So you want to attend the Masters? Here's what you should know

Patron and visitor tips for getting inside the gates at Augusta National

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- If you're like most golfers and have never been to the Masters, here's some good news: There's always next year. Now the bad news: Tickets aren't so easy to get, but they're not impossible.

As many know, there are a limited number of tickets available, and those have been sold out for years. There's a waiting list you can't currently get on, and the number of tickets sold is a guarded secret by the good folks at Augusta National.

But there are other avenues, just like there are in other sports.

Getting past Magnolia Lane

This may come as a surprise to non-golf fans, but the Masters might be the second-most difficult ticket in all of sports behind the Super Bowl.

It's not just the competition but the venue as well. It's the only one of the four majors that's played on the same golf course every year; and oh, what a golf course. For golfers, it's hallowed ground.

And for first-timers, it's always more impressive than what they could have imagined.

But back to the tickets dilemma. Nothing is impossible.

Just like the Super Bowl, if you're willing to pay the price, you can get tickets. A single badge may cost $1,500 or more, but for many; it's worth it. The interesting part about this is that Augusta National and the Masters are very strict about the resale of tickets. Those caught doing this can have their ticket privileges permanently revoked (it says so on the ticket), but the policy doesn't seem to hinder ticket brokers from getting their hands on them. So if you're willing to pay the price, there are always the ticket brokers.

You can also just show up during Masters week and try to buy some from scalpers. That's the same deal, but you might be able to get them cheaper in person, especially if the weather is threatening. The Masters has a no refund or rain check policy on rainouts.

Of course, one of the best ways to see the Masters is through the major sponsors, who are not only allocated tickets but a hospitality cabin as well and other special privileges.

I was fortunate enough in 2014 to take part in the Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Needless to say, we were taken care of from the airport back to the airport. Meals, entertainment, drinks and access to areas where the general patrons weren't allowed were all part of the package.

There's even a replica of the 18th green (No. 11) with green speeds to match -- that we were allowed to putt on. And there were first-rate accommodations at River Island.

Practice makes perfect

Players skip balls across the pond on the 16th hole at Augusta National in 2011.

Also, you're more likely to score tickets -- and at a cheaper rate -- during practice rounds, which is actually what I recommend for first-timers.

I like the practice rounds because you can take cameras, and on Wednesday, there's the par-3 contest. (During the tournament proper, you're not even supposed to bring a cell phone on the premises.) While parts of the par 3 are now televised, it's still a part of Augusta National most golfers don't get to see. And during the par 3, you get to see players such as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and other legendary Masters champions who no longer opt to the play in the championship event. Again, this is a time when the players let their hair down, often employing family members -- even young children -- to caddie for them.

Practice tickets are more available through brokers and scalpers, and you might even be able to get them from Masters.com through its online application. There's a random allocation of a few tickets each year, so if you're lucky, you could score them legitimately. Just go to the website and to the ticket page to register.

What to expect at the Masters

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Tips for first-time patrons to the Masters

The Masters is unlike any other golf tournament in a number of ways. The most obvious is that while the PGA Tour and European Tours caved to cell phones years ago, they are strictly prohibited at all times at The Masters. You'll have to leave them in your car or at home, even during practice rounds. (View more rules at Masters.com here). They're so caught up in tradition that they've kept concessions to 1970s prices. Patrons can get a couple of Masters Moon Pies for a dollar, a pimento cheese sandwich for $1.50 and a beer for $3. All they ask is that you deposit your waste in the green trash bags. (Yep, everything's green at the Masters.)

If you're like most, you'll want to buy some merchandise, and boy do they have a golf shop. The line going in is like the ones you see at Disney World, but they move quickly. The challenging part is that throughout the large shop, it's sort of like a buffet. You have to keep moving and make decisions on the fly. There's no room for true browsing. And, unfortunately, the prices on merchandise aren't like they are on sandwiches.

On the grounds, those who have chairs or are willing to sit can get closer to the action. On most holes, there are designated sitting areas.

There are lots of great spots for viewing. One of my favorites is between the 15th green and 16th tee. If you can find the right spot, you can watch them come in on 15 and see all the action on 16.

