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Posted April 07, 2014 12:04 am
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Masters badges are prized possessions

Sought-after badges become prized possessions
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    Masters badges are prized possessions
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    Old badges are among the Masters collectibles for sale at The Antique Market on Pleasant Home Road in Augusta.
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    Masters badges are prized possessions
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    Richard Van Frank from Portland, Ore., wore a hat to the final round of last year's Masters that was covered with the tournament badges he and his father have used over the years. Last year's Masters was his 15th in a row.
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    2001
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    2002
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    2013
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    1961
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    1962
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    1965
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    1976
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    1984
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    1986
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    1997
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    Masters badges are prized possessions
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    Masters badges are prized possessions
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    Signs requesting tickets for practice rounds and badges for Masters Week are posted at the corner of Center West Parkway and Washington Road on April 3, 2013.

 

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.

 

JUNIOR TICKETS

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.

 

COLLECTIBLES

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.

 

EVOLUTION

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

1961-65: Plastic

1966-79: Molded plastic

1980-90: Plastic

1991-94: Hologram

1995-2000: Metallic strips

2001-14: Holographic security strips

 

BE WARNED

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.