Masters drives golf fans to play at local courses

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Local restaurants always see a big boost in business during Masters Week.

It's also a big week for golf courses in the area.

Folks we spoke to Wednesday say that whether you are a golf fan or not, it's hard to fight the urge to play the game when you're in town during the Masters.

You can imagine the impact that has on local courses.

If there's one side effect of watching golf during master's week, it's likely the urge to play the game yourself.

"Oh yeah, once you get out there, then you want to play it," says avid golfer Steve Johnson.

"Masters Week is particularly busy for us," says Chris Verdery, who runs the River Golf Club in North Augusta. "We do have a lot of people come in from out of town and play."

He says that during the big week there's always a big itch to pitch and putt, as hundreds of golfers look for a good course to play some good golf.

"I think all the courses are busy," Verdery says. "We have an excellent course. It's very popular with repeat customers and the word gets around. A lot of the people that fly in are avid golfers and they want to play the best courses they can."

And on the greens in the Garden City, you'll also find people like Donna Painter.

Painter isn't going to the tournament...but just being around the Masters has her wanting to improve her game. That's why she and others were out at a driving range Wednesday getting private lessons from golf professional Wayne Ackerson.

"This is our busiest time of the year," Ackerson says. "Masters Week kicks off the spring for us. We're primarily pretty booked solid most of the days during Masters Week."

These courses really get crowded in the afternoon, as many Masters patrons spend the earlier part of their day at the National...and then hand over their badges to others before heading out to play themselves.