Service Advantage: Augusta National

The annual ritual of spring is back in its rightful place on the April calendar – the Masters Tournament.

Recently, we had the opportunity to walk all 18 holes at Augusta National, taking in the sights, the sounds, and the Southern hospitality.

At HPR we look at things through a different lens – from the perspective of event planners and, even more relevant, from a background steeped in hospitality. Our work with the top resort and customer-centric brands in the world—The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Wynn Las Vegas, Pebble Beach, and yes, even Disney—has taught us the incalculable value of customer service.

When it comes to service, put Augusta National Golf Club in the top tier with those iconic hospitality brands.

In the words of Robert Tyre Jones, printed prominently in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur program, “In golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play.”

Mr. Jones’s words come to life in every corner of the club. There are dozens of examples, but here are five key takeaways:

  • You can’t overdo service. Friendly greetings, gracious smiles, and genuine warmth were in evidence from the moment we pulled into the parking lot to the time we exited the North Gate.
  • Ease of access. From directional signage to the pimento cheese sandwich rack, navigating Augusta National (especially with limited gallery) was a pleasure.
  • Attention to detail—everywhere. The pine straw is placed just so, the flower beds precisely edged, the cut of the tees, roll of the greens, even camouflage wrapping the legs of the camera tripods. Nothing was overlooked.
  • Brand protection. The one and only place to purchase the iconic Masters logo is in the on-site golf shop. And trust us, the retail selection is above and beyond the ordinary. Strangely, the most coveted item this year seems to be is the Masters Patron Gnome (a limited edition statue with an Augusta National straw hat, a polo filled with Masters badges from years’ past, a pimento cheese sandwich, and his very own folding chair), limited to one per transaction.
  • Philanthropy. In 2011, Masters Tournament Foundation was formed to annually invest in development programs for the game of golf worldwide. And invest it has: The First Tee; Latin America Amateur Championship; Drive, Chip and Putt; Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship; the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. None would exist without the club’s generous backing.

Say what you will about Augusta National, it knows its audience and exceeds their expectations, year after year. That’s the epitome of customer service.