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Georgia on my mind: The good life ’round the Masters

Georgia on my mind: The good life ’round the Masters

OK, so you’ve miraculously secured a Masters badge, or… maybe you haven’t, but your need to be in the same area code as Rory McIlroy or Ricky Fowler has you packing a bag and zipping off to Georgia to see if perhaps you can catch just a whiff of pimento cheese sandwiches in the air of downtown Augusta. Either way, with an estimated 250,000 people converging on Augusta for Masters week — a city with a population of about 200,000 — you’ll need to have a game plan going in. Here are a few tips on places in and around Augusta to stay, play, eat, drink, and even escape from the craziness that is the Masters.

Where to Stay

Hilton Garden Inn Augusta: Just a couple of miles from Augusta National, the Hilton Garden Inn regularly earns solid marks from guests. Amenities include a bar and restaurant, free WiFi, a fitness center and a pool. hilton-garden-inn-augusta Sheraton Augusta Hotel: Two miles from Augusta National, the Sheraton Augusta has an indoor heated pool and an outdoor pool, 24-hour front desk service, free WiFi and a full-service restaurant, Prime 1079 Steakhouse.

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The Partridge Inn: The first Georgia hotel to land on the Historic Hotels of America list, the Partridge boasts an impressive history dating back to 1836. Amenities include a pool, business center and the P.I. Bar and Grill showcasing contemporary Southern cuisine.

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Where to Eat and Drink Frog Hollow Tavern: With an eye on value, Frog Hollow prides itself on being local, local, local using regionally grown ingredients and offering a menu of more than a hundred value-driven wines.

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5 O’Clock Bistro: With a constantly changing and updating menu, 5 O’Clock Bistro patrons are treated to an intimate and eclectic setting featuring always fresh local produce and meats.

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The Soul Bar: Named in honor of the Georgia native and Godfather of Soul, James Brown, the Soul Bar offers a huge beer list and great live music… enough said.

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Where to Play Jones Creek Golf Club: Nestled in the hills surrounding Augusta, the Rees Jones designed and later Tom Fazio-renovated Jones Creek offers a great challenge for golfers of all skill levels. A par 72 par at 6,928 yards, the course is a great value with weekend greens fees.

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Forest Hills Golf Club: With weekend 18-hole rates, this 7,231-yard, par 72 Donald Ross designed and Arnold Palmer Company redesigned course offers a great golf experience less than five miles from Augusta National with rolling tree-lined fairways.

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Applewood Golf Course: Just a few miles south of Augusta and built into an old apple orchard, Applewood gets raves for its beautiful fairways and friendly staff. The 6,268-yard, par 72 is a Chuck Baer-designed course.

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Where to Escape Is the madness of the Masters making you feel like you need to drop off the radar for a bit? If you need to get away from Augusta for a bit, you’re crazy. But, just in case, here are a couple of spots for you to hide out. Wimp! Riverbanks Zoo and Garden: A little more than an hour away in Columbia, S.C., you will find one of America’s top zoos home to more than 2,000 animals. The Botanical Garden has more than 4,200 species of native and exotic plants to see.

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Carowinds Amusement Park: Nearby in Charlotte, N.C., is Carowinds. Known affectionately as the “thrill capital of the Southeast,” Carowinds has it all, including blood pressure-increasing favorites like the Intimidator roller coaster.   So there you have it. Everything you need to eat, sleep, drink and experience all that is Masters week in Augusta. Well, at least it will get you started. And by the way, if you do have an extra Masters badge just lying around, it might make a nice gift for yours truly. Hey, it’s the least you could do, and I might even throw in a pimento cheese sandwich — if you’re lucky. Enjoy!


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