A Travellerspoint blog

Augusta National – The Masters 2018



Greetings fellow travelers! I have returned from the hallowed ground of Augusta National. I'm grateful to say that this was my third time there for the Friday and Saturday rounds. First visit was in 2011 and then 2016. This was the best time by far as I know the layout and etiquette fairly well.

I attend a few pro tournaments here and there. Last summer I volunteered to work the men's Senior Open at Salem Country Club. I've attended pro-am draw parties for the Deutche Bank (now Dell Tech Championship) and met a few pros - Brandt Snedeker, Charley Hoffman, Ernie Els, Tommy Gainey - and celebs. Tiger spoke at one of the parties and Justin Rose did a long interview the year he won the US Open. I've had tent access at the tourney as well.

At Augusta, on the course, there is no insider or special access for members or those lucky enough to have Berkman Place tickets. They walk the course like the rest of the patrons. One of the things I love most about Augusta is the patron isn't gouged and has real bathrooms - not portables - with attendants keeping the place spotless. As for concessions, a blue moon draft was $5 and domestic beer $4. That's less than half of what we get charged at most other tournaments. Other concession staples are the pimento cheese sandwich for $1.50. A club sandwich or chicken wrap cost $3. And its good!

The one negative about attending is that the hotels jack up prices to ridiculous proportions. The first year we stayed at the HoJo's in Aiken SC. It was tired then but since we spent little time there it was good enough for our needs. We stayed there again this year and they had upgraded recently with new carpet, paint, furniture and sink areas. It was tolerable but made me miss the Towne Place Suites we stayed at 2 years ago (and on points!!!!).

We get asked how to get tickets over and over. We are fortunate to know a patron who offers them to us. We met many people on the course who did get them through the ticket lottery on the masters.com web site. Only one person per household can apply - for both practice rounds and tournament rounds. Next year is the added bonus of a women's amateur on the Saturday before the Masters. If you simply want to wee the course in all her beauty I recommend trying to get those tickets!

The course is just gorgeous. Some of the azaleas were past prime, especially on the par 3 course, but Amen Corner was lush. There are no weeds anywhere. The rough is just grass! Then it ends at pine straw on most holes. I tend to park out on the 16th hole on the side opposite the water. Great to see the golfers walk right past. Also spent some time on the 6th tee box. Witnessed some great golf.

Since you are not allowed to bring phones and cameras on the course, they provide banks of phones where you can call anywhere in the world - gratis. They also take photo's at Founders Circle at the top of Magnolia Lane in front of the club house. Worth standing in line for!

I'm already planning my 2020 visit to THE Open at Royal St Georges in Sandwich England. Last time I attended it there, Sandy Lyle won.

Posted by MsAnnMcD 05:53 Archived in USA Tagged golf georgia augusta the_masters Comments (3)

Annie Bananie's Blog

First Blog – First World Problems

Hello fellow Travellers Point people, and particularly MRI refugees. I’m happy we have found a new environment to commune in. I’m still struggling to learn the lay of the land, but hope in time to be able to navigate and contribute effectively.

I saved a few of my trips that were on MRI to load to my blog so hopefully they will be uploaded here in short order. If you are interested in The Masters tournament, Key West Florida, Portland Maine, or the Amalfi Coast you’ll enjoy them.

So here we all are, travel lovers that are grounded and unable to effectively plan future travel. That is clearly a first world problem (FWP). I’m grateful to have this type of FWP issue but am also pretty bummed out about our summer 2020 trip that has been cancelled. I started planning it a year ago, much like I did with Rome, Capri and Positano, but this one included many pre-paid and some non-refundable tours that will take some time to sort out and obtain reimbursement (I do have travel insurance).

What was the big deal? The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s (RSG) in Sandwich, UK was the focal point of this trip. It was cancelled by the Royal and Ancient earlier this week. Starting May 1, 2020 we have the option of receiving a full refund or getting tickets to next year’s Open, remaining at RSG. I’m glad to have time to figure it out. This was a return to RSG for me as I was last there in 1985. I went with my parents and my Dad was the same age as I am now. It was a nostalgic event for me.

I’d saved my hotel points and was able to book all 3 hotels gratis. We’d start at the St. Pancras Rennaissance (where we’d hope to do a pub crawl with Brightlybob and Pey). It was to be followed by a tour to Normandy that involved a free night in Paris on my credit card annual award at Le Meridien Etoile. After our private tour (big bucks) to Normandy beaches and cemeteries we’d Eurostar back to London and spend the rest of our time at the Park Lane Marriott. I’d booked them all at the old rate before the 3 tiered pricing went into effect. While the points will be returned, I’m certain I won’t be able to book at those point levels in 2021.

The Normandy tour was a bucket list item for both my husband and I. We are rapidly losing our WW II veterans and soon none will be left to tell their stories first hand. Both our father’s served in the Navy, Pacific Theater of War, but when I went to Paris with my parents my Dad wanted to have a beer in a café on the Champs-Elysees. Many WW II Veterans that served elsewhere were keenly observing the battles in the European Theater of War. Anyway, I did splurge on this tour as it was with a private guide and town car and it was customizable to what we wanted to see. Due to the Eurostar tickets it was non-refundable. I wonder how long it will take to get the insurer to refund us?

I lived in London while serving in the military in the 1980’s and have friends there. We had hoped to see many of them and I guess that will have to be put off for a while. The Park Lane location was very close to the building I worked and an area I spent a lot of time in. I was looking forward to sharing some of my favorite places, pubs and restaurants with my husband.

I will say that the cancellation and unknown future world have taken some of the joie de vivre from my usual travel planning. I’m hard pressed to get excited about re-planning this trip. I’m glad I have some time to think it through and figure it out. I’m hoping being on this site will help me to reconnect and get my travel juices flowing again. I’m also looking forward to reading my MRI friends blogs/posts and making new TP friends as well.
Last, like I said in the title, even worrying about future holidays and vacation travel is truly a “First World Problem” and I consider myself fortunate. Cheers!

Posted by MsAnnMcD 09:40 Archived in USA Comments (3)

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