I won't try to put into words the beauty of Augusta National Golf Club. Too many and far better writers have tried and come up short. I will just say this: if you've only seen the course on TV, even in HD, the picture doesn't do it justice. And for those who've made it to the Masters over the years, being "inside the ropes" gives you a far greater appreciation for the remarkable landscape of the former nursery.
First up, the amazing (and relatively new--who said Augusta National never changes) players' practice facility. It's a driving range and so much more, with several simulated holes, bunkers and putting greens for practice.
It's almost as pretty as the course itself, and obviously gets just as much attention from the groundskeepers. It was here that I met my caddy, Ryan.
There he was, in the regulation white jumpsuit and Augusta National cap, instantly sizing up my game and realizing just what he was in for on Monday afternoon. Ryan was a godsend on the greens, reading every putt perfectly and knowing exactly what line to take. He had my distance down in just minutes, pulling the right club for each shot on the course.
Ryan also made some unintentionally hilarious comments about my clubs. Let's face facts, I'm not Tiger, so I'm not constantly being shipped the latest and greatest equipment from the world's top manufacturers. But I thought what I had in the bag was suitable--until I drove into the gates at Augusta National. Ryan pulled out one of my irons and said "wow, I haven't seen anyone use these in years". Later, he pulled a head cover off one of my older woods, grimaced, then replaced the cover and said "that one belongs in a museum". He didn't mean to be insulting, and I laughed along with him after he realized what he said.
Okay, hit a few putts (notice how far past the hole I had drilled my first one--that would be the story of the day) and it's on to the game. Next up, it's time to play!