Augusta, Georgia is a little town of less than 200,000 people.
But every second Sunday of April, it’s the center of the sports world thanks to the Masters tournament, held at Augusta National Golf Club, one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world.
I was in Augusta for Tuesday practice round with a friend who grew up in town. We walked around with one of his friends who grew up in the area, and still lives there.
As we walked the grounds, we were bumping into all sorts of people that live in Augusta. Some were working at the tournament, some were just watching the practice rounds. (The people on the grounds of the Masters were unbelievably friendly and nice, by the way.)
The tournament provides a jolt, once a year, to the economy of Augusta.
There’s an influx of people to see the tournament, but also big corporations who take clients to the event. As a result, people who live in Augusta can rent their homes for week.
I was told a house gets $US20,000-$40,000 a week for a rental. The money is not taxed. People call it the Masters-rule that there’s no taxation on it. The people in Augusta use that money to buy vacation homes, or to pay off the mortgage on their own places.
One of my friends said that he always thinks to himself when someone wins the Masters, they should just buy a house in Augusta. Winning the Masters means a lifetime invitation to the tournament, so paying $US300,000 for a home is a good investment since the winner will be back for the next 30+ years.
I asked my friends if there was any resentment towards the tournament. They said occasionally people are annoyed by Augusta National’s appetite for property. (It’s buying all the land around the course, and mostly levelling whatever is there.) But for the most part, it’s a great deal for the town.
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