From 1943 until late 1944, Augusta National, home of The Masters, was closed for play and transformed back into a farm to help the war effort. German prisoners of war provided the renovation work to erect the famous bridge over Rae’s Creek. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, became a member of Augusta and one remaining landmark bears his name – the Eisenhower Cabin. The other landmark was a lob lolly pine 210 yards from the tee, on the left side of number 17. Ike hated this tree because his low draw compromised his second shot. In February of 2013, an ice storm toppled the 125 year old pine and it wasn’t replaced. “Ike” had another tree named after him in 1946 at the Dalmeny Golf Club in Scotland. Captains from Dalmeny forwarded an acorn from that tree to replant the Eisenhower tree at Augusta that is now five years young. Each side of Magnolia Lane, the entrance to August National has 61 Magnolia Trees that create a “tunnel canopy” to the facility.
Eleven years ago, my son Michael and I attended the Saturday and Sunday rounds of The Masters. In 2005, my son, Mike and I enjoyed The Masters. Our friend Paddy Quigley provided needed guidance that included an early placement of our portable chairs on number 18 while walking the course to enjoy play. We celebrated the playoff rounds between Tiger Woods and Chris Demarco as the navigated between #18 and #10 in a sudden-death playoff. Augusta National embraces tree reforestation, tree mulching programs and a radar system that conserves water and reduces runoff. The parking area is unpaved to accentuate natural absorption and a habitat for ground-nesting birds. A wildlife habitat is located to the left of number 11. As Mike and I enjoyed our club sandwich we heard the sound of a jet engine. A periodic shower necessitated the initiation of a giant suction device, under each green, that rapidly removes standing water and furthers drying.