Bode Miller learned quickly about certain no-nos when he exited Berckmans Place, Augusta National Golf Club’s posh hospitality venue.
Miller, an Olympic gold-medalist skier, and his wife, Morgan Beck, were stopped on their way to the course and instructed to surrender a quesadilla they’d hoped to snack on during the first round of Masters Tournament play Thursday.
“If you pay $7,500, you ought to be able to bring out a quesadilla,” Miller said.
The facility, which opened last year, is available to Augusta National members, tournament sponsors and other friends of the club. Visitors there Thursday said the facility, portions of which are visible from the Gate 9 walkway, easily covers 90,000 square feet, with three distinct dining areas, walls of Masters history, areas from which to watch the tournament and a practice putting area that’s a replica of three Augusta National greens.
The practice area “gives you a realistic feeling of the undulation and the speed” of the famed greens, said Orin Mayers, an Orlando, Fla., visitor who is in the investment business.
The venue seems more crowded this year, but its amenities have not decreased, Mayers said.
In the gift shop, items are similar to those available elsewhere at the club, but different, “maybe a little higher-end,” he said.
“It’s gorgeous, lovely,” said Matt Kwatinetz, the director of the Augusta Regional Collaboration Project, who spent about 10 minutes in the venue with his father after a friend gave them badges. Kwatinetz said that he and his father would have stayed longer but wanted to go watch play.
“It’s the greatest corporate tent I’ve ever seen,” said Richard Johnson, a businessman on his third visit to Augusta. “When you get tired and hungry, come in here and get lunch.”
Johnson called it “uncommon” that Augusta National had created such a unique space on its grounds, “but when they decide to do anything, they do it well,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for a corporation that cannot advertise to find a way to support itself.”