What to Pack for the Ultimate Golf Trip
Our friend Matt Walters—who happens to be married to Nordstrom Social Media Manager Carina Holtby—is going on the golf trip of a lifetime, headed to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
Tickets to the premier American golf tournament are extremely rare. But after years of entering the country club’s lottery, Walters was finally rewarded with tickets and is taking his dad, the man who taught him the game.
What do you pack on a trip like that?
What’s the process of getting Masters tickets—and what’s this about dollar-fifty sandwiches?
I’ve been entering my name in the Masters ticket lotto directly through Augusta National Golf Club for about 10 years. Every year about one month after the Masters finish in April, the ticket application process opens up. They have very tight policies around entries and only allow one entry per legally verifiable address. They notify winners of the drawing a couple months later with information about which days they’ve been selected for and the prices of the tickets. We happened to win tickets for the Wednesday practice round and par three tournament, which in my mind is one of the best days to be a patron. You get the best of both worlds: professional and social. All players in the field will have arrived, knowing the tournament starts on Thursday. And the par three contest is one of the more family-oriented events that week, where players have their kids caddie at times or even have their kids hit shots, which makes for a really laid-back atmosphere.
The tickets were $60 each—but right now they have a resale street value of $1,950. It’s amazing to think that many of the people there may have paid prices well into the $5,000 to $10,000 range throughout the week. Beers are $3. The famous Augusta National Pimento Sandwich is $1.50. Once you’re there, it’s cheap.
How are you thinking about what to wear to the Masters? Obviously you’re not golfing. But you’re still at the Augusta Country Club and I imagine even as a fan there is an implicit dress code.
Weather is a factor. Georgia experiences pretty significant storms, so while I want to pay respect to Augusta National Golf Club with my attire, if it’s raining, I’ll be in rain gear and most patrons will likely be in ponchos as well. Weather aside, my thoughts were about classic club style, clothing which pays respect to the members of the club, as well as the history of the golf tournament. While I won’t be golfing that day, I’ll likely be in casual golf gear with a comfortable pair of shoes because half the experience is walking the entire grounds—a place I’ll likely never get to play in my lifetime, and maybe never have the chance to go back.
Another thought that crossed my mind is that I’m in the South. And everything in fashion in the South is typically a little bit more formal. If you go to a Georgia Bulldogs football game, you’ll see college students in sport coats and slacks. So that was on my mind. I want to be comfortable, but I also want to fit in.
Lastly, you better believe I’ll be hitting the pro shop at the tournament. I might need an extra suitcase to pack the gear I pick up while I’m there. Plenty of golf buddies already asking for hats, shirts and flags.
You’re a member at Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle. Is that a good place to see new trends in golf clothing?
How do I say this … not really. It’s one of the older clubs in Seattle and while they are making strides to bring in new brands, it’s still a pretty traditional golf club. So you likely won’t see too many golfers in joggers and high-top Jordan golf shoes—though I do have both.
Please tell me a little about how you got into golf. Who introduced you to the game?
Golf was always a sport that my dad played. He played in college. But growing up it was never really on the top of my list when it came to athletics. So much of my time was spent traveling for soccer and football that, while I had a set of golf clubs from an early age, they rarely were used. The summer after my senior year in high school, my dad’s mom was diagnosed with a rapidly moving cancer. My dad called me and asked me to join him on the golf course for some father-son time so he could try to clear his mind a bit. I was a little surprised because he hadn’t played a round of 18 holes since I was a younger kid, back when all I really wanted to do was be out there to drive the golf cart. I shot an 86 that day and he looked at me and said, “That’s not supposed to happen.” I was hooked with my early success and literally played with my dad every moment I could that entire summer. Even the following year, I went off to school at UW and lived in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house (many of the Nordstroms were also Betas, by the way), and still every weekend, rain or shine, my dad and I would play golf together. It not only became a passion of mine, but it became a bond of ours that to this day still has me calling him after every round to talk about how it went. I got my first hole in one this year over the holidays. First call: Dad. Of course he wanted to talk through the entire shot as well as the whole round leading up to the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale when I said, “Dad, can I call you after the round? I have a few more holes to play.”
When I opened my email and saw that I won the lotto to get tickets to the Masters, guess who the first call was. My dad, and I told him I’m taking him with me. No questions, no hesitations, he doesn’t have a choice. He was shocked, and never in his lifetime did he ever think he would be able to go. I just continued to tell him we don’t have an option, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Even my wife understood. We got married during Masters week in 2009. I mentioned to her that every year we will always celebrate our anniversary. However, on the off chance I get an opportunity to go to the Masters …
Is your golf game similar to your dad’s?
My dad is a good player. He works on his game a lot and though he doesn’t beat me as often anymore he still knows my swing better than any instructor, so we’ll often get together to check on things or to work through some swing issues I might be telling him about. He always seems to fix it and has always been a great teacher of the game.
Who’s going to win the Masters?
My money is on Jordan Spieth. He has a lot to make up for in his Sunday collapse last year. He’ll have something to prove for sure.