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The Masters 2015: An Outsiders Look At The Inside Of Golf’s Mecca

Thursday, April 23, 2015

 

Through the gate, past the range, and down through golf’s Disneyland.  

No Mickey Mouse.  No Donald Duck.  Definitely no Goofy, and nary a ride inside the walls of one of golf’s most hallowed grounds.  But as I floated into the place at or near the top of my bucket list of attractions, I couldn’t help but feel like a child experiencing the adult version of every golfer’s dream.

Augusta National Golf Club is perfect.  It lives on that reputation to outsiders, and up to it when you’re lucky enough to get in.  Perfection is their standard and they meet it across the board.  From the golf course to the practice area, concessions to the restrooms, parking lot and beyond, if the Masters is involved, they’re doing it right.

I love the Masters. Since I started playing golf more than 25 years ago, the tournament, its green jacket, and the golf course I could describe in my sleep, has been at or near the top of places I “had to go.”  I wanted to see “Amen Corner,” Ray’s Creek, the iconic club house, and the course seemingly without an imperfection.  I wanted to see that second shot into the par-5 13th hole.  I wanted stand behind the 18th tee and stare down that intimidating shoot.  I wanted to put myself in Bubba Watson’s position right of the 10th fairway where he hit that famous wedge from the trees in the playoff 3 years ago and say to myself, “I could hit that shot.”  And countless other moments etched into my mind from years of sitting and watching my favorite sporting event of the year.  And I did.

Two Fridays ago, I spent nine hours walking, eating, and drinking everything Augusta National.  And my take from my first experience on one of golf’s most famous grounds:  Everything and more of what you’ve seen, heard, or thought about the place Bobby Jones built.

Sure, the course and everything surrounding it were immaculate.  And yes, the people either involved with or watching the tournament didn’t disappoint. (Imagine the Great Gatsby meets the Kentucky Derby).  But it’s the little things that separate the Masters from other iconic events like the Super Bowl, World Series, or NBA Championship.  

Can you buy a sandwich at the Super Bowl for $1.50?  Can you get an ice cream bar at a World Series game for a buck?  And when was the last time you saw a beer in an NBA arena for $4.00?  No, highly unlikely, and not since the Reagan administration … if you’re keeping score.  The Masters has plenty of money, and as part of their history they’re not in the business of gouging their “patrons.”  They’re all about the experience and they want yours to be great.  

Everything runs seamlessly on the grounds of Augusta National.  You rarely stand in a line.  There are more cashiers than necessary when it’s time to ring-up food or merchandise.  And the coup de gras are the restrooms, which offer attendants whose sole purpose range from ushering patrons to available urinals and cleaning toilet seats immediately following every … single … use.  Sound over-the-top?  Of course it does, and is, but that’s what the Masters is and that’s what you and I want it to be.

Kids have Disneyland, but golfers have Augusta.  I like them both, but the Masters is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and if you get the chance like I did to see what it’s truly all about; take it, you won’t regret it.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Portland’s Best Places to Drink Outside

Here are 11 of Portland's best spots to drink and relax outside. 

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Departure

This is the crown jewel of outdoor imbibing in Portland. The high rise location with panoramic views is a great place to sip in the sun! The cocktail menu features great flavors that will transplant you to a tropical destination. Pair it with some delicious bites from a menu crafted by Chef Gregory Gourdet for a fabulous evening.

525 SW Morrison St.

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Rum Club

It’s been said that time flies when you’re drinking rum. And that’s especially so on this out of the way covered patio on Sandy Blvd. While there’s a strong focus on rum here, you can enjoy plenty of other spirits, beer, and wine. The diverse cocktail list and well curated selection of bites keep this on my favorites list.

720 SE Sandy Blvd. 

Prev Next

Landmark Saloon 

The Landmark Saloon is a renovated house on Division Street. It’s quite small, even by house standards. However, what they lack in square footage for indoor seating is more than redeemed with all of the picnic tables, fire pits, second bars, cornhole boards, and trees in their adjacent yard where you can laze away a beautiful summer day. 

4847 SE Division St.

Prev Next

Vendetta

The large open air space behind this North Williams bar is a classic Portland place to spend a hot summer day. And the space is huge. Hanging with a large group? No problem. The landscaping, with an oddly satisfying, crunchy pea gravel, is inviting, the staff is great, and the beer here is very cold. Bonus: If it gets too hot out, slip inside for a round of shuffleboard. 

4306 N. Williams St.

Photo credit: vendettapdx.com

Prev Next

Rae's Lakeview Lounge

While there’s no view and no lake, there is plenty to love about this hidden spot near Montgomery Park. Enjoy weekend brunch and food and drinks until late on the dog-friendly open patio. This is a great place to day drink on a Saturday afternoon while catching up with an old friend.

1900 NW 27th Ave.

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Caldera Public House

While the interior has a way of transporting guests back to the days of pub culture, those who make the effort to head out to the garden will be rewarded. It’s secluded and lush and by the first sip of your pint, you’ll forget all about the hustle and bustle of rush hour happening just a few feet away.

6031 SE Stark St.

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Teote  

You’d be forgiven for not discovering the back patio of Teote right off of lower Hawthorne. Orders are taken at the counter on the first floor, but follow the stairs up and then meander your way to the back of the house where the second floor spills out into lovely back patio complete with a second bar and a fire pit. I’m still trying to figure out how to you get to the back yard by going upstairs. Plus, the food and drinks are delicious and affordable. 

1615 SE 12th Ave.

Prev Next

Barrio at Portland Mercado

With so much buzz about the new Latino market on Foster Avenue opening later this month, it’s only fitting that they’re incorporating a bottle shop into the list of retailers. Pop into Barrio Bottle Shop and grab a beer for dining in at one of the food carts. The patio is covered and heated to help prolong Portland’s short summer season.

7238 SE Foster Ave.

Prev Next

Altabira City Tavern

Chef David Machado’s new spot (located in the new Hotel Eastlund) promises a patio with sweeping views of downtown, complete with firepits and windbreaks. This beer-centric restaurant will offer a full menu, 16 taps, extensive wine list, and patio seating for 100+. The early May opening can’t happen soon enough for this curious tippler!

1021 NE Grand Ave.

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Henry Hagg Lake

Hop in the car and head out to Washington County’s Henry Hagg Lake. A 35 mile drive will find you at a place that offers disc golf course, fishing piers, great wildlife viewing, and boat rentals. Enjoy the afternoon sipping your favorite schwag and throwing discs.

Day use fee: $6 per vehicle.

50250 SW Scoggins Valley Road, Gaston, OR

Prev Next

Milo McIver State Park

A short 45-minute drive will lead you to McIver where you can hike, fish, and play disc golf - all with an adult beverage in hand. Situated on the Clackamas River located in Estacada, this one of Oregon’s largest state parks, right in our back yard! Pack a cooler and a picnic and make a day of it at McIver.

Day use fee: $5 per vehicle.

24101 S Entrance Rd, Estacada, OR

 
 

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