Blakely Golf Association
The BGA - Founded 1984

BGA vs. The Masters



The Masters

 

There has always been an attraction for golfers towards the hallowed grounds of Augusta National.  The Masters is one of the most unusual events in sports. It’s all about tradition, and it’s defined by a set of old rules and customs that just do not exist in other tournaments.  To commemorate such an amazing place, I have collected some of the most interesting facts about Augusta National, that you can share with your friends.
   
     1. In the Beginning
   
     The Masters as we know it would never have been, if the USGA hadn’t turned down Bobby Jones’ request to host the 1934 US Open. Angry at the rebuff, Jones and Clifford Roberts decided to stage their own event.
   
     2. Bitter Sweet
   
     Course architect, Alister McKenzie, never saw his famous course completed. He died January 6th 1934, just 2 months before the Inaugural Masters Tournament.
   
     3. The Language
   
     You should never hear the word “championship” on the telecast. The U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA are championships held by the major ruling and organizing bodies of the sport (or a vestige thereof in the case of the PGA). The Masters is an invitational tournament held at a very pretty golf course, given prestige by the involvement of Bobby Jones. The winner is not the champion of anything. Other words you shouldn’t hear: “fans,” “bleachers,” “sand traps,” “front/back nine.” The officially preferred words are “patrons,” “observation stands,”“bunkers,” and “first/second nine.” That last distinction is aimed at avoiding use of the phrase “front side” for the first nine holes, leading inevitably to the so, so vulgar “back side” for the next nine.
   
     4. Respect
   
     Some amateurs have always been invited to the Masters, out of respect for the career of club founder Bobby Jones. But Jones himself was no longer considered an amateur by the USGA by the time Augusta National opened. He never competed for prize money, but his equipment deals and Hollywood instructional short films made him a professional in the eyes of all, except for the eyes of the Masters hierarchy, of which he was a part of.

   
     5. Ah ha…the Green Jacket
   
     If you just happen to be the winner of the Masters, you get the honor of topping off the standard ensemble with a shamrock green blazer. Professional golf’s version of a beauty queen crowning ceremony, the presenting of the Green Jacket by the previous year’s champion to the current champion at the conclusion of the tournament dates back to1949, when Sam Snead won the Masters. However, the signature jackets started appearing at Augusta National 12 years prior, when members started sporting them during the tournament so that they would be easily identifiable by patrons in need of assistance or directions. Also, when a member hosts guests in the clubhouse, the green jacket designates who gets the bill.  The Masters website has more on the sartorial back story:
   
     “The club purchased the Jackets from the Brooks Uniform Company in New York and urged members to buy and wear them at the Masters.  Initially, the idea met a lukewarm reception from the membership, for the heft of the coats made them warm to wear during a typical April in Augusta. Within a few years, the Club introduced a lighter-weight version more suited to the season. Today’s single-breasted, single-vent Jacket bears the Club’s logo on the left chest pocket and on the brass buttons adorning the front of the coat and each sleeve. The unmistakable color is known, simply, as Masters Green.” So does the Masters winner get to take home that fetching piece of outerwear? He sure does. After the presentation ceremony, a custom version of the Green Jacket is tailored to the champ’s exact measurements and he gets to call it his own for an entire year. So, to be clear, a single jacket isn’t passed on from winner to winner.  During the following year’s tournament, he must return to Augusta National and relinquish the Green Jacket, at which point it’s placed in a locker but available any time he returns to play at the club.  Seve Ballesteros famously challenged the decision by saying to the Augusta committee: “If they want it, they can fly to Spain and come and get it.”
   
     6. The Template
   
     The Masters invented the template for what we know as tournament golf. It was the first 72-hole four day event and the first to use the over/under par system. The Masters also saw the first grandstands for viewers.
   
     7. Strict But Polite
   
     The level of respect that the patrons of The Master’s have is only surpassed by their understanding of the game. It is awesome to witness. In the 10+ years I have been to this tournament, I have never seen a single spectator get out of line, say something in appropriate or make a scene. It is as if everyone has collectively agreed to be on their best behavior. There is no need for marshals to hold “Quiet Please” signs because everyone respects the tournament so much.
   
     As mentioned earlier, they are not fans, they are not a crowd or even a gallery. They are patrons. You’ll hear it often during the CBS broadcast. Also, while on the grounds, patrons are told not to run. Walking only.If you watch any pro tournament, behind the golfers you’ll see a cadre of sign-bearers, reporters, photographers, broadcast personnel and cameramen. Not at Augusta. Between the ropes, competitors, caddies and rules officials only. Patrons who show up early and place their chairs and leave will find their chairs waiting for them when they return.  Try that at any other PGA event and let me know what happens. More than 40 years ago, during one tense moment, CBS commentator Jack Whitaker used the term “mob” to describe the scene around a green. The Masters leadership let his bosses know that he wouldn’t be invited back, and he wasn’t.  Gary McCord referred to the greens as having been "bikini waxed", he wasn't invited back either.
   
