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Visiting The Masters Elevates Superintendents' Work Standards - Admission Is Free

Jim McLoughlin

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I firmly believe that every golf course superintendents should attend The Masters championship as early as possible in their careers because they'll see a standard of maintenance excellence that's not available anywhere else in the world and unless witnessed would not be believed possible.

 

Granted, no golf course superintendent will ever have Augusta National's budget to work with, but that is not the point.

 

The point is that every GCSAA member who visits Augusta National will be reaching for the 'impossible dream' (The Masters dream) forever, never realizing it but becoming a better golf course superintendent for life because of the pursuit.

 

TRAVEL GUIDELINES

 

Travel: Fly into Atlanta; then fly, or rent and drive (+/- two hours) on to Augusta.

 

Local Hotels: Are sold out years in advance; therefore, contact the local GCSAA chapter and ask it to arrange for one of their members to house you for a night, or two. This works.

 

Admission: That a lot of people would kill for (there has not been a public sale of tickets for decades) is free to GCSAA class A and A Retired members; bring your membership card (with photo ID) to gain admission. To be safe, confirm before finalizing plans what specific classes of GCSAA members are admitted free that year.

 

Best Days To Visit: The best days to walk the course are during the practice sessions (Monday through Wednesday). 

 

The very best time to walk the course is Wednesday afternoon when all spectators are watching the Par 3 tournament and the grounds crew is doing its final grooming of the course for the start of play on Thursday.

 

There is no better time than Wednesday afternoon to see more and to absolutely marvel at the experience because there are no spectators on the course - only a dozen or so dedicated golf course superintendents taking one final look at the course before heading home. Most superintendents then go home to see the four-day tournament better on TV.

 

Make sure to visit the course maintenance facility to see an unbelievable level of human and equipment organization.

 

FYI: Employers have traditionally paid the expenses when their superintendents have visited the Masters. If there is not enough time to plan for a visit to The Masters this year, start getting ready to visit in a coming year when you can include Masters expenses in that year's operating budget.

 

A visit to the Masters is that invaluable an educational experience that I recommend that GCSAA award serious educational points to superintendents who attend.

 

Yes, superintendents are duty-bound to attend The Masters to enhance their capability as a golf course superintendent for the benefit of their families, their employers, their profession, and the game itself.



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I believe this dynamic should also be pursued by those of us in the commercial grounds maintenance segment also. Having seen first hand the gardens at Versailles, the Biltmore Estate in NC, the National Arboretum in DC, etc. One cannot help but change there deep seated expectations. I am confident after seeing the Masters (on my professional bucket list), good enough will never again be good enough.

 

Great post, thanks.

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JOE:

 

Your comments are right on the mark. Whether it be the Masters, or the gardens you have visited - the pursuit of excellence should always be the highest priority. JMcL

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