The Masters at Augusta National is a revered event for golfers. Golf fans make the pilgrimage to Augusta, Georgia, to see the magical property and witness what many consider to be the greatest golf tournament in the world.
But what you also may have heard about are the food and drink prices at The Masters, which seem to be stuck in the 1970s. Sandwiches for $2.50, beers for 5 bucks? If The Masters had a gas station, it would probably be less than 50 cents a gallon.
So we know the prices are low, but is the food actually any good?
While I don’t have a “sophisticated palate,” per se, I did provide my rankings of the famous food items from The Masters below. It was my first time to Augusta, so these reviews are unclouded by previous experience.
Note: Keep in mind that the only thing I’m really qualified to do is play golf and write about it. I’m not a professional food critic, but I have in fact eaten food before.
The world-famous Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Score: 3 out of 10 Azaleas
It tasted like a mushy concoction of cream cheese, egg yolks, the sharpest cheddar ever and some unknown, vile flavor, which was probably from the pimentos.
The only reason it didn’t earn a 0 or 1 is because I’ve waited my entire life to try one, as it’s a staple of The Masters, so there was the whole fulfilling-a-dream factor. That was the last bite I took, and probably ever will.
Score: 10 out of 10 Azaleas
Absolutely delicious. The meat was perfectly cooked and juicy. The sauce had a sweet, tangy flavor. A little hot sauce kicked it up a notch, too (if you’re into that kind of thing).
Ham and Cheese on Rye
Score: 6 out of 10 Azaleas
You know what it tasted like? A ham and cheese on rye that cost $2.50. It’s the vanilla ice cream of Masters sandwiches. Put some extra mustard and Masters-BBQ chips on there, though, and you’re onto something.
Masters Club Sandwich
Score: 9 out 10 Azaleas
Ham and cheese AND turkey. There’s just something about the turkey/ham combination that takes this to the next level. Maybe it’s the hamburger bun with sesame seeds that gets it done, instead of rye bread.
Why 9 out of 10? A point was deducted because when faced with a decision between the BBQ and the club later in the day, I choose the BBQ.
Classic Chicken Sandwich
Score: 7 out of 10 Azaleas
It was a little cold for my liking, and didn’t have the crunch you’d expect from its appearance. But the seasoning was packed with subtle spices, and after a packet or two of hot sauce it wasn’t only edible, but delectable. I’d never choose it over the club or BBQ sandwiches, but don’t sleep on the classic chicken.
Masters Mini Moonpies
Score: 10 out of 10 Azaleas
They taste exactly how they look. And they look incredible, don’t they? The dark chocolate outer-shell perfectly houses the crunchy graham cracker and soft marshmallow. They’re easily portable and endlessly tasty. If there were more azaleas available, the Masters Moonpies would earn the entire bouquet.
Club Junkie: Srixon ZX and TaylorMade SIM2 Max fairways and My top 3 drivers!
Masters hangover week is here! I have had the new Srixon ZX fairway out on the course and it is underrated as you would imagine. Reshafted the SIM2 Max 3w and it has been super consistent and comfortable. Talking about the top 3 drivers I have been hitting this year.
The Wedge Guy: The importance of a pre-shot routine
I believe one of the big differences between good amateurs and those who are not-so-good—and between the top professionals and those that can’t quite “get there”—lies in the consistency of their pre-shot routine. I read an interesting account on this subject after the final round of the 1990 Masters when Nick Faldo passed a collapsing Greg Norman. I know that was 30 years ago, but the lesson is just as relevant today.
This particular analyst timed the pre-shot routines of both players during the first three rounds and found that on the final day that Norman got quicker and quicker through his round, while Faldo maintained his same, methodical approach to every shot, not varying by more than a second or so. I think that is pretty insightful stuff.
Anytime you watch professional golf—or the better players at your club—you’ll see precision and consistency in the way they approach all of their shots. There is a lesson there for all of us—so, here are my ideas of how the pre-shot routine should work.
The first thing is to get a good feel for the shot, and by that, I mean a very clear picture in your mind of how it will fly, land, and roll. It is certainly realistic to have a different routine for full shots, chips and pitches, and putts, as they are all very different challenges. As you get closer to the hole, your focus needs to be more on the feel of the shot than the mechanics of the swing, in my opinion.
On any shot, I believe the best starting point is from behind the ball, seeing in your “mind’s eye” the film clip of the shot you are about to hit. See the flight path it will take, and on greenside shots, just how it will roll out. As you do this, you might waggle the club back and forth to get a feel of the club in your hands and take as many practice swings as it takes to “feel” the swing that will produce that visualized shot path for you.
