the oldest ever winner. He was 46 years, 2 months and 23 days when he won.
- With six wins under his belt, jack Nicklaus also holds the title for the most wins.
- Herbert Warren Wind, a Sports Illustrated writer, nicknamed holes 11, 12 and 13 as ‘Amen Corner’. This was in 1958 in response to play that year, which saw the critical action taking place on the second half of hole 11, hole 12 and the first half of hole 13. The name originates from ‘Shouting at Amen Corner’, which was an old favourite jazz recording around that time.
- Augusta is rich with pine trees and they grow abundantly around the course. There are many different varieties, including Eastern White Pines, Longleaf Pines, Slash Pines, Shortleaf Pines and Loblolly Pines.
- There is also a huge Oak tree, situated near the clubhouse. Referred to as “the big oak tree”, it is around 145 to 150 years old, having been planted in the 1850s.
- There are also 61 grand Magnolia trees lining Magnolia lane, which runs 330 yards from the entrance all the way to the clubhouse. These again date all the way back to around the 1850s.
- John Rae was the inspiration for Rae’s Creek, which runs close to greens No. 11, 12 and 13. It was Rae’s house which served as a fortress to keep residents safe from Indian attack, the furthest from Fort Augusta to the Savannah River.
- Three bridges at Augusta National are dedicated. Nelson Bridge, located at tee No. 13, was named in honour of Byron Nelson’s 1937 Masters winning performance, particularly at holes No. 12 and 13. Hogan Bridge, situated at green No. 12, is so named in recognition of Ben Hogan’s record 1953 score of 274. Finally Saracen Bridge at the No. 15 hole was named following Gene Sarazen’s 1935 Double Eagle at the Masters.
- Clifford Roberts and Bob Jones, founders of the Masters, are honoured in two plaques at the base of the flagpole in front of the club house. This is known as Founder’s Circle.
- With room for up to 5 players, the Crow’s Nest offers accommodation for amateurs when the Master’s tournament is taking place. The room is above the club house and is a room of around 40 by 30 foot.
- General Eisenhower is honoured by ‘Ike’s Pond’. This is a spring fed, manmade pond stretching 3 acres and has a dam.
- The Fountain on the Par 3 course, tee No. 1 features a list of Par 3 winners. The list begins with Sam Snead after his 1960 win.
- The 25th anniversary of the Masters was commemorated by the building of the Record Fountain. It was placed near to the No. 17 tee and Masters Tournament winners and course records are displayed.
- The 6 times Masters Champion, Jack Nicklaus, is honoured with a plaque near holes 16 and 17, attached to the drinking fountain.
- A further plaque attached to a fountain behind tee 16 has been placed in recognition of Arnold Palmer, to commemorate his 4 Masters wins as well as his other contributions to the club.
- In the grounds sit the Augusta National Golf Club Cabins. These 10 lodges are specifically for members and their invited guests to stay in. One of the cabins was built especially to accommodate President and Mrs. Eisenhower when they used to visit Augusta National. Subsequently this cabin was named the Eisenhower Cabin.
- The Masters Club is for those who have won the Masters Tournament. On Tuesday of Masters week the Champions Dinner is held for the Masters Club members, and the defending champion is host.
- World War II stopped play between 1943 and 1945. During this time the Augusta National grounds were used to house and raise cattle and turkey as part of the war effort.
- The Masters has never been won by an amateur player.
- The Masters Tournament and the Par 3 Tournament has never been won by the same player in the same year.
- In order to become a member of the club you must be invited and you cannot apply. In 1990 the very first African-American member was admitted, although Lee Elder was the first African-American to play in the masters some 15 years earlier in 1975. The only pro golfer members are John Harris, Senior PGA Tour player, and former amateurs Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
- US President Eisenhower is the only president to have become a member of the club. The 3 acre Ike’s Pond, on the Par 3 course, located near hole No. 9, is the site of the Par 3 contest which is held on Wednesday of Masters week.
- Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts founded the club where the Masters Tournament is held. They wanted to introduce a national membership and undertook the option on the Fruitland Nurseries, 365 acres of land. The course was then designed by Alistair Mackenzie, a Scottish designer. The course finally opened in 1932 with a formal opening taking place in early 1933. The club now opens for the Masters Week but also from mid-October until the end of May each year for informal play and other competitions. On the Masters course each hole has been named after a plant, shrub or flower. This is in recognition of its former status as a nursery. For example, Flowering Club Apple is hole No. 3.
- Members began wearing Green jackets in 1937. These were designed by Brook’s Uniform Co of New York and meant that members would easily be identified when necessary.
- Prize money in 1934 was $1,500 and in 2014 was a huge $9,000,000! In addition, winners are awarded the famous Green Jacket.
- Once the tournament is over, Bobby Jones Scholars from The University of St Andrews in Scotland go onto the course to play a 4 ball round. They are the last on the course to play before the restoration process begins.
An annual treat
The Augusta Masters is one of only very few tournaments which take place at the same location every year. The course has a rich history and is well-known for hosting some very famous players. The golfing world sees the event as one of the most exciting in the golfing calendar!