You know spring has arrived in full when it’s Masters time. If you want to attend the world’s most famous golf tournament in style, you’ll need a house, hard-to-get tickets and someone who knows the ropes to help you navigate the crowds. Find out what it takes to make this trip of a lifetime a reality, then get ready to see all those pro golfers in the flesh.
The House Scene
First off, booking a hotel room for the Masters isn’t the way to go. And it’s not just because rooms are next-to-impossible to find. When planning a luxurious, first-class trip to a sporting event of this caliber, you don’t want to be crowded into an over-booked hotel with a cookie-cutter room. You want the privacy and spaciousness that only a whole house can provide, especially if you’re attending the tournament with a group.
Renting houses is common practice during Masters Week in Augusta because it’s also spring break. Locals often scoop up the kids and head out of town during this week, leaving their homes unattended. Long ago, Augustans figured out that they could foot the bill for the annual family vacation by letting golf fans sleep in their homes the first week of each April.
According to Airbnb, the average price for a whole-home reservation near Augusta National Golf Course during tournament week is about $650 nightly.
Check Out: How to Save Money on Your Next Airbnb Rental
Masters Tournament Ticket Prices
Tickets to the Masters are hard to come by, and they don’t come cheap if you can get them: $100 per day for the tournament proper. It’s one of the biggest events in all of sports because only a limited number of tickets are made available to the general public. Augusta National is an ultra-exclusive private club, so naturally members get the bulk of the tickets. The rest are doled out through an official online lottery system. Make sure you monitor the address you provide after you sign up — email is how you’ll be notified about tickets if you’re selected.
However, keep in mind that the odds of landing a Masters tournament ticket are akin to those of being struck by lightning on a sunny day. If you can’t nab tickets to the main event, there may still be some available for the practice rounds and Par 3 Contest earlier in the week, which will run you $65 per day.
Another option is to buy your tickets through a secondary market, but only if you have the cash. In 2016, tickets for one day of the Par 3 Contest ranged from $372 to $782 on Stubhub, and weekend-long tournament tickets clocked in at just under $4,000.
More Than Just a Tournament
Many people opt for attending the practice rounds and Par 3 Contest because the grounds are less crowded and the atmosphere much less serious. The Par 3 Contest is when the biggest names in golf let loose and have a little fun before the intensity of the actual tournament begins the next day. Some people prefer the Par 3 Contest to the tournament due to the lighter crowds and easygoing vibe.
The food is another iconic part of the tournament, from the famous pimiento cheese sandwiches to the Georgia peach ice cream. Though you may pay top dollar for tickets and transportation to the big event, the concessions are shockingly cheap — only $1.50 to $2.00 each.
For the true Masters experience, make it a week-long affair to take in all that Augusta and its famed golf club have to offer. But expect crowds and traffic everywhere, even beyond the club grounds. Concerts, ceremonies and events are ongoing throughout the city all week long.
Related: 22 Gifts for the Avid Golfer
Spring for a Package
If you’re doing the Masters in style, looking to avoid crowds and get the best seats, consider springing for a package from a reputable company. The Patrons Caddy and Magnolia Manor Hospitality each have a wide range of package deals available that include tickets, accommodations, transportation to and from Augusta National and a “runner” to hold your seat in the gallery before you arrive at the club in the morning. Depending on the package you choose and the days you’ll be attending, your tournament price tag could be anywhere from $925 to about $2,000 per day.
You won’t be able to avoid the security line at the entrance gate, though. All ticket holders go through a TSA-like screening process. Cell phones aren’t allowed at any time, and you’re only allowed to bring a camera in for the practice rounds and Par 3 Contest.
You might feel a little lost at first without your tech gadgets, but once it’s all over, you’ll be grateful to Augusta National for creating such a time-honored, digital-free experience for patrons and players. There simply aren’t many places like this left in the sporting world.