THE STARTER SHACK
We are one day into one of the greatest weeks of the year. From our understanding, Easter is being celebrated all the way through Sunday. And since we've put it in writing and it's on the internet, it's true.
So, forward this to your boss and enjoy the week off. You can thank us later.
The Crows Nest, where dreams go to die.
No amateur has ever won The Masters, and if you’re required to stay in the Crows Nest, one may never accomplish the feat.
There have been close calls: T2: Stranahan (‘47), Venturi (‘56), Coe (‘61); T3: Patton (‘54). Since then, the best amateur finishes have come earlier this century: T13: Wittenburg (2004), Moore (2005).
Amateurs are unique in that they are the only competitors allowed to stay on the grounds during Masters week. So, John Daly isn’t gunning beer funnels with Frank the Tank in the houses off the 10th tee at 11pm on Friday night, at least, not that we’re aware of.
Enter the iconic Crow’s Nest, situated on the top of the austere clubhouse.
- 1200 sq ft, 4 “rooms” separated by short change room dividers
- 5 WWII-era single beds (thankfully zero bunk beds)
- One communal bathroom, plus a bonus second sink...and a 19” television
- Likely a smell similar to your great aunt’s house (complete with a bowl of hard candies)
- Accessible by a near vertical staircase that would kill most Augusta members in a fall
Who amongst us hasn’t endured the “shared restroom experience” on a buddies trip or dealt with a room shaking snorer. This is fine for a weekend, booze fueled hit and giggle with your friends, but what about having to perform in front of peers and 100s of thousands of viewers, in person and on TV?
Although there would be the temptation to stay off site to improve the ever fleeting chances of an amateur Masters win, one could do worse than to “suffer” in the Crow’s Nest during Masters week:
- You’re close to the first tee (but don't run to it)
- You have 24/7 access to all the milkshakes you can drink
- You are feted like royalty by the membership all week
- They don’t make you check out if you miss the cut
If one is to suffer low quality sleep under a bed spread resembling what you’d find at Ben Crenshaw’s grandmother’s house, just make up for it by pilfering a souvenir bathrobe like Brandt Snedeker did during his stay.
Things you don’t see at Augusta National:
- Fans. They are patrons good sir (you can find fans in the Hooters parking lot watching John Daly strum a guitar)
- A backwards hat
- Cans of Budweiser (Hooters parking lot)
- Someone jumping into 16 pond. Never. Ever.
- Streaking. Actually, just running in general is not allowed
- Cargo shorts. Nope, you’ll see those…unfortunately
- Someone throwing out a peace sign while taking a selfie (Smile for your mug shot)
- Chairs with arm rests. No resting your arms here
- A membership registration office (so you said it was where?)
Augusta National is the Faberge Egg of golf...Exterior elegance with all its secrets hidden inside.
For a golf course that embodies tradition, Augusta National doesn’t shy away from technology. It's truly a plug-and-play setup.
Start with the idyllic agronomy, Augusta National is the gold standard for the golfing universe. To get that they jump started the use of SubAir systems under green complexes; starting at Golden Bell, the property’s low point at Amen Corner, and now throughout the entire property.
Besides the ability to bend Mother Nature's grass growing wishes to their will, there are other observations that may or may not be so obvious:
- TV camera and scoreboard supports are built in
- Buried telecommunication cables (i.e. no awkward rulings)
- Restrooms hidden deep in the trees (i.e. no Tin Cup bank shots off a Port-A-John)
- Underground tunnels used to move goods/services and the odd VIP invisibly to all corners of the property.
- Hidden cameras and microphones in trees (for security and tv coverage)
Augusta National goes to great lengths to ensure the on air (and in person) product presents itself as close to the Land of Oz as possible. Having been described as “Disneyland for Golfing Adults”, it is easy to understand where this motivation comes from.
They want the memories of this place to be about perfection, so much so that it feels almost hermetically sealed.
About the only thing they can’t control is the weather. One gets the feeling that if they could, they would absolutely install a snow globe dome over the whole facility and truly control every aspect.
Much of Augusta National’s current majesty can be traced directly to the inclusion of modern technologies, but there is still an ever lingering homage to the past.
- No cell phones on the course
- There is a bank of payphones — ”Hey Ma..I’m at The Masters!”
- Manual scoreboards
From the outside, it is all quite something to behold. It's almost as if a cellophane seal is pulled over the entire property and put away, waiting to be peeled open and reheated next year. How long does pimento cheese last?
Watch every single shot at the Masters
From the moment Dudley Hart stripes his opening tee shot to the moment he taps out for his first green jacket on 18, you can witness the gloriousness of every single shot.*
In 2018 Augusta National blurted out like a drunk frat, “Every Shot, Every Hole”.
Augusta’s roommate, CBS, was hoping that when Augusta woke up with next morning it would've forgotten all about the previous nights debauchery. It didn’t. CBS and IBM were then tasked to bring this hair-brained idea to life.
It's one thing to film every shot, it's another to send the footage somewhere. To organize it. To edit it. To upload it. There isn’t some kid running from trailer to trailer with footage in hand.
“I got Tiger putting on five, I’ll be back with DJ hitting his approach on four” — Panting like a Weiner Dog in a Weiner Dog race.
This is bigger than the Super Bowl.
- Roughly 110 cameras
- Servers on-site to identify and organize clips
- 22,118 shots
- Editors in New York, Atlanta, and the UK
- Quality control in Los Angles (weird choice)
- Back to Augusta
- Uploaded by IBM
- Bob is your uncle
The entire process takes about 20 minutes from shot hit to shot watched.
High-fives all around, let’s go for a beer and celebrate. Nope, Augusta—full of swagger and domestic beer—decided that wasn’t enough.
Each player’s round is crushed down into a 20-minute full-round video (talk about pace of play) and wedged into a three-minute highlight reel.
So, really, why watch the live coverage when you can watch a three-minute highlight reel at the end of each day. Music. Fist pumps. High-fives. Sounds like a frat party. Exactly what got us into this mess.
*we would like to make a correction and state that Dudley Hart will not be competing in the 2021 Masters. We would also like to extend our sincerest apologies to any subscribers who read this post and tried to lay down a wager on what would have, undoubtedly, been a splendid performance by Dudley.
SHARE THE STARTER SHACK
Imagine if your conversation on the course evolved beyond "nice one", "good up", "beauty", "boom!".
You, making conversation thanks to The Starter Shack. That deserves a share don't you think?
Today's email was brought to you by: Nolan Filipenko & Colby Johannson