Let’s get one thing clear. I shop at two places throughout the year, Goodwill and The Masters Merchandise Pavilion. They both have a lot more in common than you’d expect. Every year in early April I sit my chair down at the entrance at approximately 6:15am next to some stranger talking golf as the minutes count down like a new year’s ball drop in Times Square. The regulars are always in attendance summing up everyone which trying to play Mr. Nice guy. It’s easy to figure out who is who from the small talk and chatter.
Much like the half off weekday ticket color the regulars are out there looking for either the exclusive low count rare item of the year or last year’s Member Pro Shop/Berckman’s Place items that had remaining inventory. Think of it like the sales rack at your favorite resort when counts get down to less than presentation standards. I swear that the first five people through the security gates could easily qualify for the USA Summer Olympic Speed Walking team.
Since JRS couldn’t be in attendance this year he tasked me with a simple objective of taking pictures of this years merchandise for the blog. That was all fine and dandy until I get a swift reprimand about the no photograph policy inside the merchandise pavilion as we all know what can happen when you mess with Augusta National. My host whom has had badges for some time gave me quite the death stare so you’ll have to use my words to imagine what its like inside the gate of shopping goodness.
The rumor around town is that a high ranking Disney Official was enticed to come on board to help out with the Masters. The entrance to “The Golf Shop” reminds you of the winding but organized lines while you wait to get on space mountain with full video presentations and exhibits to keep your anticipation at bay. As you enter the shop I always have to check out my favorite spot, “The Clubhouse.”
The clubhouse is your upscale section of the Golf Shop that carries your higher end exotic offerings such as Peter Millar, Marbas (Italy) labeled as Clubhouse Collection, leather goods, and other mens furnishings. I always stock up on my favorite Perth Pullover, a Peter Millar Down vest, and this year particularly the Mackenzie Masters leather carry bag. Most would frown at a $900 golf bag but since their regular offering costs the same at retail it seemed like a no brainer for me. That’s the case with everything that The Masters sells from Mont Blanc pens to Smathers and Branson belts. Whatever it costs at retail it’s the same price at the tournament.
After a quick trip in the clubhouse section I always check out the center which consists of your mens essentials, home goods, and odds and ends. I will never quite understand what the appeal is for the Garden Gnomes but year in and year out it’s the hot item by far.
If my intel is correct they were sold out by Monday and had to hold a certain number of items for Thursday to kick off the tournament. As always the Smathers and Branson didn’t disappoint with the release of the rumored “Amen Corner” needlepoint belt. This belt has been on my personal radar for the last two years but I assumed that it was going to be a Member Shop or Berckmans Place exclusive which was a nice surprise.
Post center tier I always go check out the headwear wall. This is my favorite part as I can purchase staples such as dated hats, white tour visors, and the basic dad hats. There isn’t an item on this planet that you can give someone a $25 item that they will wear until it’s literally falling apart. These items are my go to gifts from year to year. Not much has changed with the exception of a green snapback MASTERS and a tech dry fit high crown tour visor.
Once just once in my decade of attending the tournament I found a members hat on the counter of the hat wall. My understanding is that anyone can return anything Masters week and if an item is returned from the Members Shop or BP then it just goes into the Main merchandise pavilion’s on hand inventory. For the record Augusta National Member items are pulled during Masters week. There was one specific womens had that was a hit all week and it was a very understated slouch front white hat with a subtle Masters logo on the side. To go with that hat I noticed a Peter Millar quilted vest that was for fitted. A little bit more on the pocket than a hat but like they say, “ A happy wife is a happy life.”
At the end of the day for me it’s about two things, the hunt and the aftermath. I don’t love wearing the Masters logo because of exclusiveness. I love donning the Masters logo because you never know what kind of conversation will ensue or the memories it will invoke. These occurrences with random strangers could happen at an airport, your kid’s school, or even outside of a Goodwill waiting for the door’s to open for 50% wacky Wednesday when some lucky soul found a vintage Masters cardigan a few weeks prior but you had to make small talk just to realize you let a special piece get away. You know I had to make him an offer right then and there…
More #mastersmerch goodies:
Many thanks to contributor @putterho (Insta) for this. He’s a good dude, and has some of the coolest golf merch on the planet. Top shelf stuff…
Me? Well, even though I wasn’t able to attend, I had a buddy pick me up a couple things…
I do love a white Masters hat, and I didn’t have this one. I also scored a Berkman’s Peter Millar quarter zip, and we re-upped on some dated Tervis’. Most importantly, I got #HJS two Masters polos. Start ’em young…
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