Tickets to The Masters are, by their very nature, elusive.
Though certainly one of the world's best known sporting events and most loved golf tournaments, there's a persistent element of mystery surrounding The Masters.
Augusta National, the cloistered course that hosts the tournament each year, is a real life Brigadoon; an enchanted place with a frozen-in-time feeling, that opens itself for just a few fleeting days a year to the outside world.
The fact that only a select few manage to gain entry during each annual ouverture, makes a visit to the Masters a wildly sought after experience for both golfers and non-golfers alike. Not surprisingly this collective longing has only deepened the mystery... and enhanced the mythology... surrounding the coveted tickets. How then, does one manage to get in?
Since I started writing about golf nearly a decade ago, I've been asked that question more times than I can remember, and to be honest it took me a couple of years of sifting through fact and folklore to arrive at an understanding of the process and its possibilities. So here's the deal. -------> READ MORE ->
Way Back When: Implausible as it may seem today, a ticket to the Masters was not always in high demand. In fact, it wasn't until 1966 that the tournament sold out for the first time. Prior to that, spectators could purchase renewable badges that could be passed down to family members from generation to generation. Then, as the transcendent popularity of Arnold Palmer... and his rivalry with a rising Jack Nicklaus... brought unprecedented attention to golf, tickets became scarce. A waiting list was created in 1972. The list was closed in 1978, opening again, only briefly, in 2000.
These Days: The waiting list for four day tournament badges has never reopened. The patron list apparently still goes on for miles, this despite the fact that the coveted "series" badges can no longer be passed on to family members (though it can still be bequeathed to a surviving spouse). However, in 2012 Augusta National Club began making a small number of tournament and practice round tickets available through a lottery (they call it a random drawing) for which on-line registration is opened each year, a couple of months after the green jacket has been awarded. Winners are able to purchase up to four tickets for the following year's Masters. The odds of winning are unfortunately, not good. I've entered... and strong-armed encouraged numerous numerous relatives to enter... for years, to no avail. Venting about the situation, via Twitter, is fairly common:
"Denial," tweeted one frustrated gentleman, "is not just a river in Egypt", adding a #MastersTickets hashtag to clairify.
There are other options however. A limited number of tickets can generally be found on Ebay and Craigslist, or one can attempt to buy tickets on the spot from scalpers. Scalping tickets is legal in Georgia as long as it happens at least 1,500 feet from the venue.
Ticket brokers are another possibility; Ticket City has been selling tickets to sporting events for over 25 years. They offer tickets for the tournament and practice rounds. They also sell Masters Hospitality and Masters Packages that include tickets, hospitality, lodging and other amenities.
We look forward to writing much more about the Masters in the coming weeks, as we approach the much anticipated 'first week in April'.