My First-Ever PGA Tour Experience Was a 2017 Masters. It Was Magic.

David Cannon/Getty ImagesLars AndersonSenior WriterApril 7, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The turn soars into a gray Southern sky, climbing higher, higher, higher, a thing of beauty to a 500 sets of eyes tracking a trajectory. 

Dustin Johnson has usually strike a pitching crowd during a par-three 12th during Augusta National Golf Club—the biggest hole in a story of holes (more on that later)—and those of us in a grandstand Wednesday morning during a use turn are hypnotized. As Newton’s Laws take over and a turn angles toward a pin on a descent, 3 immature women sitting subsequent to me can’t enclose their joy.

“Mother of Gawwwd!” one yells.

“Better than sex!” another proclaims.

“Holy s–t!” the third says in a not-so-quiet, not-so-hushed voice.

So we start to talk, a 4 of us, about a Masters. we tell them that this is my initial outing to Augusta and my lass PGA Tour event. Two of them are first-timers as good to this march that non-stop in 1933. Fist bumps are exchanged.

From left to right: Marlowe, Me, Curtis and SheldonPhoto around Chelsea Curtis

Oh, what a trio they are. Here are their vitals: Marlowe Boukis, 30, is a connoisseur of Princeton who competed in a 2005 U.S. Women’s Open; Chelsea Curtis, 29, is a former golfer during Georgetown who used to play on a LPGA Futures Tour; and Claire Sheldon, 29, was on a golf group during Harvard. For them—and for me—this is a bucket-list destination.

They are here on their possess dime. we am here as a guest of Mercedes-Benz.

“Even if there were no golfers on a course, we would wish to be here usually to see a beauty of a place,” Marlowe says. “I can’t contend I’ve seen anything prettier.”

I couldn’t determine more. After being ferried adult Magnolia Lane in a convey bus—the canopy of 60 magnolia trees providing plenty shade—I travel to a 12th hole. This small standard 3 has dismissed my imagination ever given we initial swung a bar when we was four. The 12th appears so innocuous—155 yards, over Raes Creek—and nonetheless it has been a passing of so many. Just final year Jordan Spieth, holding a three-shot lead on Sunday, dumped dual balls in a H2O on 12 and done a quadruple-bogey seven.

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

“This hole is so nuanced, and that’s what creates it so great,” Sheldon says, observant that she has played a 12th and carded a par. “You have no abyss perception. The breeze blows one approach on a tee box and a other during a green. Golf is a mental game, and this hole is golf in a nutshell.”

We watch Johnson, who would repel from a Masters a day after after injuring his behind in a fall, make par.

The 4 of us confirm to travel a course, that has many some-more betterment change than we can detect on television. We make fun of a pretentiousness of a place—only here are fans called “patrons”; usually here is a severe famous as a “second cut”; usually here is it deliberate an Old Testament impiety for spectators to run—but we also marvel during a course’s ideal majesty, a soaring pines and manicured lawns.

Hard as we try, we can’t mark a singular hunger cone or any other waste on a landscape, healthy or man-made. The brushstrokes on a board couldn’t be some-more perfect.

“I’m not a devout person,” Marlowe says, “but this would be a closest thing we have to a church.”

We nearby a 13th immature when we present a subject of a present shop. They surprise me that they listened a gossip that a record for many money spent in that space—which is as large as a Costco—is $14,000. we confess that we laid out $210 earlier, including $16 for a dog play emblazoned with a Masters logo. “My puppy will splash H2O distinct any other.”

Photo around Chelsea Curtis

“I bought 4 Masters coasters for $25,” Marlowe says. “They are hand-stitched, man. They are so good that I’m not going to concede anyone—ANYONE—to put drinks on them. Back off of my Masters coasters!”

We conduct over to a 14th. Now it’s raining and a voice over a loudspeaker informs a congregation that a march is closed. We fast buy 4 beers and 4 ice cream sandwiches. We travel to 15, beers and ice cream in hands, a march now roughly empty.

We’ve been chatting so many that we usually now remember that we don’t have a cellphones, that aren’t authorised inside a gates of Augusta. “If we can’t Instagram it, afterwards I’m flattering certain it didn’t happen,” Curtis says. “Man, we hatred my generation.” We all laugh.

We continue to a 16th, ducking a heads in a rain. we finally tell them a tip of because we adore golf—and because we really adore a Masters.

It was Apr 2003, a day before a start of a Masters. Me and my dad, a blemish golfer in his day, went out to play a towering march in North Carolina. On a initial tee box he pronounced he wasn’t feeling well, so he motionless to usually manager me from a cart. And that’s what he did, revelation me that bar to strike and what lines to putt. we shot a 76, still a best turn of my life.

I tell my new buddies that we can still vividly design differing a 25-foot putt on 18, and how my aged male and we hugged so damn hard.

Two days after my dad—Robert Louis Anderson—was gone, carrying upheld divided suddenly during 64 from a heart attack. we watched a Masters one hour after my mom told me a news.

Harry How/Getty Images

Now we’re roughly during a 17th and we explain to my new friends that during a time we was impressed with dual emotions: grief and gratitude. Naturally we was sad, though here’s a thing: Golf had given me time with my dad—just us, alone together. we knew even then, 14 years ago, that whenever we would watch a Masters we would consider of him, be with him.

And so it is, we tell my friends. They give me high-fives.

Finally, it is time for us to partial ways.

“I’ve lonesome so many miles on golf courses in my life, though this has been a best,” Chelsea says. “There unequivocally is no place like this in a world.”

We contend goodbye. Then, in a quiet, alone, we ramble Augusta National and remember.

It was magic.

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