Taste of the Masters: Bringing Augusta National's food experience to patrons at home - PGA TOUR (2024)

Pimento Cheese sandwich and moon pies. (Courtesy of the Masters Tournament)

    Written by Justin Lemminn @PGATOUR

    From start to finish, the Masters Tournament has an identity all its own. Whether it’s the drive up Magnolia Lane or the green jacket donned by the victor, the Masters is known for a multitude of things: azaleas in full bloom in early spring, Rae’s Creek, Butler Cabin and the quintessential selection of food and drinks enjoyed exclusively by patrons in attendance. Or rather, that used to be the case.

    Insert "Taste of the Masters," a food and beverage initiative spearheaded by Augusta National in 2020 when the tournament took place at a non-traditional time, in November, with no patrons on-site due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The pandemic challenged the sports and entertainment industry to adjust and adapt, and the Masters was no different. It began with a simple question from the team at Augusta National: What are some ways to help bring the experience to fans and make this a memorable tournament?

    Aside from opening an online patron shop that allowed ticketed patrons to purchase Masters merchandise from home (the Masters only sells official Masters merchandise on the grounds at Augusta National), the team also came up with the idea of selling Masters food and drink kits to those ticketed patrons, which they dubbed "Taste of the Masters."

    Taste of the Masters: Bringing Augusta National's food experience to patrons at home - PGA TOUR (1)

    The full spread of what's included in Taste of the Masters. (Courtesy of the Masters Tournament)

    The club and hospitality team spearheaded this initiative by identifying the items that represented the Masters best. Without hesitation, the answer was obvious: pimento cheese.

    There may be no other concession item in sports that holds the weight or reputation of Augusta National’s pimento cheese sandwiches. With the perfect amount of spice paired with cheesy creaminess and jammed between two pieces of fresh white bread, the pimento cheese sandwich has been a staple on the menu board at Augusta since the 1950s.

    Beyond pimento cheese, the team knew they needed to fill the kits with other options to satisfy the appetites of all who planned to enjoy the meals from home. Pork bar-b-que and egg salad were added as entree options, as were sides including Augusta’s signature chocolate chip cookies and potato chips.

    When tasked with the challenge of replicating the on-site experience, however, a final few pieces were vital. While the food offerings satisfied the taste aspect, to really give it that Masters feel they added authentic plastic Masters cups and sheets of the iconic Masters checkerboard serving paper.

    Taste of the Masters: Bringing Augusta National's food experience to patrons at home - PGA TOUR (2)

    Masters coasters, food placards and flag toothpicks from Taste of the Masters. (Courtesy of the Masters Tournament)

    The "Taste of the Masters" was such a hit that the team brought it back for the 2021 Masters, which featured partial patron attendance. The kits were now available to everyone, not just ticketed patrons, and sold out even faster.

    And that was a wrap on the kits, or so the team thought.

    The kits were discontinued in 2022, as patrons on-site could once again enjoy the full offerings while strolling the grounds. But overwhelming fan feedback suggested that the kits were missed.

    Taste of the Masters: Bringing Augusta National's food experience to patrons at home - PGA TOUR (3)

    Georgia Pecan Caramel Popcorn. (Courtesy of the Masters Tournament)

    The team was not expecting "Taste of the Masters" to become a fan staple, but as folks expressed how important it was to have the kits, using them to create or enhance their traditions around watching the tournament together, it became clear it had. Augusta National recognized the opportunity for people to recreate the patron experience at home, and so, "Taste of the Masters" returned in 2023.

    For 2024, the Augusta National team continued to look at ways to evolve and perfect the project. One enhancement for this year: Fans have had a say in what's included thanks to their feedback. Bar-b-que potato chips, Georgia pecan caramel popcorn and Masters coasters are included in the kit, with the popcorn’s inclusion a direct result of fan feedback. The team even added a smaller tasting kit as an option this year, also a direct result of fan feedback, which also includes fun accessories like food item placards and miniature Masters flag toothpicks to hold sandwiches together.

    Taste of the Masters: Bringing Augusta National's food experience to patrons at home - PGA TOUR (4)

    Pork bar-b-que sandwich with bar-b-que potato chips. (Courtesy of the Masters Tournament)

    For Augusta National, the kits are yet another opportunity to go above and beyond for fans across the country while also paying homage to the tournament's roots in Augusta, Georgia. The food and beverage experience is part of Masters history, which started with the vision of Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, who believed that food was key to the Masters’ evolution as an elite sporting experience for patrons. The two tournament pioneers wanted the menu to reflect a southern-style picnic, with sandwiches as an easy option that locals could create in their homes and bring to the course for the patrons.

    The menu has come a long way since the Masters inception in 1934, with the Taste of the Masters as simply the next step in its evolution. What originally started as an almost regional, exclusive offering for ticketed fans in 2020 has now grown to a nationwide fan favorite in households across the country. As for whether the Masters pimento cheese sandwich has made its way to all 50 states, it’s hard to say, but 2024 is the first year where shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is available. And why stop there? Fan interest north of the border suggests that "Taste of the Masters" could be headed to Canada as well.

    While nothing is guaranteed, "Taste of the Masters" looks to be around for the long haul.

    Taste of the Masters: Bringing Augusta National's food experience to patrons at home - PGA TOUR (2024)


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