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Masters Tickets – “The toughest ticket in sports”

Masters Tickets

The Masters has long been referred to as “the toughest ticket in sports”  and with very good reason.  Unlike most sporting events, there is never an on-sale where you can simply pull out a credit card and purchase a face value ticket.  But there are roughly 40,000 spectators on the golf course during every day of the Masters, so how exactly did they secure their tickets?  Our goal here is to take you behind the curtain and share with you all the ways that spectators obtain access to the most coveted golf tournament in the world.

Here is a quick overview of who is attending the tournament:

  • – Members & their guests
  • – Patrons
  • – Juniors
  • – Lottery Winners
  • – PGA Golf Pros
  • – Secondary Market Purchasers

Members & Their Guests

Augusta National does not publish a membership roster, but it is believed that currently there are about 300 members of the club.  Membership is by invitation only, and includes a who’s who of important American figures including investor Warren Buffett, Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and college football coach Lou Holtz.  Each member receives a Members Badge that allows them to attend the entire tournament. 

In addition to walking the grounds, a Member Badge also grants access to the prestigious Members Clubhouse for exclusive dining, relaxing and shopping.  A Member Badge also conveys the privilege of driving down Magnolia Lane and parking your vehicle on the grounds behind the guest cabins located by the tee box on Hole #10.  

You will recognize members by their distinctive green jackets.  Each member has an allotment of Member Guest badges that confer the same privileges.  If you are ever offered the chance to attend the Masters as the guest of a member, do not pass up the opportunity. It is the best possible experience at the Masters.


Patrons

For the inaugural Masters Tournament in 1934, the price of a ticket was $2 to witness a round.  For the next 30 years, prices rose modestly, but it remained the case that a guest could arrive at the gate and purchase a ticket for entry.  By the 1960’s, however, fans became enthralled by the battle for supremacy between Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklas.  Palmer was the definitive fan favorite, but Nicklaus was the game’s greatest player.  For the first time ever, in 1966, the Masters officially sold out of tickets.  It became more and more difficult to obtain tickets and finally by 1972 Augusta National created a waiting list.  Those who had tickets the previous year were allowed to continue purchasing them, and everyone else had to wait for someone ahead of them on the waiting list to drop out.  Demand was so strong that by 1978 even the waiting list was closed.  The waiting list opened briefly in 2000, but by and large, most badges are owned by patrons who have had them since the 1970’s.  Yes, they are getting older now.  When a patron dies, the badge may be passed on to their surviving spouse, but no one else.  Augusta National is famous for monitoring the national obituary pages to catch whenever one of their patrons passes on so they can maintain an accurate list.

There are a few other ways to become a patron.  Volunteers at the tournament are awarded patron badges.  So the guy you see working the scoreboard or holding the ropes across the fairway are likely to have received a badge for their service.  Other patrons received their badges as part of selling their homesteads to make way for more recent additions to the club’s footprint.  The National famously purchased an entire neighborhood so they could raze the homes and create a new parking lot for their guests.


Juniors

To make the game more accessible to younger golf fans, in 2008 Augusta National began allowing free entry to juniors aged 8 to 16.  The junior pass program does come with some very strict rules.  

The junior must be accompanied by an accredited patron. Juniors need not be related to the patron to attend.  Juniors must register at the ticket gate; and the patron must show their driver’s license which must match the name connected to the badge. If everything is in order, a complimentary pass will be issued to the junior, which is not transferable.

The bottom line is that juniors are welcome to attend the Masters for free, but they must attend with the patron that owns the accompanying badge.  No one else may escort them.  Patrons are limited to hosting just one junior per day.


Lottery Winners

While tournament badges first sold out in 1966, it took until 1994 before practice round badges began regularly selling out.  On Tuesday, April 5, 1994, it was reported that approximately 80,000 people showed up at the gate to purchase a ticket.  Augusta National responded quickly the following May by announcing a new lottery system for practice round badges beginning in 1995.  That first year, the club reported receiving 250,000 applications and they awarded practice round tickets to about 50,000 lucky lottery winners.  That same lottery system has been in place for practice rounds ever since.

In the 2000’s Augusta National added tournament round days to the lottery.  Applicants may apply for any day of the tournament, and though their odds are long, some lucky winners will attend the tournament at the ridiculously low price of $115.

To apply for the Masters ticket lottery, visit THIS SITE. Most winners report entering for multiple years before being selected, but hey, someone’s gotta win.  It just might be you.


PGA Golf Pros

Every PGA of America member is allotted one ticket for every round of the Masters each year.  PGA professionals show up at the gate and present their credentials for entry.  For many, it is the greatest reward of their chosen profession.  Members of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America get a badge as well.  


Secondary Market Purchasers

If you aren’t already a patron, and you didn’t win the lottery, you can still get into the Masters.  Most ticket brokers offer them for sale, but you should know that not all secondary market sites are the same.

Stubhub is perhaps the most used site for Masters tickets, and they sell hundreds of badges per tournament day.  Their advertised prices often look appealing, but that can be deceiving.  What you might not realize is that they charge a 15% or greater service fee upon check-out.  Combine that with the 10% fee that they are charging to the original ticket seller, and Stubhub can be one of the most expensive options for Masters badges.

Do not ever buy Masters badges off eBay.  Augusta National tracks tickets they see on ebay, and have been known to regularly invalidate any badges they see pictured there.

A quick internet search will lead you to a handful of other larger ticket brokers, most of whom also will advertise a lower price, then tack on a hefty service fee at check-out.  If you want to avoid that hassle, you can always visit BucketListEvents and know that the price you see is the price you pay.  What’s more, we are so confident in our ability to source badges for you that we will meet or beat any published prices you find online from ANY reputable dealer.

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