I just had lunch at Berkmans Place, the most exclusive and elaborate hospitality site in all of sports. It's all of Augusta National's qualities -- immaculate, swanky and classy, concentrated into one venue. Some highlights:
-- It has five restaurants. Five full-service, sit-down restaurants. And the menus don't list any prices because food and drink (all of it, as much as you want) are included in the passes that cost $6,000. (Daily passes don't exist; you can buy only weeklong passes.)
-- It has a pro shop that carries all the merchandise sold in the members' pro shop (which, by the way, has items that aren't available in the merchandise tent).
-- It has three replica greens modeled after the 7th, 14th and 16th greens at Augusta, and one "composite" green that's set up to replicate the putts players might face on the course. To play those greens, patrons are given a Titleist ProV1 ball and an option of top-tier putters from Odyssey, Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade, Ping and Nike.
-- Caddies help patrons read each of the greens. Ike, the caddie we had on the first green (which was a replica of Augusta's 16th), has caddied at the Masters 12 times. Twelve…times. And he's been a caddie at Augusta for 46 years.
-- It showcases tributes to various parts of Augusta National's history: Berckmans Nursery (also known as Fruitland), which was the horticultural nursery founded in 1856 that later became Augusta National Golf Club; Bobby Jones -- included in his tribute are a framed image of his Sports Illustrated cover (April 6, 1959), his passport, and his Spalding golf balls; Clifford Roberts -- a copy of Ben Hogan's "Power Golf" is on display, and it's inscribed with the following note: "To my very good friend Cliff Roberts with great admiration. My best to you always. Golfingly, Ben Hogan"; a framed version of the large document signed by the 10 contestants who competed in the first-annual Masters Tournament (in 1934); and a framed slice of Ike's Tree.
If for some reason a ticket to the Masters doesn't quite carry enough pizazz, and if you can afford to drop an extra $6,000, Berckmans Place is calling your name.