Your actual pre-shot routine can start when you see that shot clearly and begin your approach the ball to set up. From that “trigger point,” you should work hard to do the exact same things, at the exact same pace, each and every time.
This is something that you can and should work on at the range. When you are out there “banging balls,” don’t just practice your swing, but how you approach each shot.
So, guys and ladies, there’s my $.02 on the pre shot routine. What do you have to add?
Ways to Win: Hideki Matsuyama from Low Am to low man at the Masters
They say the Masters does not start until the back nine on Sunday, but by that time, this year’s iteration was all but wrapped up. Hideki Matsuyama stepped onto the 10th tee with a five-stroke lead and the volatile back nine in front of him. The Augusta pines would be void of roars, though, as Matsuyama’s pursuers near the top of the leaderboard struggled to mount a significant charge. The closest challenger was a late-charging Xander Schauffele, who made four straight birdies to get to within two of the lead heading to the 16th tee. His hopes were then quickly dashed when he dunked his tee shot in the water and eventually made a triple-bogey. Augusta National Golf Club played difficult this spring. Contrary to the record-setting November version, the greens were more brown and firm than typical and required precision. Luckily for Matsuyama, precision has made him one of the elite golfers in the world. He earned this green jacket. He just happened to earn it on Saturday where his 65 was three strokes better than the next-best round. Using V1 Game to analyze his Strokes Gained performance shows Matsuyama gained 6.7 strokes on the average PGA Tour field on Saturday and 4.2 of those were from his iron game.
Matsuyama has always been a premier ball striker and, if anything, poor putting has held him back from winning more. Augusta National is no place for a balky putter and Matsuyama has made some significant strides in that category. While he did not gain strokes on the field in putting this week, he managed to get to average and, with his elite ballstriking, that was enough. Augusta National’s lightning-quick, undulated greens reward a properly-struck shot and punish even the slightest mishit. Matsuyama made 96 feet of putts Saturday (the PGA TOUR average is around 70 feet), including birdie putts of five, 19, 10, four and 10 feet. He also made a six-foot eagle putt on 15. You don’t have to be an elite putter when you have opportunities that close. Good for Matsuyama, because while he filled it up on Saturday, for the week, his putting was sub-standard.
V1 Game breaks down putting performance by distance from the hole, where we can see that Matsuyama lost strokes to the field in all but four distance buckets. He gave significant strokes back to the field from 4-6 feet, 11-15 ft, and 31-50 feet. Matsuyama had four 3-putts on the week, including one on Saturday and one Sunday. That’s progressing in the right direction, but still with room for improvement for the 29-year-old Matsuyama.
If you are going to win the Masters, it always starts with the par 5s and Matsuyama took advantage, playing them in 11-under for the week. He played the par 3s in +1 and the par 4s in even par for the week. Clearly, the par 5s were vital to him being able to get to the required -10 to win the tournament by just a single stroke. Augusta National has arguably the finest set of par fives in golf, each of them scorable and each of them dangerous. With V1 Game’s Hole History, Hideki played the 13th the best at -4 and the 8th the next-best at -3. Hideki made three eagles on the par 5s and averaged 4.3 strokes on the par 5s. That even includes the near-disaster on 15 on Sunday. Matsuyama was consistently in play off the tee and able to challenge the greens with his approach shots throughout the week.
All of the above added up to a healthy lead and afforded Matsuyama some cushion coming down the stretch, cushion that he needed as he got closer to earning his first green jacket. The golf tournament could have turned out significantly differently if young Will Zalatoris could have found a way to play better around Amen Corner, but instead Matsuyama was able to stumble a bit down the stretch and still maintain a two-stroke cushion until the final putt was holed. The Strokes Gained Heatmap from V1 Game for his final round scorecard shows exactly which part of his game became unsteady. Matsuyama overshot the 15th green into the lake and made bogey (Approach). Then three-putted the 16th green and missed a short putt on 18 (putting), knowing bogey was enough to win the golf tournament.
Still, a well-earned victory for Matsuyama. He struck the ball better than anyone else this week and did enough to claim the victory. Augusta National showed its teeth with firmer, faster greens and challenged the field to be precise. Matsuyama has made a career out of being precise. The same strength that brought Hideki Low Amateur honors more than 10 years ago brought him the green jacket as low man in the 2021 Masters.
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