The Masters gets underway in 45 days, and still Augusta National Golf Club hasn’t made public how many patrons will be allowed to attend the season’s first major when it returns to its traditional April date as a rite of spring.
Cameron Wiebe, the general manager of Champions Retreat down the road in nearby Evans, Georgia, host site for the first two rounds of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur the week before the Masters, says the local community still hopes the Masters will breathe life into the Augusta economy.
How much did a patron-less Masters hurt local businesses? Wiebe says it was “significant” before elaborating that the corporate hospitality that the club typically hosts when Augusta becomes the center of the sporting universe for one week was all but non-existent in November and was consistent with the rest of the clubs in town. A foursome at Champions Retreat during Masters week typically goes for $3,000 and includes caddie and cart, all-you-can-consume food and beverage until 5 p.m. and a $50 merchandise credit for each player. (Wiebe said other private clubs in the area open the gates that week too: Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken, South Carolina, charges $3,000 for a foursome, Augusta Country Club $2,500 – F&B not included – and Sage Valley doesn’t officially open up “but if you give them $3,600 you can get a time.”)
“The November Masters was a 5-percent Masters,” he said, referring to the typical revenue earned that week. “We’re hoping for a 30-percent Masters in April, and for 2022 the world here would hope for a 75-plus-percent Masters.”
The announcement in January that the Masters would be played in front of a limited audience once again cast a somber mood over the city. The hope is that Augusta National will allow 30 percent to 50 percent of its usual capacity in April. This is purely based on anecdotal evidence, but a high percentage of locals have reported being informed they won’t be allocated tickets this year. It has led some to