‘Was I nervous? Oh my God, yes’: What it’s like to visit Butler Cabin during the Masters
Ed. note: Just as Augusta National is the ultimate insiders’ club, the Masters is the ultimate insiders’ tournament. Nearly nine decades after the storied venue was founded, the Augusta Experience has remained shrouded in mystery. To unlock some of its secrets, we asked those who have been part of the experience to describe one element of what makes Augusta Augusta and the Masters the Masters. The fourth installment of our “What It’s Like…” series (below) was contributed by two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw.
Previous installments: Caddying for a Masters winner | Hosting the Champions Dinner | Sinking green-jacket dreams at 12 | Working on the Masters grounds crew | Staying in the Crow’s Nest | Hitting a ceremonial opening tee shot
The year was 1972, and I had just finished as the low amateur with rounds of 73, 74, 74 and 74, finishing nine shots behind the winner, Jack Nicklaus. Which meant I would head into Butler Cabin for the post-round interview with the club chairman, Clifford Roberts.
Was I nervous? Oh my God, yes. I was petrified.
I had passed by the place a few times earlier that week. But Butler Cabin wasn’t somewhere you casually went in; it was somewhere you were invited to go in.
At least my hair was short when I went in, which was a big deal for Mr. Roberts. Earlier that week, when I first met him, he started off by telling me how fond the folks at Augusta were of Texans. He mentioned Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret and Jackie Burke.
Then came the line I’ll never forget: “By the way, Ben, do you know we have a barbershop on the grounds?”
I immediately found the shop and got the haircut.
In the cabin that afternoon, I don’t recall him mentioning my hair. To be honest, I don’t recall anything anyone said. I was too much in awe.
I was invited back in 1973, when I was the low amateur again, and as the champion in 1984 and ’95. Not for one moment did I lose that sense of awe. That goes for Butler Cabin and everything else about Augusta National.
With reporting by Michael Arkush