It's Tournament Time!
Just this past week all golf aficionados finished eagerly following each round of the Masters, that steeped in tradition first tournament of the majors each year. Now that the tournament is over it is time to get out and perfect your own techniques. And there is no better place for you to do that than in Asheville, with its lush landscape and fabulous courses where many a famous person has played. But first, let's take a look at a little tournament trivia, some golf history, and a couple of courses to get you inspired.
Tradition Trumps All
In a sport that has retained its traditional class, the Masters, and the Augusta National Golf Club where the Masters is played, remains more steeped in tradition than any other tournament or course.
The Masters began as a dream inside of Robert T. Jones Jr. - a golfing legend even during his own lifetime. After retiring at the prime age of 28, he longed to build his ideal course for him and his friends to play on and then bring a tournament to it. Now, this might not seem like an impossible dream, until you consider the fact that this was the early 1930s, during the worst of the Great Depression. This was a time when most courses were losing their patrons as people had to cute more and more luxuries out of their lives. However, Jones and his friend Clifford Roberts persevered, and in 1932 the course and club were built and open, but that was only the first step. They still needed to attract a membership. To do this, Jones and Roberts planned to host a tournament. Ideally, they wanted to host the U.S. Open, but that dream was a little too far to reach for. After all, Georgia at that time did not hold its golf nearly as dear as it did its baseball and college football. So Jones decided to stage his own tournament, the Augusta National Invitation Tournament. For this very special occasion in 1934 Jones briefly came out of retirement, even though he lost on his own course. The greater goal was achieved, though - a tournament was born, and a golf course preserved.
Now the Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most famous clubs in the world, and it has hosted the Masters ever since it was first created in 1934 as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament. While the way the game of golf is played professionally has evolved slightly over the years, the Masters remains true to its Bobby Jones established roots. For example, instead of viewers being called fans or spectators, they are strictly referred to as "patrons" and are part of the "gallery". Also, at the Masters the most coveted professional golf prize is given out: the green jacket. Starting in 1937 members would wear a green jacket to make themselves stand out so patrons could recognize them. In 1949 the club started presenting the winners of the Masters with a green jacket. Another tradition unique to Augusta and the Masters is that instead of wearing the normal bib, caddies must wear a white jumpsuit with nothing but the clubs logo and their players name emblazoned on it. Now, while not quite a tradition, President Eisenhower gave his name to something that is now very near and dear to Augusta National Golf Club. And that is the Eisenhower Tree. It is said that it got its name when Dwight Eisenhower, who was an avid golfer, would constantly hit his drive into the tree, thereby prompting him to lobby Clifford Roberts to have the tree cut down. When Roberts refused, it became known as the Eisenhower Tree. Even though the tree was lost two years ago, two graphs of the tree are now to be displayed prominently in the club house.
When Eisenhower Came to Town
Eisenhower was the most famous member of the Augusta National Golf Club. Not only was Eisenhower an avid golfer, logging more than 1,000 days during his presidency on the course or at least involved in a golf related activity, but his love of the game and national influence helped to double the number of people who played golf in America by the end of his presidency. In 2009 Eisenhower was even elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Dwight D Eisenhower didn't just play golf at the Augusta National Golf Club. He also loved playing in Asheville! In fact, Eisenhower is one of ten presidents to have stayed at the Grove Park Inn. One can only imagine how much he enjoyed playing on the Inn's lovely course.
Enjoy Your Own Competition
Now you are probably ready for your own round of golf during your stay in Asheville! Never fear, we have all the lovely courses you could wish for here. If you are in a historical mood after watching the tradition saturated Masters, then the Grove Park Inn course might be just to your liking. President Eisenhower's haunt in Asheville, this course was most recently played by President Obama. If you are in the mood for diverse and beautiful scenery, then Broadmoor Golf Links might be exactly what you are looking for. If you would like to read about a few more of Asheville's best golf courses, check out this post.
We can't wait to have you stay with us and enjoy a golfing holiday!