Rare Augusta National photos offer sneak peek of how Masters in October would look

March 24, 2020
Augusta National october picture

Jordan Spieth made his first-ever trip to Augusta National in October 2013. He admitted he couldn’t wipe a smile off his face the entire time. The 20-year-old slept in a cabin on-site, ate at the clubhouse, toured the locker rooms and played 27 holes.

“Until you see it in person, you don’t really get a true grasp of it,” he said.

One thing is clear: Many people find Augusta National to be a special place even when the azaleas aren’t in full bloom. And in the 10 days since golf postponed its biggest tournament, speculation has run wild about running the Masters in the fall.

We’ve always known that golf goes on at Augusta in the fall. The club traditionally opens for the season in mid-October, once the overseed has properly taken. Scott Michaux has written an excellent piece for GOLF.com on how the course might play differently if held in October — give that a read here.

Some notable moments have taken place in the waning months, too: On Nov. 12, 1965, former president Dwight Eisenhower was at Augusta when he suffered what the New York Times called “a definite heart attack.” On October 23, 1983, Ronald Reagan was playing at Augusta when a gunman took the pro shop hostage, demanding an audience with the president. The photo below captures the dramatic events of the day.

Once news of the pro shop hostage standoff spread, heavily armed Secret Service agents surrounded President Reagan’s limousine.
Ronald Reagan Library

Still, what that photo doesn’t capture is the one thing piquing the curiosity of golf nuts everywhere: what would Augusta look like for a fall Masters? There aren’t many pictures that exist showing off the splendor of Georgia’s best golf course in full autumn colors — but there are some. So we dived into the Augusta archives searching for clues, and stumbled on the photos below. Most of them are faded, and most are undated, ranging from the 50s to the 90s, but they give a general sense of the colors of the course.

Should Augusta actually be able to commit to a fall tournament date, however, we could expect things to be somewhat dialed up (even the springtime look has been significantly amplified in the HDTV Era). I’d expect the oranges to get more orange. The reds to get more red. And how ‘bout some fall flowers?! Chrysanthemums. Aster. Marigolds?! We’re getting distinctly outside my area of expertise, so I won’t even get to the potential changes in birdsong …

Anyways, on to the pictures. That’s what you came here for, I’m guessing.

Augusta National in the fall? Yes please.
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Our tour of Amen Corner begins with a look at the approach shot from the leafy left side of No. 11
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Amen Corner, in shades of green — and a little orange!
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That pond is beautiful — and threatening — any time of year.
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Could we see some chrysanthemums planted behind No. 12 at Augusta National this fall?
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