Last month I took my father and my oldest son to the Master’s in Augusta, Georgia. If you are a golfer and haven’t done this it needs to go on your bucket list. I’ve been very blessed to go many times, but never had my dad and Dylan accompany me. When you arrive at the Master’s everyone, and I mean everyone, has the look of a kid seeing his presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Most people who have attended on numerous occasions have a routine when they enter the gates.
First, you hit the merchandise tent and purchase for your friends, family and yourself. I’m in the golf business, know what everything costs and still spend $600.00 on t-shirts and hats. You then go and purchase a pimento cheese sandwich. I don’t care for pimento cheese, but staying with tradition I eat half a sandwich to say I ate one. Another great tradition is the placement of your personal chair. Everyone writes their name on the back of their chair and places it near the green or tee box you want to watch. You can leave for hours and return to your chair at any time during the day. The Master’s also charges $2.00 for a sandwich and $1.00 for a drink. You can have a great meal for under $6.00 where other tournaments charge $8.00 for a hot dog and $10.00 for a beer. The Master’s does it right and without question they run the greatest tournament in the world.
As we went through the entrance they had metal detectors and were screening everyone like they were going through airport security. The Master’s has a NO CELLPHONE policy and there are no exceptions. On practice round days you are allowed to bring cameras, but pictures can’t be taken with a cell phone. As we walked the magnificent grounds of Augusta I started to notice that I hadn’t called or sent a text to anyone for hours. The patrons were all talking and having conversations while waiting on the next group of players to come through.
The golf world is small and I bumped into Whispering Pines members along with members from other clubs that I knew. I even struck up a conversation with a guy from Ohio and we talked about the Oklahoma vs Ohio State game back in the 70’s where my friend Bud Hebert was the holder for the game winning kick to beat Ohio State. To my surprise this guy was at that game 40 years ago and remembered every detail. My son and I talked about so many things that day. The entire 12 hours flew by so fast and that’s when I realized not once had I seen a cell phone. Not having a cell phone forces you to talk to people face to face. At one point I was standing on the 14th tee and realized all us, me included, would have been texting or talking to someone on our phones until the next group came through. Instead people were getting to know each other and have meaningful conversations.
As for me it was an incredible day with my father and son. I’m glad we were not allowed to bring in cell phones because it allowed me to have one of the best days of my life with family. The next time you are with your family put the cell phones away. Tell the family you are going to have a Master’s evening at the house. The kids will be fine not playing their video game or texting their buddies. Your wife can go one evening without texting her girlfriends and your work will still be there tomorrow even if you don’t respond to every email.
Thank you Augusta National for making me leave my cell phone in the car on that beautiful April day in Georgia!