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February 21, 2011 - 6:09 pm
By John Boyette |

Video: Tips on how to enjoy the Masters Tournament experience.

"Experienced spectators realize that the least satisfactory way of watching a medal play tournament is to trek around the course with one particular pair of players. ... I would suggest that greater enjoyment for the spectator may be provided by a little organization of his activities, according to his interest and energy."

- Bobby Jones, 1949

GET YOUR BEARINGS

Pairings sheet:

Where to find it: In a green box near the main entrance

What it tells you: One side lists the day's tee times; on the other is a course map.

Standard:

Where to find it: On the first tee

What it tells you: Which group is up. The standard includes the player's name plus a number, which is the player's number.

Scoreboard:

Where to find it: On the right side of the first fairway

What it tells you: It lists every player, his hometown and his score for every hole. The colors of the numbers have meanings: black means par; red is for birdie; bold red for eagle; green for bogey; bold green for double bogey or higher.

Leaderboards:

Where to find it: They are strategically located throughout the course.

What it tells you: The scores of the current leaders, along with weather warnings or other messages for patrons

Thru Boards:

Where to find it: Near the green of each hole

What it tells you: Lists players on the hole and their relation to par

KNOW THE SCORE

How It works

Unlike most tournaments, which employ electronic scoreboards, the Masters uses volunteers to operate its leaderboards. The tournament leaders start the day on the boards, but if they falter they are quickly replaced by players who have moved up or posted an exceptional score.

How to read It

Prior number: To the left of the player's name, it indicates his score in relation to par at the beginning of the day.

Green numbers: Show how far a player is over par - not a good thing.

A green zero: Means the player is at even par.

Red numbers: Indicate a player is that many strokes under par - a good thing.

PICK YOUR SPOT

Bobby Jones, who co-founded Augusta National, wrote the book on how to watch the Masters. His suggestions of the best places to watch the action include:

The practice area

In 2010, Augusta National Golf Club unveiled its Tournament Practice Range. Three sets of bleachers will be directly behind the main tee, and plenty of standing room will be available along the rope line leading from the badge screening area off Gate 6 down to the bleachers.

From the short game area and putting green, patrons can see the golfers practice their putting, sand play and chipping at close range.

The creation of a patron corridor, which stretches from the entrance at Gate 6 down to the practice tee, enables golf fans to see their favorite players like never before.

The heart of the 18-acre facility is an arced practice tee that can accommodate about three dozen players. A V-shaped formation of pine trees about 235 yards out splits the fairways.

Four target greens are similar to the ones found on the course. The greens are built so that players can see how the ball reacts when it hits the green.

A practice putting green, two chipping greens and five bunkers are also part of the practice area.

Chipping area

On the other side of Magnolia Lane from the driving range.

The putting green

Here, just behind the 10th tee, you can watch as golfers prepare for their round. Most spend a few minutes practicing with their putter before teeing off.

Behind the No. 4 tee

This is a good spot to see action on two holes, with views of the approach to the No. 3 green and the tee shot on the par-3 fourth hole.

Behind the No. 7 green

A great spot to see a lot of golf, with views down the No. 2 and No. 3 fairways, the No. 7 green, the No. 8 tee and the No. 17 fairway.

Behind the No. 12 tee

In the heart of Amen Corner, spectators can view the approach shots to No. 11, the entire 12th hole, and the tee shot and second shot on the par-5 No. 13.

Hole No. 16

A natural seating area allows patrons to see the greens at Nos. 6, 15 and 16 and the 17th tee.

Hill behind the no. 18 green

If you stake out a spot early enough, you can see approach shots to the final green and have a sweeping view of several other holes.

FIND YOUR FAVORITE

Four Steps for following your favorite golfer

Use the pairings sheet to determine a player's tee time. (You can also find tee times on Page 2 of our Masters section each day of the tournament). On the sheet, you'll see something like this:The time on the left is when the group tees off. The first number is the group number. The numbers to the left of the players' names are the players' numbers (more on this below.) To use the tee times, pick out the golfers you want to see and note what time they start. A typical round takes between 4½ and five hours, or about 15 minutes per hole. If your favorite player has already started, note the difference in time and do the math to figure out which hole he is on. If Tiger Woods teed off on No. 1 at 8 a.m. and it's now 10:15, expect him to be on No. 9 or No. 10.

Once on the course, use the map on the back of the pairings sheet to navigate. (To familiarize yourself with the course layout before you get there, see our map on Pages 62-63M.) Now, remember those choice vantage points from Lesson 3? Many are marked by stars on the pairings sheet map.

Having trouble picking out a player? Watch his caddie, the person in the white jumpsuit who often stands next to him. The caddies wear the player's name on their back. If you can't see that, look at the number on the front of the jumpsuit. Cross-reference that number with the pairings sheet to find out who the player is.

Get ahead of the game. The best way to watch Tiger Woods is to get out in front of his pairing and stake out a spot near the tee or along the fairway ropes. Most of the best spots around the greens are taken early, but there are plenty of places where you can watch approach shots and see the action on the green. Try behind the No. 2 green, right of the 13th fairway or behind the 17th green.

Tips from veterans

Take a stand: The observation stands are great places to take in a lot of different holes. The ones at Amen Corner and around the 15th green/16th tee fill up quickly. Try the one behind the No. 8 green; you can see most of No. 8, the No. 9 tee and the first green.

Seek the high ground: Some credit Augusta National as being among golf's first "stadium" courses because of the hilly terrain. A lot of the natural slopes offer prime viewing perches. The area behind the seventh green lets you take in plenty of action on the surrounding holes.

Get Off the beaten path: Because of their distance from the main entrance, Nos. 4 and 5 require some effort to reach. The hike is worth it. There are fewer patrons entering the gate near the fifth green, but concessions, restrooms and souvenirs are all a short distance away.

LISTEN UP

No place is quite like Augusta National when it comes to following the action through the roars.

Name that roar:

A roar is usually based on two things:

- The quality of the shot, be it an approach that winds up close, a long putt that finds the cup or an eagle in the final round.

- Who hit it. A roar for Tiger Woods is typically larger than for a first-time player.

Use your lessons:

Armed with the knowledge of who is playing and their position on the course, you can begin to distinguish between the roars.

It's not uncommon for patrons to stay at a hole after the final group has played through. They can watch the tournament unfold via the leaderboards, and their roars can be heard long after play has ceased in that area.

 

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