If you’re a true golf fan, you’re glued to the TV every April when The Masters rolls around.

We marvel at the world’s best golfers in action, playing on a course so beautiful it gives off a mystic aura. The perfection of the rolling green fairways, the laser-cut, white bunkers and azaleas in full bloom. Watching the superstars figure out the speed on lightning-quick greens makes great viewing.

I’m no different to any other golfer, so going to The Masters was always on my bucket list. I remember clear as day the first time I walked through the hallowed gates of Augusta National Golf Club. It was one hell of a ‘pinch myself’ moment – I had goose bumps down my arms.

I’d been travelling with a bunch of friends on a Masters tour in 2013 and after playing Pinehurst No.4, No.8 and No.2 (The Deuce), we’d finally made our way down south to let the real show play out. We were staying in the historic town of Aiken, South Carolina, which although in the next state is only an hour’s drive from Augusta. The polo capital of the south, Aiken is famous for its stunning Georgian architecture. Thankfully, its southern hospitality is also a feature because more than a hundred Aussies descended on the town for accommodation during the tournament.

Adam Scott and Steve Williams celebrate during Scott's 2013 Masters victory.
Adam Scott and Steve Williams celebrate during Scott’s 2013 Masters victory.

As we passed through Augusta’s high security gates leaving all mobile phones back at base camp and carrying nothing more than an expectant credit card, I had the feeling I was entering Disneyland … the ultimate theme park for golfers. It was all too surreal. I literally had to reach down to touch the grass because no grass could be that colour of green, so perfect, standing to attention without a weed in sight.

Once we arrived at Augusta, we were so excited and had no idea where to head first – the practice facility? Merchandise marquee? Clubhouse or one of the famous holes? We were kids in a candy store with so many of our favorite tour pros to watch. A few of us broke away to follow our Australian heroes. We had no idea that a few days later, we’d realise our timing was so perfect.

It was obvious that without the use of a mobile (Augusta rules), we’d run a good chance of losing each other in the crowd. So on the first day, we invested in the most colourful, hot pink golf shirts we could find. From then on we were very hard to lose.

We were also encouraged to purchase a Masters folding chair for the tournament. As is Augusta etiquette, you can place your chair on any given hole and it will stay there for your use, for the duration of the day. If you wander off, others are free to use it but when you return, it’s all yours again. It’s no mystery why this tournament has a reputation for running a sporting event as best as an organisation possibly can. “A tradition unlike any other,” as the famous line goes. There are a number of things about Augusta National that really took me by surprise: how wide and open the layout is; the dramatic elevations that really test your fitness from the 12th back up to the clubhouse; the insanely cheap food on offer such as the famous Pimento cheese sandwich for $1.50 and $3 beers. That everything sold or on show – from takeaway food to the TV towers – is wrapped in the Augusta shade of green adds to the elegance.

Finally, Sunday arrives. Far from feeling like the crowds were getting bigger, it’s the opposite and I was amazed at how close you can stand to the action. Augusta was built for the Masters, and Bobby Jones created a natural amphitheatre for spectators that, unlike most tournaments, make watching play around the course so accessible.

We arrived wearing our pink shirts and pink Masters caps. Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Adam Scott were all in contention, and that alone had us feeling very patriotic. Scotty and Angel Cabrera were one hole behind Day, so we were catching plenty of action between fairways. Without a phone to access score updates and hearing the crowds noisily erupt on distant holes, we were left to guess who held the lead. At the par-3 16th, Day and Snedeker were by that stage out of contention, so it was up to Scotty to birdie the 18th for victory. With my best Aussie accent I forged my way to the front on the 18th to see the seven-metre birdie putt. In it went, and suddenly I had tears in my eyes and shivers down my spine. Like most Australians, I thought that was it. The way Scotty celebrated (“C’mon, Aussie!”) I think he did, too.

But minutes later, Cabrera hit the most miraculous 7-iron to a foot and tapped it in to force a sudden-death playoff. I was absolutely furious … we had it in the bag. With butterflies in my stomach I made my way to the 10th and down the hill towards the green. It was raining, dark, and cold. I’d lost hope of finding any other pink-shirted friends. It was absolute chaos, but a moment in Australian sporting history no one will ever forget.

I could see the putting green and Scotty lining up his 30-footer with caddie Steve Williams consulting. And then I heard a roar – an explosion of cheering and screaming. Scotty had done it – perhaps Australia’s greatest sporting hoodoo was shattered.

Augusta National Golf Club. If you ever get the chance to go, just nod your head and say “yes”.

– Deborah Hutton – Publisher balancebydeborahhutton.com.au