There are two distinct types of people in our community this week: Visitors who’ve come to town, and locals who haven’t left.
For the locals who stuck around, we know how magical this week can be – and the challenges it can offer. Yet the biggest challenge isn’t fighting through the unexpected traffic or having to wait in line at a favorite restaurant. For year-round residents, the challenge during Masters Week is to be patient enough to make sure all those visitors feel welcome.
The travelers who visit our community this week are here to enjoy a visit to the world’s finest golf tournament. That’s the treat that awaits them inside the venerable gates of the Augusta National Golf Club. But they aren’t dropped onto the course by parachute. While here for the experience, visitors will fill our hotels, shop in our stores and dine in our restaurants.
We’ve seen the remarkable lengths to which the National goes to make patrons welcome during the tournament, including buying up huge tracts of adjacent land just to provide free parking. Imagine any other sporting event doing that for its customers.
But outside the confines of Augusta National property, the burden of hospitality falls on the rest of us.
We’ve seen far too often how writers for national magazines seek fame at our community’s expense with snarky reviews distributed to people who’ve never been here – and who, if they believed them, likely would hesitate to visit if not for possession of a vaunted Masters badge.
For those who stay in town this week, either to enjoy the tournament or just to keep on with everyday life, our challenge is to prove the drive-by critics wrong.
This is a beautiful community, with no more (or fewer) difficulties than any other. For one week each year, we have the opportunity to show it off to the rest of the world, and making a good impression certainly can’t hurt.
So, be on your best, most patient behavior this week. And welcome to the Masters.