Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Augusta Amen

    My family has never been one to give extravagant gifts.  We actually don't really exchange gifts at all...that is... material gifts.  As a family, at a young age, we actually decided to replace our Christmas gifts each year with an annual family ski trip instead!  I will be forever grateful to my parents for instilling this core value within our family. At a very young age, as my closet was cluttered with lots of things, things that were once exciting to own, but now just collecting dust, I realized that the greatest gifts are not physical, but the gifts of experience that last a lifetime!

    Growing up, our parents gave us the gifts of "irreplaceable life-long experiences."  From kissing the legendary Blarney Stone in Ireland, walking over the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews, sleigh riding through the snow to a cabin built in the 1800s, and flying through the Grand Canyon in a helicopter... to even the smaller things in life...eating dinner every night as a family outside and being able to push our dad in the pool in his work clothes (happened many times!), winning a participation ribbon every 4th of July in the ultimate Sand Castle Competition (we never did win), to our family tradition of eating hotdogs and beans for Christmas dinner (we'll have to explain that one in its own blog!) I wouldn't trade these experiences for even the most lavish gifts in the world!

    The best weekend of my whole life, "My Augusta Amen," was one of these irreplaceable gifts!!! Most every golfer dreams of one day being able to play at Augusta National, and my dad made this dream come true my senior year in high school.  A few years ago for Father's Day, in honor of my dad, I published a story about this magical weekend in Chicken Soup for the Woman Golfer's Soul,   "Augusta Amen."

    A spectacular moment during this trip...a hole-in-one at the prestigious 16th hole, to become the first female ever recorded to do so, will only etch this father/daughter weekend into my heart even deeper!

"Augusta Amen"  by Perry Swenson

Even with the small disposable camera we had...we managed to get a few good pictures!  Here I am with my dad on the Hogan Bridge leading up to #12 green! 

Here I am on #12 green fixing my ball mark!  I would go onto roll this putt in for a birdie!  (Did I mention, I played both Par 3s on the back in only 3 shots!!!)

My Dad, better known as "Rocky" or "Stormin' Norman" teeing off of #7!  I am so proud of him, as he is still one of the Top Ranked Senior Amateurs in the World!  

My hole-in-one at Augusta National #16

Here I am getting my ball out of the hole, after acing the 16th (from the back tees that is!)  175 yards, 5 iron....the pin was back right, sitting on top of the shelf!  I actually hit the ball perfect...still one of the best iron shots in my "mental" golf bag!

This photo reminds me of something out of Caddyshack!  My dad, me, our gracious host and member Jay Johnson, and longtime friend Dick Hill.

My caddy!  He warned me that the greens would be 5x faster then I could imagine!  I still managed to 4-putt the first green and then corrected him... 8x faster!!!

Mr. Hill, me, and dad.

 The narrow tee shot at the 18th!

A first hand glimpse at the Master's Trophy, which was introduced in 1961 and is the exact replica of the clubhouse.

And of course, couldn't leave out Clifford Roberts 

or Bobby Jones!

We stayed in the Fairway Lodge right off of the 10th tee!   

Dad,  I can never say THANK YOU enough!  I will remember this weekend for the rest of my life and wouldn't have wanted to experience it with anyone else, but YOU!

And for Augusta...til we meet again!

"If there's a golf course in Heaven, I hope it is like Augusta National!  I just don't want an early tee time!" -Gary Player


  1. What a great post!! Showing to my husband later, who will be totally jealous over you playing augusta, plus the ace on 16!

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