The Augusta National Model

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The Augusta National Model

I had a chance to do one of my favorite things Monday when I got invited to a practice round for the Masters at Augusta National.

Mother Nature limited the day to only two and a half hours but it was still nice to get back to one of the greatest places on Earth.

I won't bore the non-golf fans with any details of the golf aspect but since this is a Clemson blog, I wanted to pass along some ideas that maybe Clemson could incorporate for its fans at future Clemson sporting events.

It is obvious that Augusta National has a completely different budget than Clemson athletics.  The membership at Augusta National is made up of hundreds of the nation's wealthiest people.  They don't publicize it and few know the exact figures, but my guess is Augusta National brings in hundreds of millions more money than Clemson athletics each year.  When you combine ticket sales, concessions, merchandise, TV revenue, dues, assessments, etc. it would have to be many times that of what Clemson athletics produce.

Therefore, many of the specifics that make Augusta National special can't be implemented at Clemson due to budget constraints.  But Clemson could still learn a lot.  Maybe the most important idea is creating an experience where fans feel like they get more than they pay for.

Below are part of the reasons the fan experience is so special at Augusta National:

Ticket Prices

The face value for a practice round ticket yesterday was $50.  My guess is that Augusta's membership could get four times that amount of they wanted to.  My friend bought four from a scalper for Wednesday's practice round for $1,300.  However, the membership keeps ticket prices more than reasonable at Augusta.


This is the best bargain in sports.  Sandwiches are $1.50 at Augusta National.  Soft drinks are $1.50.  Clemson has constraints in its contracts but I hear a lot of Tiger fans complain about $4 bottles of water.  This is one area where Clemson could learn from the best in the business.


You would be hard pressed to find a cigarette butt or a sandwich wrapper anywhere on the grounds at Augusta National.  The employees in charge of litter are on top of the scene and prevalent throughout the property.  I will say that Clemson does a very good job here.  I am amazed that the campus looks great Sunday after home games.


Augusta National bought surrounding neighborhoods and tore down houses in order to provide parking for its patrons.  Oh, I should have added "FREE" parking.  Imagine going to a college football game and parking for free.


Augusta National has a no refund policy for its tickets.  The policy basically says it rounds are cancelled then the ticket holder is out of luck.  However, they released a statement Monday afternoon that said ticket holders today would receive a refund and would get first chance at buying Monday tickets for next year's tournament.  Imagine a college giving back money on a rainout in baseball?


Everywhere you go inside the gates at Augusta National, you are greeted by attendants.  They are helpful and pleasant.  The bathroom attendants keep the place spotless.  The concessions people are jovial.  The experience is enhanced with their cheer and helpful attitude.


The old Augusta National leadership under people like Cliff Roberts were old and stuffy.  Roberts was a racist and pledged to keep his tournament white and his caddies black.  After that policy changed, Augusta still had an old-fashioned style of leadership and the tournament reflected that.  They even limited TV coverage.  The leadership in the last 20 years continues to change and has become progressive.  They welcome technology.  They understand the modern business model.  It is refreshing to see history mixed with progressive leadership.


The membership at Augusta National continues to invest in its product.  They reinvest every year to make the experience better.  They continue to think outside the box and keep finding ways to make everything about the tournament better each year.

In summary, I understand Clemson is a completely different business model than the Masters Tournament.  However, there is a lot to be learned about the way the patrons are valued.  I have never walked out of the gates at Augusta National and I felt like I did not get more than I paid for.  That attitude is something I think a lot of businesses can learn from.  It’s that attitude that a lot of professional and college sports leaders could learn from.

The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency

Prayer List

We have started a prayer list on the blog.  Here are the guidelines:

If you are offended by prayer or prayer lists then I apologize in advance.  The blog is free and the prayer list will be on the bottom of the page so you don’t have to read it.

If you would like to add someone to the list please email me at

*Please let me know when it is appropriate to take the person off of the prayer list.

