The Masters from Augusta National returns this week and in anticipation of golf’s most famous event, we’ve picked out some of the more bizarre rules from the famous golf course.
As you’re sure to discover, this golf course is like no other in the world.
Don’t call them fans
Those who attend sporting events are usually known as “fans”, but not at Augusta. Instead you’re known as a “patron”. The difference is semantic, but the club adheres to this rule strictly as it believes that the attendee will feel more like a valued customer for the day.
Augusta’s rules are stricter than just having a nap. Patrons are forbidden to lie down on the grass. Those who lean too far back, even on the hillside, are told to sit up straight.
Augusta National doesn’t allow tipping, which is good news if the member is short of cash on the day. The rule comes from Augusta National co-founder Clifford Roberts’ belief that a member shouldn’t be given special treatment over another because of how much they tip.
Don’t take off your shoes
Similar to the no lying down rule, patrons who are spotted barefoot will be instructed to put their shoes back on, even if they’re sitting down.
No backwards hats
As found out by Rickie Fowler in 2011, players are forbidden from wearing their hats back to front. Fowler was instructed to turn his forward before conducting a pre-tournament press conference.
There is always a rush for patrons to put their chairs down alongside popular spots like the 16th and 18th greens and the rule of first come, first served rings true at Augusta. However, patrons are not allowed to run, meaning that you’ll see the best speedwalking display anywhere in the world.
No mobile phones
The PGA Tour has changed their stance of mobile phones, but Augusta stands firm on the rules for mobile phones, even when it comes to the media. If you do attend the event, don’t forget to leave your phone in the car or it’ll be a long walk back to the car park and another long wait in a line to enter the course.
Don’t ask to be a member
You don’t ask to be a member of Augusta National. You have to be nominated by a current member and new initiations tend not to be accepted unless someone quits (never happens) or dies. The total membership remains constant at around 300.
Begging for membership is a guaranteed way to not get in. Bill Gates was famously ignored for years because he publicly expressed his desire to become a member.
Don’t call it a back nine
Augusta National is picky when it comes to describing the course. Bobby Jones felt the terms “front” and “back” were inaccurate and could be misinterpreted.
Wear white jumpsuits
Prior to 1983, even the pros playing had to use Augusta’s own caddies to carry their clubs. Nowadays, they can bring their own assistants, but caddies are still required to wear the trademark white jumpsuits. One perk to this though is that caddies are allowed to play the course once a year.
No unattended guests
Members must physically accompany their guests at all times and are responsible for their conduct while on the premises. If the member has to leave the course, then the friend has to go too.
Asking for players’ autographs on a big day at Augusta is a definite no. Other courses may allow it, but certainly not at the Masters.
Some water hazards on the tour are notoriously good fishing venues and players do occasionally fish in between play. However, this is strictly forbidden at Augusta. Former club member and US president Dwight Eisenhower got away with it, but he’s the exception rather than the rule.