Can Masters Winners Play Augusta When They Like?

There are a number of perks that come with winning a Green Jacket, but is this one of them?

Can Masters Winners Play Augusta When They Like?
Jon Rahm became an honorary member of Augusta National after he won the Masters in 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are many perks that come with winning the Masters, number one of which, for a lot of players, probably wouldn’t even be the first prize of over $3 million.

It’s the fact that you can call yourself a Major champion, and there are a number of unique Masters perks that makes winning this tournament extra special.

As well as your own Green Jacket, the winner of the Masters receives a lifetime exemption into the tournament – and that means you’re guaranteed plenty more rounds at Augusta National for as long as you’re fit and able (Gary Player competed in 52 Masters tournaments).

On top of this, the winner is welcomed into the club as an honorary member, which is surely the best perk of the lot. Just imagine logging on to the club app and booking a nice early Saturday tee time every week (we like to believe there’s a club app for members).

However, being an honorary member is not the same as belonging to the club – just ask three-time Masters champion, Player, who knows precisely how visits to the famous venue work.

Speaking to the Times last year, the outspoken South African talked about the limited access he has to the course, calling the situation “sad”.

Gary Player Green Jacket

Three-time Masters champion Gary Player

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“After all I’ve contributed to the tournament and been an ambassador for them, I can’t go and have a practice round there with my three grandchildren without having to beg a member to play with us, and there’s always some excuse,” Player, who first won at Augusta in 1961, told the Times.

“It’s terribly, terribly sad. I’ve played my role: I’ve won it three times, I was in the top-10 15 times, I made the most number of cuts in a row ever. Yet here we are struggling to get a round. If it wasn’t for the players, [Augusta] would just be another golf course in Georgia.”

Augusta National is rumored to have approximately 300 members, and the club does not usually public speak about its membership.

A rare exception was made in 2012, when the club admitted its first two women members, which it described a “a proud moment in our club's history.” These newbies were former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financier Darla Moore, whose net worth was estimated at $2.3 billion at the time.

Condoleezza Rice and Heidi Ueberroth watching the second round of the Masters in 2021 GettyImages-1311687883

Augusta National members Condoleezza Rice and Heidi Ueberroth watching the second round of the Masters in 2021 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Seminole Golf Club president Tim Neher is known to be a member, as is Atlanta Braves chairman Terry McGuirk, and several others have been spotted in their Green Jackets over the years.

There are a few names from the world of golf who are known to be Augusta National members, too, including Jack Nicklaus, who won the tournament a record six times, as was the late Arnold Palmer, who claimed the title on four occasions.

Sir Michael Bonallack, a former leading amateur golfer who three times played in the Masters, as the winner of the previous year’s Amateur Championship, is another famous golfing figure among the membership. He is best known for being R&A Secretary from 1983 to 1999.

It’s most likely the actual club members, as opposed to honorary members, who can actually play Augusta National when they like. The latter, although granted with a very special privilege, still appear to be limited as to when they can play the course and, when they do so, need to be accompanied by a full-fledged Augusta member.

Masters champions

Multiple Masters champions Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“A lot of people assume that I have those privileges, but they’re wrong,” Player told last year. “If I want to play a practice round with friends, I can’t just call the pro shop and make those arrangements.”

So, whilst Tiger Woods and his fellow Green Jacket winners frequently carry out a Masters recce and enjoy a practice round or two before the showdown in April, we can assume a request for a tee time is put in to the club in advance. After all, Augusta National does have its members to consider, and the Masters isn’t the only competition to be played here. 

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.