The Other Augusta: Downtown

UNLIKE THE MASTERS, Augusta is largely low rent, a bargain-basement mosaic of strip malls, strip joints and unassuming houses -- all surrounding the world's most exclusive club. One attracts galleries and the globe's best golfers. The other attracts gawkers on the lookout for a topless table dance. But despite being worlds apart, it's still a short walk from Amen Corner to a Bud Light and beef jerky at the corner store.

THE RUNDOWN

Population: 195,182
Males: 95,115
Females: 100,067
Black: 50.4%
White: 44.9%
Hispanic: 2.8%
Native American: 1.5%
Pacific Islander: 1%
Asian: 0.1%

MONEY STUFF

Median household income: $33,441
Per capita income: $23,000
Percent of population below poverty line: 19
Median home price: $109,000; (Nationwide: $208,000)
Cost of renting a home during Masters week: $5,000-$25,000

NAME CALLING

Official nickname: The Garden City
Unofficial nickname: Disgusta, a reference to the odors emanating from nearby paper mills

SOCIAL NOTES

Toughest table to get during tournament week: T-Bonz Steakhouse, 1654 Gordon Hwy. Players' favorite grub joint.
Hottest nightclub: Vue, 469 Highland Ave. Eclectic wine and martini list, plus pulsing house music.
Most popular strip joint: The Discotheque Lounge, 533 Broad St., brings in dancers from Atlanta during Masters week.
Must-try local dish: Peanut Butter Pie at the French Market Grille. Cream cheese and peanut butter in a graham cracker crust, with whipped topping. Cost per slice: $4.95
Cost per slice during Masters week: $5.95

LATE AND GREAT

Most famous (ex-) resident: Late soul singer James Brown
Other notable Augustans: Wrestler Hulk Hogan; singer Amy Grant; pro golfers Vaughn Taylor and Charles Howell III.
Also: Augusta was the childhood home of President Woodrow Wilson.

NUMBERS GAME

Average SAT Scores: Math 506, Verbal 494
Average rainfall per year: 46.4 inches
Sunny days per year: 222
Election tallies from 2004 presidential race: Kerry: 39,262, Bush: 29,764

WORKING THERE

Largest employment sector: Health care and social services, 26,000 jobs
Largest manufacturer: EZ GO Textron, golf-cart maker, 1,277 jobs

MEMBER BREAKDOWN

Number of Augusta National members: 300
Number of club members who live in Augusta: 25

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

5 miles from the Club Entrance: The "Haunted Pillar" is all that remains of a farmer's market that once operated at Fifth and Broad streets. According to local legend, any attempt to destroy or relocate the pillar will result in death.
8 miles from the Club Entrance: Parliament Resort, a gay men's resort. "Every once in a while," says resort receptionist June Braunsberg, "someone will slip over here from the tournament, then slip back without anyone knowing the better."
36 miles from the Club Entrance: The Savannah River Site, a nuclearmaterials processing plant. No longer in operation, it was once used to refine material for nuclear weapons. (Maybe that's how Augusta keeps its greens so green.)
25 miles from the Club Entrance: National headquarters of the Professional Disc Golf Association.

ANNUAL EVENTS

1. Augusta Southern National Drag Boat Race. Held on the Savannah River, it's the world's richest drag-boat competition with more than $120,000 in prizes.
2. Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity. Cowboys and their cutting horses compete in an event that re q u i res them to separate a cow from the herd.
3. The Garden Festival. A three-day celebration of local history and horticulture. Gaze at azaleas without a gallery in your way.
4 . National Barrel Horse Association Championships. Horseback riders race around barrels arranged in a clover.

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