If you’re reading this and don’t live in Augusta, I’m going to assume that you’re a golf fan. If you’re not a golf fan, you’re probably married to one. It’s not that there aren’t other reasons to come to town. It’s just that no one in their right mind would be here this week, braving the crowds, if they didn’t have any plans to hit the tournament (read: tunamint).
Many Augustans get out of town. They spend weeks, months even, cleaning out closets, fluffing pine straw, and stocking up on new sheets and towels in preparation for renting their house. It’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it when you get a big, tax-free check from the renters.
Most people who stay do so because it’s a great week to live here. There are complainers (always are!), and everyone tries to avoid the traffic, but it’s basically one big adult spring break. Having beer during the day is more acceptable than usual. We offer near-perfect weather, although the pollen will be out of control. We move our televisions outside, eagerly anticipating afternoon coverage.
We’re glad you’re here. I do have a couple of tips for you, though.
Please, in the name of all holy things, do not wear jeans (or worse, jean shorts) to the golf course. I’m not asking that you get all fancy or anything, but respect the sport. Khaki pants or shorts and a collared shirt for the guys, and dresses, skirts or nice shorts for the women. We like to call it Southern casual. Wear shoes you can walk in. ‘Cause you’re gonna walk a lot.
Speaking of shoes, ladies, forget the fancy heels. It’s completely acceptable for women to wear running shoes with a dress. You’ll see people in golf shoes, too. This used to puzzle me, but spikes handle muddy, smelly grass better than any other footwear.
If it rains, you’ll be glad you listened to me. We all know that girl who insisted on wearing cute shoes to match her outfit. She was the first one to slip and fall in the stinky mud out there. When it happens, I can promise none of your friends will leave the tournament, so you’ll be forced to walk around with what looks like a bad potty accident up the back of your precious Lilly sundress. Bless your heart.
Tiger’s back in the news again. He and I have something in common, you know. 1997 was a big year for us both. My first trip down Magnolia Lane, his first win at Augusta. Speculation says he’s a contender again this year. Like him or not, he keeps things interesting. His fans will be loud no matter what. It’s like a wrestling match. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing better than the loud roar that follows a flawless putt. It’s the “Get it in the hole!” or “You da man, Tiger!” as soon as he tees off that toes the line.
Speaking of loud roars, if you want to witness the cause of such excitement, don’t stand near me. I like to call them the Faraway Roars, because they always seem to happen far away from where I am. I have seen a couple of holes in one on 16, but otherwise, I have to wait and see the replay when I get home.
Don’t bring your phones or cameras. They ain’t kidding. Once Wednesday is over, no cameras allowed. Cell phones are never allowed. Really, people. Never. There’re several banks of courtesy phones around the course, and you can pretty much call China for free. “How will I find my people,” you ask? Set a time, pick a place and meet up. It’s like the olden days. You’ve got this.
If you decide to bring a phone anyway, you’ll get caught. Trust me here. As soon as that hot pink monogrammed iPhone with marble pop socket comes out of your pocket, a green jacket official will come out of the azaleas and vaporize you. I’ve seen it happen.
Hopefully, everyone in Augusta will treat you with respect, kindness and Southern hospitality. When done well, there’s nothing better. Please wave back, say thank you, and don’t be afraid of conversation with a stranger. Ask for directions. We want to help and, especially this week, we love showing off our town.
Walton Way is Walton Way, Washington Road is Washington Road, and The Partridge Inn is the Partridge Inn. For some reason, we don’t shorten them to Walton, Washington, or The Partridge. It is what it is.
Otherwise, have a big time. Enjoy our restaurants and bars. Relax in our homes, and know that hours went into making them yours. Eat an egg salad or 10, and remember that a beer held too long will only get warm. Welcome, y’all!