     8. Value
   
      It’s one of the best-kept numbers in sports—the initiation fee to Augusta National. With barons like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, among others, as members it goes without saying that money isn’t the object. And it isn’t. To join is reportedly under $100,000, which might be one-tenth of other high profile clubs in the country.  And if you were lucky enough to play the course with a member, you can probably afford it. Guest fees are said to be about $40.
   
     9. The Reagan Appointment
   
     On October 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan was playing at Augusta National as a guest of his secretary of state (and club member) George Schultz when his round was interrupted at the 16th hole by a disgruntled local named Charles Harris, who had crashed his truck through the gate and was demanding to see the President. Harris held hostages at gunpoint in the pro shop for two hours before Secret
Service agents subdued him.
   
     10. Clifford Roberts’ Demise     

    Augusta National’s co-founder Clifford Roberts, a quiet investor turned autocrat, was at turns beloved and despised. In the fall of 1977, at age 83 and in failing health, Roberts walked to a slope next to Ike’s Pond and ended his own life with a single pistol shot to the temple.
   
     11. The Crow’s Nest
   
     Located above the main clubhouse at Augusta, this is where the amateurs stay for the Masters week.  Bobby Jones spawned the idea and the rest is quite literally history, lots of it. Eight youngsters who
stayed in this infamous bedroom and gone on to win the green jacket; Nicklaus, Aaron, Watson, Crenshaw, Stadler, O’Meara, Mickelson and Woods – that’s quite a list.  There are four beds, a bathroom and a
living area which is lined with paintings of historical moments at the Masters and books about the history of the game.
   
     12. Sweet Georgia Peaches
   
     The history of Augusta is much more than golf; it was once home to Fruitland Nurseries. Owned and operated by P.J. Berckmans and his family the nursery was one of the most successful horticultural sites of its time in the South. Located on Washington Road, approximately 3 miles northwest of downtown Augusta, Fruitland planted millions of peach trees in the 1800s and early 1900s and made Georgia famous for its sweet Georgia peaches. In 1931, the land was purchased and transformed into the most famous golf course in the world, Augusta National.  The Berckmans’ family home still remains on the Augusta National property and serves as the clubhouse.

 

 

The BGA

 

There has always been an attraction for golfers towards the hallowed grounds of Myrtle Beach.  The BGA Southern Tour in Myrtle is one of the most cherished events in sports. It’s all about tradition, and it’s defined by a set of old rules and customs that just do not exist for normal golfers.  To commemorate such an amazing event, we have collected some of the most interesting facts about the BGA, that you can share with your friends.


   
     1. In the Beginning
   
     The BGA as we know it would never have been if a group of MBA students hadn't gone to Myrtle for Spring Break in 1980. That was when Morty got arrested and spent the night in jail, a record that lasted 32 years before it was broken last year with a 2 night stay by a current BGA member.
   
     2. Bitter Sweet
   
     Original Jacket winner Marty Skodechek never got a chance to defend his win at the inaugural BGA event in 1984.  Marty was afraid to fly, and when the group decided to skip the drive to Myrtle from Pennsylvania, Marty was going to take a bus. When he realized he could only get to Columbia, SC and no one would come pick him up, he scrapped the plan, never to return. His memory lives on as the namesake of the “Skodie”.
   
     3. The Language
   
     You will never hear the word “Schlenker” during most rounds of golf, except in the BGA. Most golf rounds use normal terms of golf, but the BGA has its own language. Rounds are played according to a set of rules that have been cultivated over the long history and include words never heard by other golfers. Although certain words are used by many golfers, such as sandie, greenie, polie, and flaggie, other words you’ll hear include: “aqua-mole,” “twofer,” “newt, “sims”, and of course “skodie”. The officially preferred words are known by all BGA players and used frequently.
   
     4. Respect
   
     Some rookies have always been invited to the BGA, out of a need to bring in fresh blood and new money. Some even pull off the rookie move more than once. Once a player attends for 5 years in a row, he will be voted on for membership to the “Executive Council”.  As a member of the Executive Council, a player is guaranteed a spot in the next year’s event. By the time a player is there for 5 years, it is usually just a formality to be voted in (except if your name is Ralph).

