ALL IN A DAY’S WORK

The Masters' Other Jackets: Why working the tournament at Augusta has perks

April 02, 2024

Few symbols of success are more recognizable, coveted and iconic than the green jacket of Augusta National Golf Club, and there are only two ways to get one—accept an invitation for membership or win the Masters Tournament. Either way, you pretty much have the world by the balatas.

With a big asterisk, a third way to don an Augusta jacket is to work the tournament. It won’t be a tailored Pantone 342 (rye green) single-breasted sport coat emblazoned with the club logo and three brass buttons, but it still gets you inside the gates. Assisting the membership in running the greatest sporting event on Earth takes a small army—well, maybe not that small—of hired help and volunteers. If you’ve attended the Masters, you’ve come to recognize these folks by their distinctive jackets. Green remains prominent (especially the half-zip pullover and windbreaker variety), but look around and you’ll find overlayers of red, blue, black, lilac, white and, well, almost every other spring it seems a new color pops up like a flower, and the Augusta National logo adorns most of these jackets.

The hours can be long, and the pay isn’t what you would call handsome—typically about $12 to $16 per hour—and many of these positions require shifts during the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. However, compensation comes with the perk of having an opportunity during off-hours to take in the year’s first major, which is cool when you consider that the Masters is known for being the toughest ticket in sports. Feel like signing up? Visit jobs.masters.com to investigate opportunities for the 2025 edition.

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NEAT POLICE: This crew in blue helps keep the grounds pristine. Photograph by Ben Walton

“It’s not about the money because the money is not great,” says an Augusta resident who has worked in the concession areas the past few years. “You get to see some golf, and that is pretty awesome. The cool thing is saying you are a part of the experience. It’s the stories you can tell your friends. You can say you contributed to something that a lot of people have an interest in. It’s an ‘I was there when’ thing. There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”

These helpers aren’t just locals but rather come from all over the country, and many have been returning for a decade or more. Just who are these individuals with their eye-catching jackets and what do they do? Well, we asked them.

GREEN JACKETS (tan-hat division)

These are the leaderboard operators, and in the Land of Cellphone Purgatory, their job is among the most integral on the property. Quite celebrated is the crew manning the giant 18th-hole leaderboard, especially on Sundays as the swollen mini-village of patrons in foldout chairs reacts with ever-increasing excitement to the updated numbers.

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BOARD GAMES: A volunteer works the leaderboard on the second hole at Augusta National, keeping anxious patrons up to date on the latest scores. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mike Ehrmann

GREEN JACKETS (beer-distribution division)

Working the registers under the roofs of the permanent concession structures is literally a job made in the shade. Perks include the ability to easily step out to watch golf during off-hours or, around mid-afternoon, to engage in enlightening repartee with Mr. I’ll-Have-Another. It should be noted that all the volunteers may watch golf but must remove their hats when off duty.

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FEEDING THE MULTITUDE: Concession workers in green might be the busiest people on the property. Photograph by J.D. Cuban

GREEN JACKETS (yellow-hat division)

These are the gallery guards who run the crosswalks. This volunteer brigade, numbering about 350 and scattered throughout the property, enjoy the opportunity to watch shots while on duty. Essentially, they need to be prepared to answer four basic questions: Where’s the beer? Where’s the bathroom? Where’s Tiger? How do we get to Amen Corner? Occasionally they do get the odd stumper, like, “Where’s my husband?”

Gallery guards tend to entertain themselves between inquiries by people-watching and eavesdropping snippets of conversations, the most entertaining being the misidentification of players coupled with strong opinions.

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ALL IN A DAY’S WORK: Gallery guards put in long hours and hear a lot of the same questions. Photograph by Christian Iooss

Of course, the crème de la crème of perks, afforded not just to the gallery guards but all the volunteers, is a round of golf at Augusta National at the end of May before the club closes for the summer. They also can hang around and play the Par-3 Course as many times as they want and buy Masters merchandise at half-price. Oh, and lunch is free, too. As one can imagine, there is a waiting list to join these ranks.

Compensation comes with the perk of having an opportunity during off-hours to take in the year's first major.

“I waited four years to get here,” says one gentleman from Columbia, S.C. “How else would someone like me get on Augusta National? It’s a sweet deal if you don’t get rained out. They don’t reschedule.”

WHITE JACKETS

A wildly popular herd, this contingent in white jackets and black bowties serves as waiters and bartenders. They are seen scurrying about the expansive veranda ensuring that club members and guests receive first-class service, validating Augusta National’s reputation for across-the-board efficiency. If only every restaurant we visited employed the same immensely helpful ratio of servers to guests.

LILAC JACKETS

Just about all attendees interact with this group stationed in the Masters shop. They work as cashiers, merchandise stockers and support to help people run up their credit-card balances. The shop reportedly brings in as much as $850,000 per hour, with its shelves of Augusta National-logoed items as diverse as wallets, ties, cutting boards, garden gnomes, cufflinks and more, in addition to golf accessories.

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DETAIL BLACK JACKETS (club division)

The contingent from Securitas is the safety force that keeps things in order during a hectic week. Club managers with specific responsibilities, including food and beverage and sommelier, wear these smart blazers. During the 2022 tournament, a guest ordered a rare French wine at lunch that the patron was convinced the club couldn’t possibly have in its impressively stocked cellar. After a few moments, said vintage was produced, which carried a modest price tag of $23,000.

BLACK JACKETS (security division)

These souls fill the ranks of hired security guards for the firm Securitas. Job requirement: stand around for 12 hours or more without leaving designated posts but for the most urgent needs. They number anywhere from 900 to 1,200 strong, the number diminishing as the week wears on. Not that you would notice because 900 still seems like more than enough among polite society.

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SECURITY DETAIL: The contingent from Securitas is the safety force that keeps things in order during a hectic week. Photograph by J.D. Cuban

RED JACKETS

Truthfully, they’re more like smocks. You’ll find them among the staff at the extravagant Berckmans Place, where VIPs watch the action on big screens in the comfort of air-conditioning and limitless upscale food and beverage. Well, maybe not you. They don’t let your kind in there, but ask your better-connected friends about it.

These helpers come from around the country, and many have been returning for a decade or more.

BLUE JACKETS (suit division)

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BLAZER BRIGADE Blue suit jackets signify importance and are worn by rules officials or gallery-guard supervisors. Photograph by Ben Walton

Blue suit jackets are reserved for rules officials—usually two per hole—and for the volunteer job of gallery-guard supervisors, who are kind of a big deal. In addition to managing the gallery guards, the supervisors are armed with phones programmed to automatically dial 911 or 6911 (the non-emergency dispatch number) in case a patron suffers medical distress. The supervisors also coordinate evacuation of players and caddies during weather delays, which means they were busy during the 2023 Masters.

Assisting the membership in running the greatest sporting event on Earth takes an army of hired help and volunteers.

The supervisors react with such promptness to evacuation protocols that Louis Oosthuizen went out of his way to compliment them during the2022 edition. “There is no other tournament in the world that thinks of everything the way the Masters does,” the South African said.

BLUE JACKETS (maintenance division)

This might be as thankless a job as one can imagine, although the folks who mill around the clubhouse sweeping and picking up stray litter—we’re talking about the tiniest bits of flotsam here—at least get to rub elbows with some of the players.