But the best place to watch? That's got to be "Amen Corner" -- holes 11, 12 and 13. Find the top of the bleachers behind the 12th tee, and you can see the approaches, chips and putts on the 11th green, Hogan's Bridge and all the action on the 12th. And watch the tee shots come out of the chute on the par-5 13th; there may not be a better vantage point in all of golf.

Watch the women play at Augusta

Zoe Campos of the United States plays her shot from the 12th tee during the final round of the Augusta National Women's Amateur.

Another opportunity for golf fans to get into Augusta National is right before the Masters, during the Augusta National Women's Amateur. While those tickets aren't guaranteed, your chances of getting them are far greater than trying to purchase Masters tickets, if you don't already have them.

You first have to create an account online (after May 1 the year prior) on the ANWA website. The applications are processed each prior September. In October, those who have been selected to purchase tickets are notified (only one application per household). Tickets are free to the first two rounds at Champions Retreat, but were $75 each for final-round play at Augusta National during the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur in 2019. Prices for 2020 and beyond haven't been announced yet.

GolfChannel.com's look at some answers to frequently asked questions of the Masters Tournament
Curious what it's like on the inside? Put these events to Pine Valley, Augusta National and Cypress Point on your calendar.
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Golf Advisor's guide to all things Masters and Augusta National, including where to play during the tournament.


Updated 4/9/19, 03:18 PM: Updated policies and Augusta National Womens Amateur
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
16 Comments
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Commented on

If it gets rained out on Sunday can you use those tickets on Monday would they sell tickets for monday

Commented on

The Masters does not issue rain checks of any kind, but if Sunday's round is rained out and there is play on Monday, Sunday's tickets are valid for Monday. There are no additional tickets sold for any play beyond Sunday, should there be play on Monday, according to our sources at Augusta

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Commented on

I was wondering myself

Commented on

Can the public ever get in to Augusta national for a chore, not during an event?

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So if I buy 2 Ticket and Lodging packages from one of the hospitality companies in my name, can I resell one of them at a profit on the side to pay partially or fully for my package? Do they need the names of both people attending upon purchase, or could I simply attempt to sell the other package?

Commented on

What is meant by a “row badge”?

Commented on

Hi Bertha, just curious where you heard that term. I know there are series badges and daily tickets (sold out, of course), but I am not familiar with row badges. As far as I know there's no reserved seating per se around the greens, but you can stake out a place if you get there early. I also checked with the Masters ticket office and a senior official there told me they were unaware of such a badge.

Commented on

It's interesting that you talked about how you'll need to choose things at the gift shop quickly because it will be crowded. I have been planning on going to the masters this year and I wasn't sure how to prepare. I can see how it would be nice to buy things at the shop as fast as I can. That way, I won't have to worry about making other people wait longer. http://www.legendarysports.com

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How strict are they about not having patrons go into the golf shop? Do they have a guard or somebody there checking your badge?

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Whats the rule for cameras

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You can take all the pictures you want during practice rounds and even the par 3 contest, but once the tournament starts, no cameras and absolutely no cell phones (the latter of which is different that PGA Tour policy).

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Commented on

That's not true and I was pissed last year....I went to Tuesday's practice round and they DO NOT allow cellphones at all...I was told that you would be escorted off-site if caught with a cellphone! For all the money we paid for tickets, $500 each, I was very very disappointed with this rule!!!

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Respect

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Commented on

I have Wednesday practice round tix and can't wait to get there!  My cell phone is my camera, is this allowable as long as I'm not using the phone for anything other than pictures, or do I need to go buy a digital camera?

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Commented on

I wouldn't risk it. Go buy a digital camera. I'm from New Zealand, and applied for the lottery, and didn't get anything. Considered shelling out on Stubhub etc but to go all that way would be a $20,000 NZD trip for a week based on the scalping rates. Will try for the lottery next year haha. All the best, jealous doesn't begin to describe it.....

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Commented on

Jones Creek has out of bounds stakes on almost every hole. It is a neighborhood course which discourages walking. It is in good shape, but I think this type of course is what is wrong with recreational golf.Forest Hills is a classic park style course and walker friendly. I would play it over Jones Creek.

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So you want to attend the Masters? Here's what you should know