By Peter Finch
Some articles are more fun to research than others. “Lucky Bastards” was definitely among the enjoyable ones. It seems everyone who has played Augusta National has at least one good story to tell about the experience, and generally they are super-eager to talk about it.
A lot of people I contacted did not want to speak to me “for attribution”—that is, using their names. They worried they wouldn’t be invited back if they appeared in Golf Digest, no matter how complimentary their comments about the club. I get it! Still, quite a few people were happy to let me name them in the piece, and for that I’m grateful.
The thing that surprised me most about this article was how friendly the club feels to visitors. Nearly everyone I interviewed said the same thing. Augusta National may not welcome publicity, but it’s very good at welcoming the guests of its members.
One recent visitor told me: "The first hour, I kept thinking, I just hope I don't get thrown out." But the staff and the club's members were universally warm and welcoming, he said. "At some clubs, the members give off an attitude like, 'WTF are you doing here?' " said another guest. "At Augusta, they know what 'guest' means."
I’ve been lucky enough to attend the Masters a few times as a Golf Digest writer and editor, though I have not played the course. Would I like to? Absolutely. But one thing I learned in reporting this article is that it’s considered bad form to ask for an invitation. So if anyone ever needs a fourth, I’ll just be here by my phone. Waiting.