The History Of The Masters Green Jacket

The iconic Masters Green Jacket is presented every year to the winner, but when did this tradition begin and why?

Masters Green Jacket
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The History Of The Masters Green Jacket

The Masters Green Jacket is presented to The Masters (opens in new tab) winner in the immediate aftermath of their victory. That jacket is borrowed off an Augusta member with roughly the same build as the winner, before the champion is later measured for their own tailored version. But when did the Green Jacket tradition begin, and why?

The Masters Green Jacket was first introduced in 1937. The idea was that Augusta National (opens in new tab) members would wear these jackets during the tournament to make them stand out to members of the public needing guidance or assistance. It was an idea borrowed from Royal Liverpool in England when a visiting Bobby Jones attended a dinner. At this dinner there was a collection of club captains who were all wearing matching jackets to denote their position.

The first Augusta National jackets soon followed, bought from the Brooks Uniform Company in New York. But they were not popular with the members, who found the material too thick and uncomfortable in warm weather, so they soon changed supplier. From 1937 through to 1948 only Augusta National members wore the jackets, but in 1949 Sam Snead became the first winner to be honoured with the now famous Green Jacket.

Ben Hogan and Sam Snead at the 1954 Masters

Sam Snead gets a handshake from Ben Hogan after winning the 1954 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After Snead received a jacket, Augusta National retroactively awarded them to each former winner. This included the likes of Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret and Gene Sarazen. After that tradition more followed, including the ceremony where the new champion is presented with his jacket in Butler Cabin (opens in new tab) by the previous year’s champion. Last year this saw Dustin Johnson present Hideki Matsuyama the Green Jacket.

Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama at the Green Jacket presentation in 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Masters champion can keep his jacket for a year, and then he has to return it to Augusta National where it remains. He can then only wear it when he is on site at the golf club. There is one exception…..

When Gary Player won the The Masters in 1961 he became the first international winner and took the jacket home with him to South Africa. When Player then returned to Augusta National in 1962 he forgot to bring the jacket back, later telling Augusta National Director Clifford Roberts “Well, you can come and fetch it.” Player still has that jacket at home, but agreed to never wear it in public.

Dan Parker
Staff Writer

Dan is a Staff Writer and has been with the Golf Monthly team since 2021. Dan graduated with a Masters in International Journalism from the University of Sussex and primarily looks after equipment reviews and buyer's guides, specializing in golf shoe and golf cart reviews. Dan has now tested and reviewed over 30 pairs of golf shoes for the website and magazine with his current favorite pair being the Ecco Biom C4. A left-handed golfer, his handicap index is currently 8.5 and he plays at Fulford Heath Golf Club in the West Midlands. His best day in golf so far was shooting 76 at Essendon Golf Club on his first-ever round with his Golf Monthly colleagues. Dan also runs his own cricket podcast and website in his spare time. 

Dan is currently playing: 

Driver: Ping G425 Max 

Fairway: Ping G425 Max 

Hybrid: Ping G425 

Irons: Ping i59 (4-PW) 

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro

Putter: Wilson Staff Infinite Buckingham 

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 Pix