Augusta National is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world. As the annual host of the Masters, Augusta is on the world stage one week each year as the tournament ushers in the spring, and with it, another golf season. But that iconic stature does not translate to accessibility.
While many of us may think we knows the nuances of the Augusta National we see on TV each year, the reality is that most people don’t know the first thing about the club. Seeing it on TV is one thing, but playing it is reserved for a select few.
This lack of accessibility leads to our opinions on Augusta being shaped through the narrow lens that we get to see it through. Because of this, opinions remain largely unchanged. But for those who get to play the course often and see behind-the-scenes looks at the club, opinions do change.
Billy Horschel is a prime example. As a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, he’s had many chances to play in the Masters, and as he explained on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, his opinion on Augusta has changed over time.
“I’ve come to love Augusta more,” Horschel said. “Growing up the way I did, I saw Augusta as being stuffy, uptight, people thought they were better than (everyone else).”
However, after Horschel got the experience of playing in the Masters a few times, those pre-conceived notions gave way to a new appreciation for the host club.
“The more I’ve been on the grounds, the more I’ve seen who the members are at Augusta, the more comfortable I’ve gotten being on the grounds,” Horschel said. “These people are really great people. They love the game of golf. They love this sport. They love this course. … That’s grown on me a lot.”