Augusta National Clubhouse

The Augusta National

 The Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most storied and exclusive golf clubs in the world. Founded by Bobby Jones and designed by Alister MacKenzie on the site of the former Fruitlands Nursery, the club opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934 it has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in professional golf.

At the insistence of Bobby Jones, the tournament was originally called the Augusta National Invitational Tournament and was renamed the Masters in 1939.

Augusta National is generally regarded as the most revered golf course on the PGA Tour. Since the Masters is played at the same venue every year, fans have the unique opportunity to become familiar with the course, something the other three rotating majors do not afford.

The course is well known for its botanic beauty as well. Because the Masters is played during the first full week in April every year, the flowers of the trees and shrubs bordering the course are in full bloom during the tournament. Each hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated. The course is famous for its Azaleas and Dogwoods.

It is also famous for its Amen Corner. The second shot at the 11th, all of the 12th, and the tee shot at the 13th hole at Augusta were named "Amen Corner" by author Herbert Warren Wind in a 1958 Sports Illustrated article. Searching for a name for the location where critical action had taken place that year, he borrowed the name (he and everyone thought for years, even after his death) from an old jazz recording "Shouting at Amen Corner" by a band under the direction of Milton Mezzrow.

In the April 2008 issue of Golf Digest, author Bill Fields updated that information based on the findings of Richard Moore, a jazz and golf historian who tried to purchase an old 78 RPM of the so-called "Shoutin at Amen Corner" Mezzrow recording (for an exhibit in his Golf Museum). As Fields reports, according to Moore and worldwide jazz recording experts the record does not exist and all along Wind was probably referring to Mildred Bailey's popular 1936 recording of "Shoutin in that Amen Corner." Wind had bogeyed his memory.

In 1958 Arnold Palmer outlasted Ken Venturi for the Green Jacket with heroic escapes at Amen Corner. Amen Corner also played host to prior Masters moments like Byron Nelson's birdie-eagle at 12 and 13 in 1937, and Sam Snead's water save at 12 in 1949 that sparked him to victory.


Natural features

The Big Oak Tree: The big oak tree is on the golf course side of the clubhouse and is approximately 145â??150 years old. The tree was planted in the 1850s.

Eisenhower Tree: Also known as the "Eisenhower Pine," this loblolly pine is located on the 17th hole, approximately 210 yards from the Masters' tee. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, an Augusta National member, hit the tree so many times that, at a 1956 club meeting, he proposed that it be cut down. Not wanting to offend the President, the club's chairman, Clifford Roberts, immediately adjourned the meeting rather than reject the request outright.

Ike's Pond: During a visit to Augusta National, then General Eisenhower returned from a walk through the woods on the eastern part of the grounds, and informed Clifford Roberts that he had found a perfect place to build a dam if the Club would like a fish pond. Ike's Pond was built and named, and the dam is located just where Eisenhower said it should be.

Rae's Creek: Rae's Creek cuts across the southeastern corner of the Augusta National property. It flows along the back of the 11th green, in front of the 12th green, and ahead of the 13th tee. This is the lowest point in elevation of the course. The Hogan and Nelson Bridges cross the creek after the 12th and 13th tee boxes, respectively. The creek was named after former property owner John Rae, who died in 1789.


The Clubhouse

The Augusta National Clubhouse is the most recognizable landmark in American golf. Built as the home of indigo plantation owner Dennis Redmond in 1854, the three-story building is believed to be the first concrete house built in the South. The walls are 18 inches thick, but a large earthquake that originated in Charleston, S.C., in 1886 left several noticeable cracks in the building.

Baron Louis Berckmans, a Belgian horticulturist, purchased the 365-acre property in 1857. He and his son, Prosper Julius Alphonse, established Fruitland Nurseries on the property which continued to operate until around 1918.

Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts discovered the abandoned nursery in 1931 and turned the rolling acreage into the most famous golf course in the world, steeped in tradition and history. Jones and his group purchasd the property for $70,000 and Augusta architect Willis Irvin was hired to transform the old plantation home into a clubhouse.

Several changes have been made to the structure since Jones bought it. The clubhouse was renovated with new floors, a new roof and updated stairways in 1938 for $50,000. The Trophy Room and kitchen were added in 1946; construction of the golf pro shop was completed in 1953; and the Grill Room was added in 1962. The Champions Locker Room was added in 1978 and the Grill Room and locker room were remodeled in 2003.

From the veranda, you can gaze down Magnolia Lane and look down on Founders Circle, which pays tribute to Masters Tournament co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. The permanent Masters Trophy and an oil painting by President Eisenhower are just some of the golf treasures that fill the well-appointed rooms.


Architectural features

Crow's Nest: Available for amateurs wishing to be housed there during the Masters Tournament, the Crow's Nest provides living space for up to five individuals. Rising from the approximately 30 by 40-foot room is the clubhouse's 11-foot square cupola. The cupola features windows on all sides and can be reached only by ladder. The Crow's Nest consists of one room with partitions and dividers that create three cubicles with one bed each, and one cubicle with two beds. There is also a full bathroom with an additional sink. The sitting area has a game table, sofa and chairs, telephone and television. Placed throughout the Crow's Nest are books on golf, and lining the walls are photos and sketches depicting past Masters and other golf scenes. To get to the Crow's Nest, golfers must climb a narrow set of steps.

Eisenhower Cabin: One of 10 cabins on the Augusta National property, it was built by the club's membership for member Dwight D. Eisenhower after his election as President of the United States. The cabin was built according to Secret Service security guidelines, and is adorned by an eagle located above the front porch.

Founders Circle: A memorial located in front of the course's clubhouse, at the end of Magnolia Lane. Plaques at Founders Circle honor Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts.

Hogan Bridge: A bridge over Rae's Creek that connects the fairway of hole 12 to its green. It is constructed of stone and covered with artificial turf. The bridge was dedicated to Ben Hogan in 1958 to commemorate his 72-hole score of 274 strokes five years earlier, the course record at the time.

Magnolia Lane: The main driveway leading from Washington Road to the course's clubhouse. The lane is flanked on either side by 61 magnolia trees, each grown from seeds planted by the Berckman family in the 1850s. Magnolia Lane is 330 yards long and was paved in 1947.

Nelson Bridge: A stonework bridge over Rae's Creek that connects the teeing ground of hole 13 to its fairway. In 1958, it was dedicated to Byron Nelson to honor his performance in the 1937 Masters.

Par Three Fountain: The Par 3 Fountain is next to the No. 1 tee on the Par 3 course. The fountain has a list of Par 3 contest winners, starting with Sam Snead's win in 1960, the first Par 3 Tournament.

Record Fountain: The Record Fountain was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Masters. Located left of the No. 17 tee, it displays course records and Masters Tournament champions.

Sarazen Bridge: A bridge over the pond on hole 15 that separates the fairway from the green. Made of stone, it was named for Gene Sarazen for a memorable double eagle in the 1935 Masters Tournament that propelled him to victory.

Sources: Augusta National Golf Club; The Making of the Masters: Clifford Roberts, Augusta National, and Golf's Most Prestigious Tournament, The Story of the Augusta National Golf Club. The Augusta Chronicle. Wikipedia.

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