Masters badges are prized possessions
It’s been described as the toughest ticket in sports.
Only Augusta National Golf Club officials know how many Masters Tournament badges and practice round tickets are issued, and they aren’t saying. But suffice it to say a whole lot more could be produced and it still wouldn’t satisfy demand.
A series badge, good for admission for all four tournament days, costs $250. Practice round tickets for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are $50 each. And daily tournament tickets, which were added in 2012, cost $75.
That’s what Augusta National – which warns that it is the only authorized source – sells them to patrons and those lucky enough to win practice round and daily tickets in its annual lottery.
A ticket to the Masters wasn’t always in high demand. There were plenty to be had up until the 1960s, and in 1966 the tournament sold out for the first time.
A waiting list was created in 1972, and it closed in 1978. The only way to get series badges was to wait until your name was called, if you were lucky enough to even be on the waiting list.
In 2000, the waiting list was briefly reopened and fans who applied for practice-round tickets from 1998-2000 were added by random selection.
Despite the scarcity of tickets, attending the Masters is a bucket list item of the highest order for some.
Karen Quinns and her teenage son Cameron, both from Austin, Texas, said their first visit in 2013 was memorable.
“The course is so much nicer than you think it is on TV,” said Cameron, who staked out a spot near the practice range so he could get autographs and watch the golfers warm up. “It’s past your expectations.”
While Cameron focused on the golf, his mother appreciated the organizational aspects of the Masters.
“It’s just so efficient, so well run and everyone is so pleasant,” she said. “It’s really impressive. We’ve been to a lot of tournaments, and this is far and above the best-run operation we’ve been to.”
TEN TO COLLECT
Here is a look at some of the most popular badges to collect from the modern era (
|1961: First plastic badge; Gary Player became first international champion|
|1962: Green color and Arnold Palmer victory make for a good combination|
|1965: Only oval design of the plastic badges; Jack Nicklaus set tournament scoring record|
|1976: Red, white and blue badge marked nation’s bicentennial|
|1984: Gold badge marked 50th anniversary of first Masters|
|1986: Final victory for Nicklaus remains a favorite|
|1997: Nondescript badge, but popular because it is from Tiger Woods’ first Augusta victory|
|2001: First badge to include picture of people and features co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts|
|2002: Picture of Jones pays tribute to 100th anniversary of his birth|
|2013: Colorful illustration features Amen Corner|
HOW TO OBTAIN
The application process for tickets moved online in 2011.
Applications can be submitted at masters.com and can be made for practice rounds and daily tournament rounds, both of which are limited and sold in advance by application.
Tournament or “series” badges have been sold to those on the patron list, which is full.
PASSING IT ON
According to Augusta National, after the death of a badge holder, the account is transferable only to a surviving spouse and cannot be transferred to other family members.
Children ages 8-16 can attend free on tournament days when accompanied by an accredited patron (the person whose name is on the series badge application). One child per patron.
The junior program doesn’t apply to volunteers, employees or business partners who receive or purchase series badges.
Juniors need not be related to the patron in order to attend. Juniors must register at Gate 6A, and the patron must provide a driver’s license.
A complimentary pass will be issued to the junior, and the pass is not transferable.
Masters badges are quite popular as collectibles, and some can command hefty prices.
The paper tickets from 1934-60 are rare and hard to find in good condition. Any of the badges from years that Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus won at Augusta National are valuable, too.
On older plastic badges, be sure to see whether the etiquette note from Bobby Jones is still attached.
Masters badges have evolved since the first tournament. All include the date, price and club logo. Badge features:
1934-53: Cardboard stock
1954-60: Linen-type paper
1966-79: Molded plastic
1995-2000: Metallic strips
2001-14: Holographic security strips
No tickets are sold at the gate.
Augusta National Golf Club is the only authorized ticket source.
No refunds, rain checks, exchanges or replacements will be made if the course is closed because of adverse weather conditions or for other safety reasons.
BUYING AND SELLING
State law prohibits ticket sales within 2,700 feet of Augusta National.
In 2012, undercover deputies arrested more than three dozen people accused of exchanging or soliciting tickets too close to the club’s gates. Two were charged with violating the scalping law.