At the attic of the plantation-style clubhouse at Augusta National are living quarters reserved for amateurs in the Masters.
The 30-by-40-foot room provides living space for up to five amateurs playing in the tournament, each partitioned-off from the common living room, and featuring an 11-foot, square cupola with windows on each side, the lofty tip reachable only by ladder. There’s one shower and two sinks. Each room has a small dish with toiletries.
Tiger Woods bunked there in ’95 and ’96. Jack Nicklaus stayed there in 1959 and discovered it wasn’t an all-you-can-eat operation.
“Phil Rodgers and I ate two steaks apiece,” says Nicklaus, “and the guy running the dining room says, `That’s enough. From now on out you’re paying $2 for every steak you eat.’ ”
The term ‘Crow’s Nest’ comes from the crow’s nest of a ship, which is its highest look-out point. The four bedrooms are accessible via a back staircase so players don’t have to come through the clubhouse to get to their room. A steep and narrow set of stairs on the third floor in a small hallway between the Champions Locker Room and Dining Room also provides access to the amateur lodgings.
During Phil Mickelson’s stay, he slipped down the back staircase at night to steal a look at the champions locker room.
The common area has green carpet, chairs, a couch, a card table, a small TV and Wifi. The walls are decorated with various scenes from past Masters, including a framed caricature of Clifford Roberts, one of the club’s founding fathers and the Masters.
The accommodations are spartan but it is an honor bestowed to the few, the proud. Would pros want to stay there if they could? Here are their answers.
“Yeah, for sure. I’m jealous of the camaraderie that those amateurs who’ve stayed there have.”
“I did. The insulation wasn’t that good between the rooms, but it was awesome.”
“Yes. It’s such a cool thing for the amateur champions and something I wish I could’ve done. I’ve never been up there to see it but I’d love to go up there sometime.”
“No. It’s kind of small. I’ve been in there and it felt a little claustrophobic. I know the history of it but it’s good enough for me to have been in it.”
“It was pretty cool apart from the light being on all night.”
“Yeah, I would like to experience that, why not.”
“Yes. I’ve never been up there. If you got the opportunity as an amateur you ought to.”
“Yes. It would be an honor. I hear it’s not that glamorous but to be able to say I spent a night there would be pretty special.”
“No. I like my space. I don’t want to stink up the room, and I tend to stink at night.”
“No, too small. Plus I get to sleep in my own bed at home that week.”
“For sure. I got to stay there twice (as U.S. Amateur champ) and spent six-seven nights there. Still love the concept, the idea of it, still feel like I’m a college kid and I’d do it again.”
“No. It’s something that you have to earn; it’s really designed for an amateur and I’m past that. It’s sacred for a reason.”
“If I could go back and start my career over again, that would be great.”
“I’m not sure I would really want to stay in the Crow’s Nest at this point in my life. I’d rather see the past champions be allowed to bring their friends once a year to play than spend the night on their property.”
“Maybe one night to check it out.”
“No, I would’ve 10 years ago. I’m too much of a snob now.”
“Now? Yeah, you feel like you’d have to do it if you get a chance.”
“Probably not. Too much noise from what I’ve heard, and I like my space.”