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  Monday, 2 April, 2001, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
What's so special about Augusta?
Augusta National Golf Course
A view of Augusta in all its glory
BBC Sport Online's Saj Chowdhury investigates why Augusta National Golf Course takes so much pride in itself and its exclusive status.

Mention Augusta and anybody remotely interested in golf will reply the US Masters.

Amen Corner, the Par 3 fountain and of course the Green Jacket are all synonymous with Augusta and its prized event.

But what happens at Augusta on the other 361 days of the year?

And why is the course so exclusive?

The Augusta course, in the southern state of Georgia, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the world.


I don't really like to talk about membership
Augusta National Golf Course's PR guru
Glen Greenstand
The area used to be the site of former Fruitlands Nurseries, and the organisers and groundskeepers have noticeably preserved and added to the rich wealth of shrubbery.

It is believed that since the course was built, over 80,000 plants of over 350 varieties have been added to the Augusta National course - with each hole named after the plant which grows around it.

And the changes to the course never stop as press spokesman for the club, Glen Greenstand, explained.

He revealed that the club will start preparing for the 2002 event soon after the completion of the 2001 competition.

"We need to assess the negative and positive aspects of this year's event and then we will get to work straight away," he said.

"We do change the course, sometimes its noticeable and sometimes it's not."

Such is the demand for tickets that those for the tournament are only available to the patrons of the club.

"We do have some tickets that we print, but they are only for the practice rounds. You can also buy practice round tickets for next year's event as well."

Greenstand was slightly more cagey when it came to Augusta's 'exclusive' status.


The summer months are so hot and humid, its makes playing golf virtually impossible
Glen Greenstand
"I don't really like to talk about membership or the procedures that are involved with it. All I can say is that we have approximately 300 members."

When asked about whether special exceptions would be made, say for the President of the United States, he said: "Well our members are allowed guests and if the guest happens to be the president, then he will be allowed entry."

Greenstand, unsurprisingly, did not want to divulge any information regarding membership costs.

An educated guess would suggest that such an establishment would charge a hefty amount for the privilege of playing on the lush surface, albeit for just eight months of the year.

"We are open from October through to May, basically because the summer months are so hot and humid, it makes playing golf virtually impossible."


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02 Apr 01 | US Masters
02 Apr 01 | US Masters
02 Apr 01 | US Masters
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