A Trip Down Magnolia Lane: Masters Merchandise Through the Years
For many people around the world, The Masters tournament is an annual rite of spring, a mecca of golf, and appointment viewing. Masters fanatics are among us, and they appreciate every detail of this annual gathering of friends.
Ask anyone who’s been, and there’s a good chance that in addition to goodies from the Masters merchandise tent, they’ll also have their badge, spectator guide, and probably more than one plastic cup from that year’s tournament. I’ve had the pleasure of attending twice, and brought back everything I could get my hands on.
The Masters merchandise tent is part of the experience, and for those fortunate enough to walk the hallowed grounds it brings back great memories. But if your lottery application hasn’t hit yet, don’t despair; you can still get your hands on Masters keepsakes from several online retailers including our own site, Great Golf Memories*.
For this blog we thought it would be fun to take a look at how Masters merchandise has evolved with the fashion trends of the day, so we spent (probably too many) hours searching the web for nostalgia-inspiring dry goods that Masters fans of any age will appreciate.
The Green Jacket Itself
No article about Masters merch would be complete without mention of the iconic Green Jacket, awarded every year to the winner since the tradition began in 1949. But good luck finding one of these; per tradition, the winner may keep his jacket in his personal wardrobe for one year after his championship, at which point he is obliged to return it to Augusta National Golf Club for safekeeping.
Sure, you can buy a Masters-themed green jacket, but if you want THE Green Jacket, better work on that high draw.
Back in the day, a “performance polo” was 100% cotton with a high collar to keep the sun off your neck and a breast pocket to hold your Lucky Strikes. Fast forward a few decades and “performance” means micro fiber technology to wick away sweat and cool your body in the hottest weather. The Masters tech collection is a great example of modern performance with its sleek and attractive profile, but thanks to brands like Criquet we’re seeing a return of the classic four-button, high-collar designs that made your dad a country club hero.
Maybe it’s just too recent, but the designs of the late 90s and early aughts just don’t do it for me. The nadir had to be the infamous shirts worn by the 1999 US Ryder Cup Team (fun fact: an unworn original version- one of only 99 made- sold at auction for nearly $4,000 in August of 2018). These shirts harken back to the designs your big brother would’ve worn with his braided belt and Abercrombie and Fitch cargo shorts.
Lately, we’ve seen t-shirts take on more real estate in the Masters gift shop. There’s officially licensed shirts commemorating the course and year of competition, but if you look hard enough you can find some unique designs. We make no claims as to whether they’ve all been appropriately licensed or not, but this one is too cool not to share!
Masters Hats and Visors
A hat is just a hat, right? Not to aficionados. From baseball caps to trucker hats and visors, head wear has evolved right along with the times, and vintage styles are currently enjoying their heyday. Like this 80s style hat that you can’t find anywhere in stores, because it’s only given out to the “Litter Boys” that keep the grounds clean from the first practice round through the back nine on Sunday. Would you pay $200 for this hat? Someone did, at auction, and honestly I’m sad it wasn’t me.
Visors are another good demonstration of changing styles, like this awesome women’s visor. This is exactly what your golfing mom would’ve worn for the 1987 Mixed Invitational.
The high profile of the “tour visor” is a popular choice for a college football tailgate and/or pig roast. Head down to Athens during the second weekend of April and you’ll see more than a few of these around town. “Frat wings” optional (but they help complete the look).
Masters Sweaters and Pullovers
Back in the 1970s a sweater was probably a v-neck or maybe a cardigan, but almost definitely worn over a turtleneck. In the 1980s, the fit was wide enough to keep a moving box warm. Today’s cuts are definitely trimmer, but we don’t know what decade (or planet?) this doozy comes from.
Fashion may change, but some things never go out of style. Like this half zip performance pullover, a timeless classic that will keep you looking good from the first tee through the 19th hole.
Masters merchandise isn’t limited to clothing and apparel; you can get some pretty neat gifts for the golf nut in your life if you know where to look. If I had a million dollars, Green Jacket Auctions is where I’d start. Featuring a veritable treasure trove of classic collectibles and hard to find, time-capsule worthy gems, the folks at Green Jacket Auctions specialize in selling off big ticket antiques and collectibles like this set of playing cards.
You can tell these are old just by looking at them. Check out that patina! This particular set had a starting bid of $25 and sold for $49 in April 2019. I really love that throughout the years, despite changes all around (including to the game of golf itself), the iconic Masters logo has stayed exactly the same. Why mess with something so perfect?
If you don’t have a million dollars for auction-worthy items, that makes two of us. But don’t worry, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the Masters is the reasonably priced food and libations offered on the grounds. If you can score a ticket, you may enjoy the best pimento cheese sandwich you’ll ever eat and wash it down with ice cold beer for less than $5. But don’t throw that cup away – it’s a great thing to keep and take home with you. As I write this, I’m looking at one I brought home from my trip to the 2007 Masters. I don’t think they make them like this anymore, with a picture of one of the finest 18 holes of golf ever laid out. Mine features the 6th hole, a short par three known as Juniper.
Whether you’ve been to many Masters or none, we hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down Magnolia Lane. If you are lucky enough to attend The Masters and have merchandise on your mind, here’s one tip: get there early, and be ready to spend. And if you’ve got a feeling that your year’s champion may be a notable, that can only increase the value of your memorabilia (should Green Jacket Auctions ever come calling in the years ahead).
They don’t do layaway, but they do take credit cards. Just sayin’.
*Great Golf Memories is not affiliated with Augusta National or the Masters Golf Tournament. All Masters Tournament products are authentic and are purchased at the tournament. Masters and Augusta National are trademark properties of Augusta National Inc.