Area gets ready for annual Masters visitors
By Ann Cantrell
It is the one time of year the town of Augusta receives attention from around the world. Golf fans clamor to receive “badges” to the famous Masters Tournament while the rest are forced to watch the tournament unfold from home on their television. Those lucky enough to receive the coveted badges to the Augusta National Golf Tournament may find their way to Madison for a night or two.
The official Masters week runs from April 7 to April 13.
Andy Williams, Convention and Visitors Bureau project coordinator, said that Masters week is an important week for Madison, with the increased traffic and subsequent business.
“People come from all over the world for the Masters. Even though Augusta is 90 minutes east of us, Madison is considered to be a 'nearby' town during this event,” said Williams. He went on to say that golf courses benefit particularly from Masters Week. Reynolds Plantation Golf Course is ready for the upcoming week.
Bob Mauragas, vice president of Golf Operations, said that they are bringing down over 30 vendors for a week-long demonstration.
Some of the vendors included will be TaylorMade, Adidas, Ralph Lauren Polo and Titleist.
Mauragas said that this week is a retail opportunity for the golf course because people have a heightened sense of golf during the week. Long Shadow Golf Course hopes to capitalize on this heightened sense of golf as well. Ed Hoard, director of golf, Long Shadow Golf Course in Madison, said that while last year they were not affected by the tournament, this year, with all 18 holes now open, they expect an increase in golfers to the course that was recently rated by “Golf Week” as the fourth best daily fee course in Georgia.
Reynolds Plantation also expects an increase in customers. Mauragas said that he expects members to bring in more accompanied guests than usual and more people with visitors memberships to attend as well.
Golf courses are not the only businesses to profit from Masters Week, said Williams. Hotels, shops and restaurants will all experience an increase in business.
“In fact, a lot of the restaurants will probably have standing room only,” said Williams. James Madison Inn is hoping for an increase in occupancy for Masters Week, said Assistant General Manager Jake Grant.
Grant said that while they have put up many advertisements, they are unsure if business will increase since they opened recently and this year will be the first time they have advertised for the week of the Augusta National Golf Tournament. Regardless of the Masters Tournament, Williams said that this time of year is great for Madison with everything in full bloom and the influx of visitors that give it a vibrant feel.
“You can say it’s the kick-off of the spring season,” said Williams.