Those who need our prayers include: Finn Brookover, Jo Ann Bachman, Kenneth Bryant, Pruitt Martin, Got Igers and his family, David Rowland, Leonard, Gillespie and his family, Jim S., Daniel Rosborough, the Huffman family, Nancy Winkler, John Reeve, Vinnie Brock, Kaitlyn L., Susan Miller, Joyce Harley, Steve Proveaux, Jeffrey Greene, the Hutto family, Sherl Drawdy, Caleb Kennedy, Teresa O'Connor, Matt Jacobs, Perrin Seigler, Candee Massee, Lindsey Jordan, Sam Catoe, Tyler Felch, the Nicolopulos family, "the Jacksonville, FL guys," Kim Sims, the Coyle family, Ryleigh Tedder, Steve Lee, Kelly Trakas, Jimmy Moore, the Thomas V. family, Emary Claire Young, Kitty Bowers, Julie Locke, the Scheider family, Lauren Kittles' family, Frank Gentry, Joyce Bussey, Stacey McKeown, Dale Childs, Larry Lentz, Jr., Carl Sharperson, Scott Hannon, William Perry, Tyler Swaney, Lillian, Mark Feit, David Frame, Chad Berry, the family of Matthew M. Watson, the Dowis family, Shervin Messer, Alan Putnam, the Olivers, Lee Tate, Ronnie Abrams, Eddie Greene, the Jackson family, Bill Vader, Jim Taylor, Tina DeWitt, Rock Horne, Christopher Tuten, Bobby Wayne Thomas, Emma and Danielle Carothers, Robert Ditty, Mr. and Mrs. Murray Smith, Dot Cartee, Ayden Mills, Millie Heatley, Lynn Martin and family, Michael Pinson, Jake David family, Angie Crowley, Ira, Mike Tolson, Poly Wells, Dr. Muriel Bishop, Jack Cunningham, Emily Jefford Meister, Zachary Stoller, Aaron Clackum, Pat James, Cortney Moore, William Moore, Angelia and Savannah Anderson, William Ross, Meredith Legg, Scott Johns, Frank Carroll, Brandon Thompson, Alvin Sammons, Georgine McAlhaney, Glen Davis, Mike Price, Clay Childers, Aaron Knight, Danielle Johnston and family, Nicholas Abrams, Lana Kuykendall, Gary, Gary G., William Huggins, Jim Bennett, Chantz Fowler, Ethel McElveen, Michele Gurganus, William Gentry, Lewis Usher and Tanya Sanders,  Shon Cooper, Nick Collins, Amanda Peake, Danny Hammond, Chip Turner, Nick Collins, Allen Steen, the Sturkey family, the Lance family, Nick Chrisley's family, Allison Williams, Lt. Kyle Walker, Summer and Joel Johnson, Nicole O'Donnell, James O. Johnson, Joy Pruett and family, Bill Schmidt, Jack Bailey, Gardner Family, Charles Turner, Kathy Bartholomew, Ray Sanders, David and Robin Blocker, J.R. Ray, Kenneth Kowe, Lauren Sielicki, Doug Bailey and family, Jenna Phipps, Mark Lawrence, Harlan Sullins, Peter Laboy, Kat and Carlisle Jones, Elizabeth Galloway and family, Anita McDonald, Willard Harryman, Liz Surratt, Molly Senn, Jackie Shearer, Richard Sellers, Tim Drisdelle, Edward Easterling, Dawson Bourne, Susan and Mike Brown, Julie Goodman Marshall, Willard and Dorothy Harryman, Justin Jernigan, Jack  Cunningham,  Mia Daughtery, Tee Senn, Jim Lanier, Bob Garrett, Skylar, Joseph Thomas, Mrs. Nelis, Jeanne Thompson, Sean Rowell, George Parker, Levon Kirkland and family, Catherine Sewell, Randy Davenport, Patrick Destefano, David Vaughn, Keith Dalton, B.T., Bill Hilbig, Rita Elrod Hammond and family, Jim McKeller, and our great country and the men and women in uniform that protect and serve it every day, plus their families.

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