Article: “Memories of a first trip to the Masters”

ARTICLE: “Memories of a first trip to the Masters”

By: Bobby Greenwood, PGA

Published by: Tee Times Paper, April 2021, page 16.

It’s every youngsters’ dream, when they start playing golf, to play on the PGA Tour. And, of course, that means to play in the Masters, the greatest golf tourney in the world.

For the girls, like my daughter, Viola, it was to play the LPGA Tour and jump into the pond after winning the ANA tournament at Palm Springs.

Yes, that was my dream also. I was going to win the Masters; however, one must be invited to play and after seven years on the Tour, much to my chagrin, I never played well enough to earn an invitation.

I was a youngster when my dear childhood friend asked me to go to the Masters with him. Walter Carlen’s father was the Chevrolet dealer in Cookeville and Benton had offered his son, Walter, a new Chevy to drive to Augusta, Georgia to see the Masters. I was so excited!

My friend, Walter Whitson Carlen is a great man and he was blessed with a wonderful humorous spirit. It was to become a trip of a lifetime for me.

So, here we were, two country boys from Tennessee arriving at Magnolia Lane to enter the hallowed grounds of the Augusta National Golf Course. The only problem was, we didn’t have a ticket… So, we drove down a street into a residential area that bordered the course, parked the car and jumped over the fence.

Pinkerton men were everywhere! I had never seen so many security people checking tickets. We were ducking around and hiding from them and it was no fun. Just then as we walked past the beautiful clubhouse, a man walked out with all kinds of Press passes. My friend Walt looked at me and said, “the Putnam County Herald needs to cover the Masters. You stay here.” He went in the clubhouse, met Clifford Roberts and came out with all kinds of Press credentials.

We found the Press tent… free food all week for the Press and we parked in the private Press parking lot every day.

What a glorious week for two young golfers from Cookeville. In the final round, Art Wall put on one of the most dazzling displays of golf ever seen at Augusta National Golf Club to win the Masters by one stroke over Cary Middlecoff and Arnold Palmer by two. His final round included five birdies in the last six holes, including the 11-foot putt to win on the final hole. It was so exciting! Walt and I ran along in the gallery and watched in amazement.

After making pars at Nos. 11 and 12, his birdie streak began. He two-putted Nos. 13 and 15 for birdies, and ran in a 20-foot putt at the 14th. After a par at the 16th, he then made another birdie at the 17th from 15 feet.

Coming to the final hole, Art Wall knew he was one ahead of Palmer and tied with Middlecoff. Art’s 8-iron approach at No. 18 left him an 11-foot putt for birdie which he made for the win and $15,000. By the way, the Masters Champ in 2020 got more than two million dollars!

After the tournament, as we walked past the 9th green on our way to our car, Walt said, “We need to have a souvenir from the Masters.” He got under the ropes and took the flag pole from the 9th green! I was walking behind him as he walked briskly toward the Press parking lot. I thought, wow, perhaps he is going to make it! But just then Walt started to run… not a good idea.

By the time I got to the car, Walt was nowhere to be found. Then I heard his voice coming from underneath the car!!! I couldn’t believe it… “Is the coast clear?” Walt came up from under the car and started jamming the flagpole into the new Chevrolet. Perhaps Benton wouldn’t notice the rips in the headliner when we got home.

Like I said, it was a wonderful experience for the two young fellows from Tennessee. For anyone that has ever been to the Masters tournament I’m sure that they too have personal memories that will last a lifetime.

Thank you, Walter Whitson Carlen, for taking me to the Masters in 1959.

Note: Bobby’s daughter, Viola, the 2016 AAU National Champ, has not been able to play golf for the last five years because of injuries.

Bobby Greenwood is a former PGA Tour Player and a member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame.




Former PGA Tour Player

Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame


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Published in: on December 7, 2022 at 8:54 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Reblogged this on BLOG and commented:

    Article: “Memories of a first trip to the Masters”


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