Augusta National's Unwritten Etiquette Rules
Southerners pride themselves on their good manners and their mastery of the rules of etiquette. That is particularly true when gathered on the perfectly manicured greens at Georgia’s Augusta National golf course for the Masters tournament.
If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket to the golf event of the year, be aware that there are quite a few etiquette rules that must followed or risk embarrassment or possible ejection from the links. After all, Augusta is hallowed ground for golfers, at least according to the club’s website, which proclaims that the grounds can inspire patrons to “walk around with a sense of awe and reverence, like they were entering the national cathedral instead of a major sporting event.” Those who attend the tournament need to respect that sense of awe by putting on their Sunday best and minding their manners and Augusta’s many etiquette rules. After all, as the club’s co-founder Bobby Jones wrote in 1967, “in golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play.”
Those rules of etiquette and decorum are extensive, but make the Masters one of the most dignified sports viewing experiences around. Here are some of the event’s etiquette rules:
No cameras. You may snap a photo of the players or the grounds, but only during the practice rounds, which are held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Taking a photo during real play is a big no-no and the rule applies to players too. Golfers McDowell have been reprimanded in the past for taking video and photos on the grounds and in the clubhouse and posting them online.
Cell phones and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited and guests must pass through airport style metal detectors at the gates to ensure no one sneaks in a phone.
Caddies must wear the club’s trademark white jumpsuits.
Running anywhere on the course is grounds for dismissal.
It is not allowed to ask players for autographs on the course. Autograph seeking is only allowed at one spot in the club—on the Washington Road side of the clubhouse near the practice facilities.
No matter how lush the grass, patrons may not stand or walk around without shoes.
Security guards will confiscate any "contraband" and egregious violators can lose their tickets and be ejected from the grounds.
No coolers or containers of any type in which beverages can be carried are allowed on the course. If you opt to bring a picnic lunch, check it at the gate and pick up your picnic when you’re ready to eat. That said, keep in mind that Augusta keeps its concession prices shockingly low (can you get a sandwich for $1.50 anywhere else?)
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Don’t even think of buying, selling, or even handing off a ticket at Augusta. Per club rules, tickets can’t change hands within a 2,700-foot boundary around the club and they mean it. In 2012, three dozen people were arrested by undercover officers for buying or selling Masters tickets.
If you can afford the ticket price, you’re allowed to bring children to the Masters. However, guardians are responsible for the behavior of their children and if they misbehave, parents and their misbehaving children may be removed from the club.
Backpacks and oversized tote bags are not allowed.
Patrons are not allowed to lie down on the grass.
Leave your green jacket at home. in the car or at home or in the hotel room. Those are reserved for members and past champions.
No tipping allowed.
Hats can not be worn backwards—not even by players.
Comments from the gallery will not be tolerated.
Don’t ask to become a member. There is no application, because club membership is by invitation only.
Announcers have their own set of rules, too. Broadcasters must call fans "patrons" and must refer to the rough as the second cut.
Don’t even think of asking for the club’s pimiento cheese spread recipe. It’s a secret!