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Senior Golfer - On The Green

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.

Hooray for springtime

The Putting Green

The grass is growing, birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming—what a great change from the freezing temperatures, record snowfalls, and hollowing winds of this long winter. Better yet, April signals the start of the golfing season in Chicago because the Masters, golf’s first major, is upon us; and, for the second year in a row, I’m heading with my family to the “tradition like no other.” Hooray for springtime!

For many of us, there is no other sports spectacle like the Masters at the “Hallowed Sanctuary of Golf,” called Augusta National. The mere mention of the Master gets our blood flowing and the heart thumping for a round of golf.

Because I am going to Augusta for a practice round, I’ll share with you six little-known facts about Augusta and the Masters. I got these 18 little-known facts about the world’s most famous golf course from a golf buddy of mine. If you would like the 12 other unique things, send me an email and I’ll send them to you.

Two general observations: First, the course is very hilly, and you won’t notice this from TV. Walking it is a real test of endurance. The second observation is that at Augusta, the grass is greener, the flowers are prettier and the friendly atmosphere makes this the best run tournament on the Tour.

Here are some other facts to note:

  • Imagine beginning the golf tournament with Amen Corner. That’s the way Bobby Jones and course designer Alister MacKenie originally had the course laid out. That’s the way it was played for the first tournament in 1934, won by Horton Smith. One year later, the nines were reversed. The reason: frost was slower to thaw out on the lower portion of the golf course near Amen Corner for morning tee times.
  • Under the No. 13 green is a system of pipes hooked up to a pump that can draw air in and pump it out. This subsurface air system is used to dry the greens faster, promote root growth and prevent turf disease.
  • Alister MacKenzie never saw the final version of Augusta National. He died at age 63 on Jan. 6, 1934, at his home in Santa Cruz, CA, two months before the first tournament, which was then called the Augusta National Invitational.
  • There is a palm tree on the golf course, even though it is hard to find. It is located on the par-3 fourth hole. See if you can find it?
  • Mackenzie designed a 19th hole that was supposed to be a short par 3 from left of the 18th green, where the members’ practice area is now located up the hill to where the putting green currently sits. The point of the hole was to allow for extra wagering. It was never built.
  • Possibly the biggest mystery of all: Clifford Roberts, the Augusta National co-founder who ruled the club and tournament with an iron fist, is buried on the grounds, but where is a mystery. Roberts was cremated in 1984, and his ashes were buried somewhere on the Augusta National grounds. The whereabouts is a well-kept secret.

Enjoy the golf season!

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.

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