A Masters badge is one of the most coveted tickets in sports, not just because you get to roam the grounds of Augusta National, but because you get to roam the fabled gift shop of Augusta National. What good’s a trip to the Masters if you can’t tell everyone you were there?
Augusta National doesn’t release figures on how much merchandise it sells each year, but if you figure that virtually every person who walks through the club’s gates drops at least three figures, and sometimes much more, you can start to get an idea of how much we’re talking here. The next SEC football game or golf outing in the Southeast where someone’s not wearing Masters gear will be the first one.
On the list of challenges and missed opportunities regarding this year’s Masters, the question of how to get souvenirs into the hands of the Augusta faithful was a vexing one. How do you sell wares to patrons when patrons aren’t allowed on the course?
Augusta National took its business online, but with a characteristic twist: You can only access the store if you already had badges to this year’s Masters. (How the club will deal with 2020 badges in 2021 is another story entirely.)
However, if you are fortunate enough to get in the virtual door, Augusta National is doing what it can to bring the full Masters experience to your house. Patrons who’ve been to Augusta wax nostalgic about the pimento cheese and the caramel popcorn, and now you can bring that right to your home without having to tuck a sandwich in your pocket:
Taste of the Masters ($150): It’s a touch more expensive than the food on the course, and you’ve got to supply your own white bread and non-brand-name-listed beer or soft drinks, but with this assortment you get everything from pimento cheese to egg salad to pork barbecue, plus chips, cookies, popcorn, 25 plastic cups, and even Masters logo serving papers. Feel free to shush your guests if they get too mouthy.
Here are a few more of the notable items for sale in the Patron Shop:
Masters 2020 print ($35): There’s nary an azalea to be seen on the course this year, but fall colors are every bit as gorgeous. This print captures that autumn rainbow at Amen Corner.
2020 Holiday Ornament ($25): In the last few years, Augusta National has released an annual ornament, each of a hole corresponding to the year. (The 18th came out in 2018. You get this.) As there’s no 20th hole, this year’s model is a shot of the clubhouse, the fabled oak, and the umbrellas and tents where, in years past and future, patrons gather for a bit of refreshment.
Augusta pine scented candle ($45): You’ve got the Taste of Augusta above, and now you can have the Scent of Augusta, too. You’ll have to create your own bird sounds and 5,000-person shouts to get the Sounds of Augusta, though.
2020 Masters gnome ($49.50): The gnome is fine, but if Augusta National offered that holiday sweater for sale, it’d sell to the walls. (The stocking cap is indeed available for $35.)
2020 gnome long-sleeve shirt ($49): Most of the Masters-brand merchandise is fairly straightforward — hats, shirts, sweaters, belts — some with “2020” included, some perennial. This is one of the few items of clothing that acknowledges that we’ve got a bit of a different year this year … although the weather seems to be indicating that the gnome will be a bit overdressed.
So if you’re looking to lay your hands on some Masters merch, find someone who had a badge to this year’s tournament and ask nicely. But don’t wait too long; each patron is only allowed two transactions. You can’t back up a fleet of pickup trucks to the gift shop in normal years, so you can’t keep dispatching mail trucks this time around, either.
But if you’re not able to swing any Masters swag this time around, take heart … for the first time in history, the next Masters is only five months away.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips and story ideas at [email protected]
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