Photo Essay: An Invite To Augusta

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Photo Essay: An Invite To Augusta

April 10, 2012

The golden ticket ... I mean invitation.

Driving down the most celebrated street in Augusta, Magnolia Lane, the main driveway leading from Washington Road to the clubhouse.

Entering Founders Circle, a memorial in front of the clubhouse honoring Augusta National co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts.

A painting of Clifford Roberts that hangs in the clubhouse.

The three-year-old practice range at Augusta National got rave reviews from players. About the only ordinary thing there is the pyramid of range balls.

Walter, my caddie for the day, is a retiree with a wife of 40 years, four kids and four grandchildren. His humor and story telling made the day extra special.

The grandstands were empty, but there is still nervousness when playing the 445-yard, par-4 first hole.

The tee boxes are simple: wood bench and tee markers.

The 575-yard, par-5 second hole is where Louis Oosthuizen holed his second shot for double eagle. No such luck for me.

For many the aesthetics are what make Augusta National such a unique place. Particularly impressive are towering pines that frame the holes.

The 240-yard par-3 fourth hole proved pivotal on Masters Sunday when Phil Mickelson's tee shot hit the grandstand left of the green and ricocheted into the bushes. The resulting triple-bogey 6 essentially ended his chances of winning.

The other 51 weeks of the year, the club's logo replaces the Masters insignia on the pin flags.

A view of the ninth green and clubhouse.

Couldn't play a round without a picture of Amen Corner's famed 12th hole, the 155-yard par 3 with the Hogan Bridge in the foreground.

Since patrons aren't walking near the bridge, here's a look at the plaque honoring Hogan.

Here's a different view of Rae's Creek and 12th green from an angle not usually shown on television.

There's not just flora on the course. Some snapping turtles make their home in Rae's Creek.

The 510-yard, par-5 13th, the last of three holes comprising Amen Corner.

There was no question I was laying up short of the water in front of the 530-yard, par-5 15th.

The grandstand and leader board adjacent to the 15th green.

The 170-yard, par-3 16th. During a practice round this year, Martin Kaymer playfully skipped his ball across the water and in the hole for an ace.

Following my caddie up the fairway on the 18th hole. I didn't play particularly well on this day, but my score was secondary.

The Big Oak next to the clubhouse is a popular gathering spot for players, members and guests during Masters week.

The view of the stately clubhouse and veranda from near the first tee.

A closer look at the back entrance to the clubhouse.

A look at Founders Circle and Magnolia Lane from the front balcony of the clubhouse.

A special day comes to an end. Driving down Magnolia Lane, on my way out.

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