As a huge fan of the game of golf, and a regular player since age 12, I was beyond excited when I won a drawing for tickets to The Masters golf tournament this April. I had been applying for tickets for 15 years now but had never been selected, so although the tickets I won were just for the Wednesday practice round it was still quite the thrill. Seeing the course and the players were the top priorities, but checking out the insanely cheap food at the Masters was also pretty high on my list.
I remember watching Greg Norman choking away a 6 shot lead at the infamous ’96 Masters, then seeing Tiger take the golfing world by storm with his record-breaking victory the next year. The Augusta National Country Club is one of the most exclusive clubs in the world and any golfer will tell you that the course itself is considered hallowed ground.
There was so much I was looking forward to: the history and tradition of the tournament, Magnolia Lane, Amen Corner, and of course, the insanely cheap food on the course. I’d heard they had sandwiches for as low as $1.50. That’s right, just $1.50. What other world-renowned sporting event has concession prices like this? I had heard the rumors about the low prices but I’d been conditioned by the $5 hot dogs and $9 beers at National’s Park and other stadiums so I had my reservations.
As we first entered the grounds we were on a mission to see Amen Corner and the rest of the back nine. We had all watched golfers play these holes on TV so many times, but seeing them in person was such a surreal experience. Being on the grounds with my father, older brother, and long-time friend Michael, was something I’ll never forget.
After walking the course for about 2 hours and covering all the items at the top of our wish list we were starting to get hungry and decided it was time to check out the food.
The first thing you see when approaching the concessions area is the menu with the insanely cheap prices. The most expensive items of food are just $3 and the beers are $4 and $5 depending on what you choose. Attending the Masters is not a cheap endeavor, ticket prices can get pretty high and polo shirts at the merchandise shop go for over $80 to give you some reference. However, the tournament is full of traditions like this that are unique and a welcome change of pace from other sporting events.
Everything is branded in Masters logos, including the chips, cookies, and even bags of baby carrots. With such low pricing we grabbed a handful of items to try out: the chicken sandwich, cookies, mini moon pies, baby carrots, peanut caramel clusters, craft beer (which was Blue Moon), and the legendary pimento cheese sandwich.
Overall, we were pleased to find the food items are all very solid. Ranging from the just okay (the cold and somewhat dry chicken sandwich), to the good (the tasty mini moon pies), to the quite delicious (the white chocolate Georgia pecan cookie). The cookie is essentially a really good pecan sandie… which is awesome.
The most highly coveted of these items is undoubtedly the pimento cheese sandwich. The sandwich has achieved a cult following at the event, and many tournament goers are seen purchasing dozens of them at a time to place in a cooler and eat throughout the day and week.
I was already a big fan of pimento cheese so the whispers of its greatness were only adding more fuel to the fire. The sandwiches are on the thinner side and use no-fuss, plain old white bread. One bite and I could tell this was some really good pimento cheese. It had a great creaminess to it and just the right amount of spice coming from the pimento peppers. I was very impressed with the sandwich and with a $1.50 price tag can easily say that its iconic status on the Masters menu is well deserved.
Our final verdict was that the hype was real and the cheap food at the Masters were not to be missed. Grabbing a mountain of food for four adult men and having a final tab of $20 feels like you are getting away with something. Just one of the many small items that sets this apart from other golf tournaments and professional sporting events. The highlights were definitely the pimento cheese sandwiches and most of the dessert items. Although sold-out during our visit, I was able to get some intel the next day that the barbecue sandwich and Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches were both very good and worth getting.
We all have since spoke about how we can not wait to get another chance to go back and see the course to watch the world’s best battle it out for the coveted green jacket. But, just between us food-lovers, I’d be lying if I didn’t also say that a small part of me is looking forward to another one of those pimento cheese sandwiches.