   
     5. Ah ha…the Green Jacket
   
     If you just happen to be the winner of the BGA Green Jacket, you get the honor of topping off the standard ensemble with a shamrock green blazer. In BGA’s version of a beauty queen crowning ceremony, the presenting of the Green Jacket by the previous year’s champion to the current champion at the conclusion of the tournament dates back to 1984. It was that year that John Cal pulled out a lime green leisure suit jacket he had worn to his high school semi-formal in 1973.  However, the signature new jacket started appeared in 2007 at the ceremony, when Tex contributed his 60th Birthday present to the tour.  The BGA website has more on the sartorial back story:
   
     “My wife purchased the Jacket at Jos. A. Banks in Chicago and gave it to Tex as a 60th birthday present.  Initially, the idea to donate the Jacket to the next winner met with a lukewarm reception from Tex, as he had so many formal events he could wear it to. Within a short time, he decided that he’d actually never wear it anywhere, so why not give it to the next Jacket winner? The Jacket bears the BGA logo on the left chest pocket and on the inside is an embroidered name of all the past Jacket winners. For some unknown reason, JC’s name is listed twice. The unmistakable color is known, simply, as Masters Green.” So does the BGA winner get to take home that fetching piece of outerwear? He sure does! After the presentation ceremony, the Green Jacket is worn by a player it rarely fits and he gets to call it his own for an entire year. So, to be clear, a single jacket is passed on from winner to winner.  Newt has often stated that he should be the true holder of the old Jacket, since he was the last to win it before the new Jacket was introduced. DC famously responded to Newt by saying: “If he wants it, he can fly to Houston and come and get it, its just taking up space in my closet.”
   
     6. The Template
   
     The BGA invented the template for what we know as Tourney Day. A Thursday night draft of players along with a subsequent wagering session.  The wagering on individual matches and team match-ups is recorded by Siko in his little black book.  Originally he recorded the bets on the back of a pizza box.
   
     7. Not Strict or Polite
   
     The level of respect among BGA players is totally non-existent. The lack of golf etiquette in the BGA is only surpassed by their willingness to pervert the game for their betting purposes. It is awesome to witness. In the 32 years I have been to the BGA, I have never seen a single round that adhered to the strict rules of golf. I have seen golfers get out of line, say many things inappropriate and make a scene at Hooters. It is as if everyone has collectively agreed to be on their worst behavior. There is no need for marshals to harass the BGA about “Pace of Play”, because everyone would ignore them anyway.
   
     As mentioned earlier, there are no fans, but there is a crowd on the 18th hole who are drinking and smoking and generally making noise while guys putt. They are the BGA. You’ll hear them in the parking lot afterward, settling their bets and partying until they get kicked out. Also, while on the course, BGAers are told not to drink,  but that restriction is widely ignored. Most foursomes have at least 2 bottles of liquor in their bags, not to mention numerous beers. BGAers are expected to heed a strict code of conduct regarding the payment of bets - no transferring of obligations and all bets must be settled before leaving the course. Not welching on your bets is a cornerstone of BGA protocol.  Try to leave the course without paying your bets and let me know what happens. More than 10 years ago, during one tense moment, Cirba’s lawyer partner said he wouldn't play skodies. The BGA leadership let him know that he wouldn’t be invited back, and he wasn’t. Telly skipped out after winning the Calcutta without buying drinks, he wasn't invited back either.
   
     8. Value
   
      It’s one of the best-kept numbers in golf - how can you go for an entire week of golf for only $1,100?  And how come the price hasn't changed in about 10 years? With many financial barons involved as members it goes without saying that money isn’t the object. And it isn’t. To come for the week is a really cheap vacation, some guys reportedly spend less for the golf than they lose in bets.  And if you were lucky enough to get a rain check from last year, you can get a free round on Friday.
   
     9. The Shulu Incident
   
     On May 2, 1987, BGA member Ron “Shulu” Shayka (who was by the way an original Blakely resident, growing up a block from the Cardell household) was playing at Robber’s Roost when he had a 10X on one hole (these were in the days before the CAP rule). Shu stormed off the course after 9 holes, vowing to take the next flight back to Pennsylvania. Shu held the BGA tour hostage in the pro shop for twenty minutes before agreeing to come out and finish the round.
   
     10. A BGAer’s Demise     

    We lost one of the most beloved BGA members recently when Mark “Keck” Keckiesen passed away last year. He was a true original, known for his quirky sense of humor and infectious laugh. In his honor, the BGA has renamed the Telly to the “Keck”. Despite the fact that it is negative junk, Keck wanted it that way - his wish was that we named a shot after him that came into play just about every round.
   
     11. The Legends
   
     Located on Route 501 is the Legends condos, this is where the BGA stays for Myrtle week. After spending time in Cherry Grove in the north and Surfside Beach in the south, it was decided that we should move closer to the actual town of Myrtle Beach. No one has actually been to downtown Myrtle Beach itself or seen the ocean in about 10 years, but it’s nice to know it’s close by.
   
     12. More than Sweet South Carolina Weather
   
     The history of the BGA is much more than golf, it is a story of traditions and friendships that go back over 30 years. The BGA was formed and meets annually in the Springtime warm weather of the Carolinas, but belonging to the brotherhood that is the BGA is a year round experience. Mini and Micro Myrtle are awesome events, and along with numerous non-myrtle events they keep the BGA spirit alive throughout the year!