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|Learn about the legends at Augusta's Golf Hall of Fame. (Tim McDonald/WorldGolf.com)|
Heading to Augusta, Ga., for The Masters? There's more to do than watch Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson vie for another green jacket. WorldGolf.com has got your quick guide to the best of Augusta golf, nightlife and more.
If you'll be there for The Masters too, here's some advice: There's only so much time you can spend watching Tiger Woods and the pretenders hit 300-yard drives on the practice range. And you might just get tired of those cheese sandwiches on white bread.
Augusta isn't exactly New York City, but there are things to do besides be a groupie to golf's stars. Here's your non-Masters guide to Augusta.
So you've watched the pros on the driving range and thought to yourself, This game looks easy! Why am I making it so hard? You've brought your clubs, but Augusta National is a little busy right now, so where do you go?
There are plenty of good options. Just be advised that Augusta-area golf clubs jack their rates up during Masters week. Big surprise, eh?
Goshen Plantation Country Club: This might be the best bargain in the area. Green fees, normally in the $29-$39 range, shoot up "only" to $100 during Masters week. And Goshen has the second-best greens in Augusta.
Mt. Vintage: The greens at this semi-private club are rather difficult, especially for a first-timer, but everything else about the course is playable. Very nice elevation changes.
The River Golf Club: Situated on an abandoned railroad yard and former illegal dump, the River sits a 5-iron over the Savannah in North Augusta, S.C. Quite a few locals call this their favorite course.
The superstars have to eat and drink just like you and me, right? And with Augusta being a relatively small place, it's likely you will run into one or two in normal, human situations.
One good bet is to crawl to the sports bars on Washington Road near Augusta National. Avoid the chains, like Hooters, and be aware that the traffic on Washington gets heavy.
The Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon pulls in a heavy corporate clientele and some celebs occasionally tag along. Robbie's Sports Bar, the Wild Thing Café and the Last Call nightclub are all possibilities. For restaurants, try the Bistro 491 or French Market.
Golfing and fishing go hand in hand, and the weather should be right, so if you bring along your tackle, you can have a great time in Augusta.
Strom Thurmond Lake is spread out over 70,000 acres and holds stripers, bass, bream and catfish. It's one of the most popular lakes in the state because of its dense fish population. I myself caught a large bass there, not to brag or nothing.
The Savannah River also has big stripers.
You'll hear about First Fridays fast in Augusta. It's an informal event and, as the name suggests, involves the first Friday of every month, which in this case is April 6, after the second round of the tournament.
Revelers crowd the downtown bars and restaurants. Find a parking place and just wander around; you'll run into beer eventually.
Augusta has some fine attractions that are worth your time, starting with the two-tiered Riverwalk that meanders along the Savannah downtown.
The Golf Hall of Fame and Botanical Gardens is interesting, even for non-golfers. Other notable attractions include the Morris Museum, the Ezekiel Harris House Museum, Augusta Canal National Heritage Area and Woodrow Wilson's childhood home on Seventh Street.
April 4, 2007
Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
The Golf Advisor Top 50 courses in the U.S., compiled by ratings and reviews from golfers, were announced on Golf Channel's Morning Drive.
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