You can point to many different factors that make the Masters so incredibly unique. Most would say the green jacket, Amen Corner, and the fact that it’s the only major that’s played on the same course each year are the biggest reasons as to why it’s an event that stands out year after year. Just the overall amount of tradition involved with the Masters plays a factor in the uniqueness as well, of course.
In terms of the course itself, Augusta National may be the finest piece of land on the planet. You don’t even have to see the course in-person, you can tell that there isn’t one single blade of grass out of place on the entire course while watching the tournament from your couch. And if you have been lucky enough to attend a Masters you actually know that it’s true, there isn’t a blade of grass out of place.
Another iconic feature of Augusta National is its bunkers and how unbelievably white and bright all 44 on the property are.
The bunkers have been filled with white sand for the past 45 years dating back to when Augusta National co-founder Clifford Roberts saw it for the first time in the early 1970s. The sand that goes into the bunkers is called ‘Spruce Pine’ named after the mining district in Western North Carolina where it’s found, about a four-hour drive from Augusta.
What makes this sand so white is that it’s not actually sand, it’s quartz, which interestingly enough is a waste product in the mining process itself. Not only does quartz make the bunkers so white, it’s a preferable material for players as well as it doesn’t allow balls to plug all that often.
The bunkers legitimately look like bowls of sugar, which is how Jim Nantz has described them in the past as well.
“They pop, they stand out,” Nantz told the LA Times. “Visually, they look different than everything else that you see. It just fits the rest of the motif, that it’s fantasyland for the golfer. Everything appears to be perfect.”
There you have it, that’s the story behind the sand traps at Augusta National, which aren’t technically sand traps at all, but ‘quartz traps’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.