Image: Wiki CommonsIt’s no wonder the tagline of The Masters is “a tournament unlike any other.” It is quite literally, a tournament unlike any other. Sure, there is the green jacket, the iconic pink azaleas, and the white and green caddy jumpsuits, but what makes The Masters so unique goes beyond simple aesthetics.The Masters is one of golf’s four major tournaments steeped in tradition and lore. It’s where legends are born and revered, dreams are made and destroyed. It’s a golfer’s Mecca – a must-make pilgrimage that once taken will keep you longing to return.History and Tradition of The MastersAugusta National was carved out of land that housed a flower nursery and opened in 1933. It was founded by legendary golfer Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts. Jones and British course designer Alister MacKenzie created the iconic 7,435-yard, par 72 course. The year after it opened it hosted its inaugural tournament, the Augusta National Invitational Tournament.The name of the tournament changed to The Masters in 1939, after Roberts convinced Jones to make the switch. While the first The Masters tournament was held in March, all subsequent tournaments have been played during the first full week in April.In the 81-year history of The Masters there have been countless legendary moments – enough to write an entire book, let alone a pithy article. There have been exciting sudden-death playoffs (like the 1979 Zoeller, Watson and Sneed playoff), incredible drives, chips, and putts (like Tiger’s 2005 “in your life” chip-in), not to mention the tearful interviews (like Dustin Johnson’s uncharacteristic 2020 interview) and crazy celebrations (Phil’s exuberant but less than impressive leap in 2004). It’s these iconic moments that have come to define The Masters and helped shaped the history of golf.While membership to Augusta National may be difficult to obtain, perhaps one of the reasons The Masters is on any golfer’s bucket list is because attending the tournament seems distantly attainable. Tickets aren’t particularly expensive, they’re just difficult to come by. Ask anyone who’s been on the waiting list. (Not that you can even get on the waiting list now. It closed in 2000.) However, every year there is a relatively small number of single-day tickets that are distributed via lottery. The lottery is open to anyone giving you just enough hope that it could be you.But each of golf’s major tournaments have seen their share of epic moments. They’ve all been played for decades. And while attendance at The Masters is more elusive than the others, that’s not the only reason it’s legendary. The elevation of The Masters to the major Major comes from the collection of oddities, quirks, and rules unique to this course and this tournament. The Masters Plays By Their Own RulesAugusta National has its own traditions and with that comes their own rules. This includes the patrons, members, and even the journalists covering the annual event. Perhaps one of the more famous stories was when CBS Sportscaster Gary McCord learned this the hard way. His comment about the 17th green at Augusta National crossed the line, so 1994 was the final round of The Masters he covered. Augusta National is one of the only public places to still have payphones (often with long lines of patrons waiting to use them). It’s because it’s also one of the only places where cell phones are forbidden.Notice how we referred to those attending the event as patrons? Yes, that’s a rule too. At The Masters, people attending the event must be referred to as patrons.While patrons can come from all walks of life, they cannot dare to wear their hats backwards as this is also forbidden – as is sitting on the grass. Even Masters winners have some rules to abide by. They must return their green jacket after the first year. They can only wear in again at Augusta National.For a natural wonder, there is plenty that is unnatural at Augusta National. First, you’ll find no deer, rodents, or other animals. It’s likely how they keep the azaleas and grass so impeccable, but stories abound about how they manage to keep an outdoor golf course animal free. We chalk it up to pure Masters magic.There are also rumors that even the sound of birds chirping may be artificial. Part magic or part manufactured mystery?Those pristine white sand bunkers are not in fact made from fairy dust. They’re filled with mining waste. This only amplifies the unreal look of The Masters and provides just enough difference from traditional sand to keep the tournament exciting. It’s not just the bunkers that are primed to be aesthetically pleasing, Golf Digest tested the water in the lakes in 1996 and found food dye. (But it’s important to note they are also filled with fish.)If You Get To Go To Augusta…Whether you have tickets or just want to be in the area and breath in air surrounding the storied course, a trip to Augusta is a golfer’s dream.While you can’t play Augusta National (without being a Member, qualifying for the The Masters, or a dream invite from a Member), there are several surrounding courses to play that are worth the trip. There is West Lake Country Club designed by Ellis Maples, The River Golf Club designed by Jim Fazio, and a little further afield (about 70 minutes), Reynolds Lake Oconee. Even further afield (about 3 hours you can be at Kiawah Island.However, with deep ties to Augusta National and The Masters Tournament, Palmetto Golf Club is a must play during Masters week. It’s about 20 miles northeast of Augusta and only open to the public during this first full week in April.Founded in 1892, Palmetto is one of the oldest clubs in America. It’s the course where Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie would meet in the early 1930s to discuss their ideas for a new course in Augusta. After Augusta National was built, Palmetto Golf Club got a refresh with many of Augusta’s leftover materials. It also caught the eye of Augusta National in the early years.Although it has seen its share of updates – including some at the hands of Rees Jones and Gil Hanse – the look and feel of the club haven’t changed much from the 1930s. Even the clubhouse, designed by Stanford White who also did Shinnecock Hills, maintains a cozy, quaint feel.The yardage tops out at about 6,700, making it a deceptively difficult course. The fairways are wide, but the slippery greens can be especially complex. In order to score well, your driving, irons, and chipping all have to be sharp. It’s a course that will demand you use every club in your bag.Ben Hogan named three Palmetto Golf Club holes among his favorite 18 holes of all-time (5, 7, and 13). He’s not the only pro to gush about Palmetto. Bobby Jones once said, “No. 7 at Palmetto is the best metal par 3 I ever played.” In addition to Hogan and Jones, Sam Snead, Ben Crenshaw, Byron Nelson, and other golf titans have walked the hallowed greens at Palmetto Golf Club.If imitation is in fact the sincerest form of flattery, then Augusta National Golf Course has been flattered again and again. Several courses have even gone so far as to attempt to replicate Amen corner (the famed 11th, 12th, and 13th holes at Augusta where more than a few dreams of a green jacket have been crushed). But no matter how close another course comes, you simply cannot compare Augusta National and The Masters to any other course or tournament.That’s exactly why we love it. Inspired by Augusta? Discover the Magnolia Lane Candle from Wicks Candle Co.