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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Masters Tournament Exposed 2013

Augusta, GA, during the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National, transforms each spring.  Not only do dogwoods blossom, azaleas turn bright pinks, oranges and whites, but droves of people from all around the world enter our small little city.  Berkman Road morphs from roving grass hills to a giant parking lot of rented cars, taxis and vans.  It becomes officially what is known as Masters Week.
There aren't tons and tons of hotels in Augusta, so many locals turn over (aka rent) their houses to be enjoyed by golfers, corporate groups and visitors.  Those Augustans usually head out to the beach or some other Spring break destination.  The ones that remain enjoy a week of Augusta on steroids - a fun albeit exhausting time of golf, parties and spring.

Washington Road is the main strip from I-20 to the Augusta National golf course.  On this road one finds crowds of people walking toward the course, passing decent hotels, chain restaurants and bars.  But behind this scene is the real Augusta.  The beautiful southern charm of Augusta that some are lucky enough to experience.

Pre-course photo with Jeannie Joseph, Amber Hackett and Kay Fernandez: Paco Rabane goes Green
Course fashion and shopping: Caroline Morris and Heather Howington
After spending a day walking the grounds of the Augusta National, watching golf, eating sandwiches (my favorites are egg salad and barbeque - always a local debate!), drinking cold beer and catching up with friends that you see along the way; we Augustans begin the Masters Week night life.

ACC at sunset: Mary Linda Lamar in Mary Katrantzou
Some hit the Augusta Country Club for the 19th hole.  The Donald Ross-1899 created course abuts the Augusta National, and some say just as challenging.  Its stunning clubhouse overlooks the greens and the Augusta treelined sky.  With nice pours of wine, liquors and yummy bar snacks, the outside courtyard floods with generations of Augustans and guests dressed in post-tournament outfits or fresh, evening ready wares.  And with its famous and super secret cocktail, The Velvet Hammer, how could the Augusta Country Club not be a favorite watering hole?  (by the way, the Velvet Hammer is an ice-cream based drink that will knock your socks off while pretending to be a dessert…)

Photo Courtesy of Tako Sushi
Tempura fried asparagus: Photo Courtesy of Tako Sushi
I am obsessed with Tako Sushi, located in the perfectly charming shopping center, Surrey Center.  With a brave menu of Southwest food on one side and Sushi on the other, Tako Sushi is a crowd pleaser.  Flash fried sushi rolls, pulled pork nachos and their famous margaritas set the mood right!

Guiness at night: the cure-all
Augusta has deep Irish roots.  And these are usually the most fun folks in town.  Sheehan's Irish Pub is another packed venue during Masters Week (and every other week).  The food is great and the bartenders are always pouring.  Either sitting outside or cramming yourself inside, there is no better way to enjoy the atmosphere.  Just remember to walk home or get a taxi…


Augustans love to throw and attend parties.  This year I decided to have a sit-down dinner for 50, with a mixed guest list of locals, guests and guests of guests.  Greg Boulus, owner and genius of Charleston Street creates the most intimate, lovely, inspiring tables for a party - ever.  And paired with Tastefully Yours Catering by Jennifer Shuford, your event is sure to be memorable and delightful.  Greg and Jennifer are both childhood friends of mine, and Augusta is lucky to have them setting up shop there.  They are pros!
Photo courtesy of one of my favorite locals, Tara Simkins
It's always that winning putt of the tournament that steals the show, but it's certainly cushioned by some of the most beautiful homes in the world, excellent cuisine and by far the nicest, most charming people. Always hard to leave, but more than a pleasure to return.


Mr. Lister said...

For anyone who loves Masters Week, reading Sutton's take on our town's first and foremost major gig will have you delighted in so many fond memories. She will also fill you with a sense of pride. However, feeling just a tad bit blue, now that it's all been said and done. (The Monday after is always rather glum.)
As for those that run, or the ones who hate and stay, surely have to give respect. Shoot, I'll bet Sutton just made you reconsider St. Simon's next year!

Nice job, Sutt. I enjoyed this piece. By the way, thanks for letting Richard and me join the dance party. One of my week's highlights was shaggin' to "My Girl" with my favorite belles.

Until next year....

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