The Masters may be famous for its $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches and $3 beers but it also serves up a far more luxurious perk for deep-pocketed patrons.
It's called Berckmans Place, the ultimate VIP hospitality "tent" that opened off Augusta National's 5th fairway in 2013. Since then Berckmans has hosted everyone from the super-rich to the corporate elite to (very, very lucky) average Joes who find a way to score admission. The reported cost of admission: $6,000 for a weekly badge.
Augusta member and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been known to greet guests at the door, and inside there are dishes from about a half dozen top-of-the-line restaurants to choose from - all included with your badge. The place is covered in Masters and ANGC memorabilia, and outside is a huge patio and replica putting greens of the 7th, 14th and 16th holes. (In 2013 Sports Illustrated's Gary Van Sickle spoke to one lucky patron who scored a ticket, and he raved about the ultimate VIP experience.)
But is Berckmans Place as good as advertised? Um ... yes, it would appear that way. As one lucky patron told SI, "I had no intention of staying there more than 10 minutes. I got there at 8:30 and stayed through lunch. I had to walk through it again on my way out, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming."
And just check out the Facebook reviews:
"I love this place. Great experience. I love the very cool merchandise on sale."
"Everything was pristine from the grounds to the restaurants, to the restrooms! The service was top notch. Great experience."
"Awesome!! A great experience! A great privilege to have been able to enjoy my trip to the Masters and be able to spend time at Berckman's Place!!"
"Over the top! Loved every minute of our time spent there. Berckmans Place is a special extra, beyond belief! The Masters is the greatest sporting event my husband and I have been privileged to attend. Now experiencing Masters Withdrawal.'"
Berckmans Place receives a perfect 5.0 review on Facebook (albeit from just 12 reviews), which tops the average rating for Augusta National itself (4.8)! To be fair, ANGC has 1,000-plus more reviews, but perhaps that speaks even more to the exclusivity of the most exclusive Masters hangout.
"Even at six grand, it's worth the price of admission," said the aforementioned patron. "I keep saying it, but the only word for this place is unbelievable."