After the 2020 tournament at Augusta (Ga.) National GC was rescheduled for November with no spectators, other local clubs and business that count on a significant bump in business because of the tournament realized only about 5 percent of typical revenue, one club GM says. The tournament will return to its traditional April date in 2021 but how much attendance will be allowed has still not been finalized.
The Masters will return to its traditional April date this year, USA Today reported, but Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club still hasn’t made public how many patrons will be allowed to attend this year. (No spectators were allowed when the tournament was rescheduled for the fall in 2020.)
The uncertainty has many other local clubs and businesses on edge, USA Today reported, over the prospect of another year where their traditional bump in business around the Masters may be lost or severely diminished.
Cameron Wiebe, PGA, General Manager of Champions Retreat in nearby Evans, Ga., which will host the first two rounds of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur the week before the Masters, told USA Today that the corporate hospitality his club typically hosts when Augusta becomes the center of the sporting universe for one week was all but non-existent in November 2020, and that was the case for other area clubs as well.
“The November Masters was a 5-percent Masters,” Wiebe told USA Today, referring to the typical revenue earned during the week of the tournament. “We’re hoping for a 30-percent Masters in April , and for 2022 the world here would hope for a 75-plus-percent Masters.”
A foursome at Champions Retreat during Masters week typically goes for $3,000 and includes caddie and cart, all-you-can-consume food and beverage until 5 p.m. and a $50 merchandise credit for each player, Wiebe told USA Today. Among other private clubs in the area that open their gates that week, he added, Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken, S.C. charges $3,000 for a foursome, Augusta Country Club charges $2,500, with F&B not included, and while the exclusive Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C. doesn’t officially open up, “if you give them $3,600, you can get a time.”
There is still hope that Augusta National will allow 30 percent to 50 percent of its usual capacity for this year’s Masters, USA Today reported. A high percentage of locals say they have been informed that they won’t be allocated tickets this year, leading some to believe that Augusta National is trying to support the local community by offering tickets primarily to out-of-towners who will occupy hotels and spend dollars at local establishments.
There is more availability for Champions Retreat’s luxurious rental units than usual, USA Todayreported, but some groups, corporations and individuals that are expecting to have Masters access are planning to come back, entertain and, as Wiebe put it, “live it up again.”
And while attendance will be limited, it still has produced enough demand to jack up prices at local businesses, USA Today reported. A room at The Partridge Inn, a longtime social epicenter of Masters week and part of the Hilton family of hotels, is now priced at an average of $959 per night during the tournament, compared to current prices of $110 per night for a Thursday-through-Sunday stay.
Still, the reduced attendance this year won’t go unnoticed, USA Today reported. “This second wave of limited Masters revenue is going to hurt, and it will show itself at some point,” Wiebe said.