Forget the merchandise tents you see at The Open, PGA Championship, or U.S. Open. The Golf Shop at Augusta National is multiple cuts above them.
Open for a couple of years now, this massive building (there used to be a large tent on the grounds) is the ultimate candy store for patrons of the Masters and their golf friends. It is no doubt among the largest on-course brick and mortar golf shops in the world (quite possibly the largest, but hard to verify).
It's also one of the most efficient retail operations I've ever seen, each hour handling thousands, maybe 10,000 or more, willing to max out their credit cards to shop all-things Masters for themselves, their friends and their loved ones back home.
I took my turn around mid-morning today. The line outside wasn't too long, and it only took about five minutes to get inside the building. That line inside, however, was much longer -- but there were big screens and large color lighted signs advertising Drive, Chip and Putt and the Augusta National Women's Amateur to give you stuff to look at as you got closer to the main attraction.
It felt like we were in a queue for a popular ride at Disney World, except the line moved much faster, and everyone in the line was respectful and in a great mood. Every few minutes they'd let a few hundred in, it seemed, and about 15 minutes later, I was shopping along with several thousand other patrons, who upon entry are all handed large green shopping bags to fill.
This is the line for merchandise at The Masters Pro Shop. They'll do $70 million+ in just merch sales this week. That's $10 million a day, $1 million an hour, $16,000 a minute, and $277 every second. 85% of them are most likely Resellers 🤣 pic.twitter.com/RNFyojJj1UApril 6, 2023
Once inside there are dozens and dozens of employees to help you make decisions. The prices aren't terribly out of line either, with a Masters pullover costing around $110 and high-quality polo shirts running around $90. The $32 T-shirt section was crowded, with lines four or five deep, but you just simply gave the attendant of the number of the shirt you like on the wall, and they quickly handed it over to you. (I grabbed a blue Masters tee with the list of past champions on the back).
The green Masters folding fabric chairs ($35) were flying out pretty fast, too, as patrons can take those and stake out popular spots around the course to sit for multiple days. And it must have been really challenging to keep the Masters umbrellas ($45) in stock, given the dire forecast for this afternoon and Saturday.
There was also a stuffed Masters Easter Bunny (sold on years that the Masters ends on Easter). And there was even a $40 two-pack of Peter Millar Masters boxers. "Those are incredibly comfortable," one patron told Golf Monthly. Unfortunately, however, his plan to buy more was thwarted since they were out of his size.
The most expensive item in the shop was the pack of commemorative silver and gold coins celebrating Arnold Palmer's victories here in 1958, '60, '62, and '64 (apparently the King didn't like odd numbers at Augusta). They were down to the last set, which costs $750. I left them for someone else.
In the end, I didn't buy too much, having been here a few times before, but I did get more than I planned. One of the items I didn't have on my shopping list but bought anyway was a FootJoy Masters Cabretta leather golf glove ($25). I'll only wear it if I get a chance to play the course. (Keeping my fingers crossed for the media lottery.)
Paying was the easiest part. It seemed like there were as many registers as there were customers. I asked if there was an AARP discount. One of the young ladies checking me out said, "Yes, zero percent. But we only do that for special customers."
Then she gave me the total and told me it included the discount. A special feeling at the Masters indeed.
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Mike has worked in the golf industry for nearly 30 years with full-time staff positions at publications and websites that include PGA Magazine, the Golfweek Group, and GolfChannel.com. He is currently writing for several different sites and magazines and serves as a contributing equipment writer for Golf Monthly, focusing on irons, shoes and the occasional training aid or piece of technical equipment.
Mike has experienced a number of highlights in his career, including covering several Ryder Cups, PGA Championships and the Masters, writing instruction pieces and documenting the best places for golf travel for more than a decade.
Mike carries a 7.6 handicap index and has two hole-in-ones, the most recent coming in February 2022. A resident of Texas for more than 40 years, Mike plays out of Memorial Park Golf Course (home of the Houston Open on the PGA Tour).
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