5 locals take in sights at Masters tourney

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
A group of local golf enthusiasts took the trip of a lifetime, going to The Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga. Those pictured, from left, are: Jay Conway, Tyler Faulk, Randy Henderson and Dick Conway. Contributed photo

Purdy man recounts trip to top golf tournament

All sports fans have places they hold as their holy grails, a place or event they want to visit and cross off their bucket lists.

For Purdy resident and golf enthusiast Randy Henderson, that place was the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

"I've always enjoyed golf," Henderson said. "Whether it is playing a round or talking about the sport, I've always enjoyed the game. As an enthusiast, The Masters is the tournament that I've always wanted to attend."

Henderson said the history of the course, along with the legends he grew up watching on television, made the spot his ultimate destination.

Tickets for The Masters and its practice rounds are hard to obtain.

In fact, there are two ways to get them: first, know a patron of the course who is willing to give you their passes, or second, apply online for a limited number of lottery passes.

Henderson, like millions of others, was forced to opt for the second option.

The Masters does not divulge the number of tickets made available for practice rounds or tournament play, nor does it announce attendance figures, which makes it hard to speculate on an applicant's odds of being selected for a live round.

Of course, the odds of getting the congratulatory email from the club might not be terrific, and only a lucky few are selected via what The Masters' website describes as a random draw.

However, Lady Luck shined down on one of Henderson's family members.

"My father-in-law, Dick Conway, put in for the lottery and was selected for the Tuesday practice round," he said. "He purchased four tickets and we made plans to attend."

To round out the group, Conway invited his son, Jay Conway, and Henderson brought his step-son, Tyler Faulk.

The quartet left on a Sunday and spent Monday playing a couple of rounds of golf before arriving at Augusta National on Tuesday.

"You can't see any of the course from the road," Henderson said. "When I first got inside, I was blown away by how manicured everything was. On TV, you just see a small portion, but to experience the 360-degree setting was breathtaking. There wasn't a dead leaf anywhere, or a single blade of grass longer than the other. "

Henderson also noted the course's difficulty.

"Golfers are athletes," he said. "You really don't get a true sense for the difficulty of the course until you see it up close. The greens and overall length of the course

is just amazing."

Henderson said his group spent the day zigzagging the course, following different golfers and seeing different holes.

"The practice round is a lot different from the tournament round," Henderson said. "Golfers can choose to skip it altogether, play only a few holes, or even skip holes. It is difficult to keep up with who is going where."

While Henderson said he got to see every site on his list, if he is afforded the opportunity to go again, he knows what he would do different.

"I would like to start at hole No. 1 and sequentially

walk the whole course," he said. "I hope I get that chance."

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