Masterful Observations: Keychain, $79 ... profit, priceless
The downpour that soaked Augusta National and briefly interrupted Saturday's third round at the Masters was a bummer to many. It certainly wasn't a bummer to the course's bottom line.
The rain gave the golf shop a captive audience for about an hour; members of that audience had many credit cards and, apparently, few spending restrictions. It was difficult to take a step without bumping into another shopper willing to buy anything and everything in sight.
By my very unofficial eyeball survey, approximately 51.7 percent of those in the store during the storm bought an umbrella -- for the bargain price of $45.
The other day, I raved about the inexpensive food and beverages at the tournament, including $2 beer, $1.50 sandwiches and soda for a buck. Well, the fine folks at Augusta National make up for it with the "dry goods" they sell.
Check out these items -- each, of course, prominently sporting the Masters logo ...
From the Outrageous Luxury Collection:
Four crystal wine glasses, $360; four crystal tumblers, $320; gold pendant, $140; ceramic platter, $95; keychain, $79.
"Wow!" I said to the salesperson behind the glass case. "What makes this or any keychain worth 79 bucks?"
"It's made of rhodium and alligator," she said, very politely and with a very adorable Georgia accent.
"And is that really a checkbook cover for 88 bucks?" I asked. "Is it made out of cougar or something?"
"It's just leather," she said, giggling. "But that's a great price for a nice leather wallet."
"If you say so," I said. "But I'd have to empty my wallet to buy it."
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah ... shopping.
From the Silly Stuff Collection:
Apron/potholder/oven mitt set, $25; tiny stuffed bear wearing Masters gear, $11; goofy stuffed golf-ball-looking thing wearing a Masters cap, $11; playing cards (2 decks), $12; mouse pad, $10; candle (burn it and you no longer have a souvenir), $20.
From the Golfers Love Toys Collection:
Putter cover, $14; putter grip, $10; putting cup, $19; towel, $17; driver cover, $17; fairway wood cover, $16; valuables pouch, $25; shoe bag, $29; Titleist NXT Extremes (sleeve of 3), $11; set of four ball markers, $16; single 2008 Masters ball marker, $6; hat clip with magnetic ball marker, $11; divot repair set with three ball markers, $22. (We really love our ball markers.)
From the You Never Can Have Enough Polo Shirts Collection:
Masters brand line, $59 solid/$69 fancy (with stripes); Amen Corner line, $69/$79; Clubhouse Collection line, $109/$119; Bobby Jones signature line, $130/$149. (It's all about the thread count, folks.)
From the Other Stuff for Fashionable Hackers Collection:
Basic pullover, $69; long-sleeve mock turtleneck shirt, $75; ladies' belt, $30; ladies' straw hat, $46; silk tie, $69; infant hat, $15; baby bib, $15.
Naturally, I couldn't leave without scoring a few souvenirs from my first Masters.
Somehow resisting everything made of rhodium and alligator, I went with two polos from the Amen Corner line (one orange with thin black striping, $79; one dark green, $69), a black cap inscribed: "Masters 2008" ($23), and a ball marker ($6). Bottom line, including tax: $189.39.
Coincidentally, my trip expense voucher just might have a line reading: Dinner with Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson, $189.39.
Mike Nadel (firstname.lastname@example.org) never before had spent more than $39.95 for a golf shirt.