Field Notes: Why it helps to know an insider during Masters week

Navigating a trip to a golf major championship can often be as challenging as making it through Amen Corner under par. 

Where to stay? Where to eat? How do I get from Point A to Point B? Should I golf while I’m in town? 

The golf world will be focused on Augusta, Georgia, for the year’s first major.

Legitimate concerns when venturing to an unknown venue like the Masters for the first time and wanting to pull off a dream experience.

That’s why relying on a third-party travel vendor can alleviate many of the unforeseen headaches, but not just any golf packaging company will do. You want a local expert, with inside knowledge of the area, its surrounding towns, transportation tips and restaurant recommendations. 

That person in Augusta, Georgia, would be Glen Bynum of Champion Sports Travel. The 55-year-old Bynum worked for a Dallas-based firm that provided Masters packaging starting in 1997 before he moved to Augusta in 2016 and started his own company, which gives him more than 25 years of experience on the ground. 

“For someone looking to come on their own without a service like I provide can be very challenging,” says Bynum as Masters week approaches. “Things like the hotels as far as knowing the most desirable places versus the less desirable places. I’ve seen people try to do it on their own and they wind up in a hotel that they regret for the rest of the year.” 

Bynum’s company provides just about any service you can imagine, and for any size client. 

“I deal with a son wanting to take his father to the Masters for a bucket list trip, even on a Monday practice round, up to corporations that travel here and bring 30 people or more,” he says. “We set them up with hotels, housing, private houses, catering, transportation, dinner reservations, you know, kind of a turnkey service.”

So when you ask Bynum for his best restaurant recommendation in and around Augusta you can take it to the bank. His best pick is an Irish pub called Sheehan’s, which features such items as pork belly burnt ends, elk chops and — of course — fish and chips. 

“I have personal relationships here,” he says. “There are a lot of people that provide trips to the Masters that are based in different parts of the nation and Canada, but they come down here for one week a year. I actually live here. I just feel I’m a little more knowledgeable than some others that do this.” 

Bynum said many of his customers began booking and planning their trips in May a few weeks after the current tournament ends, and most of his major business winds down in December. 

That doesn’t mean folks aren’t trying to call in favors over the next week to 10 days in order to get on the grounds of Augusta National.

“It’s like a machine gun — one thing after another leading up to the tournament with emails, texts and phone calls from mostly people the live nearby wanting a favor or two.” 

U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark with a glass of Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. | Photo: Matt Hahn


Few sports have as rich a history as golf — both on the course and at the 19th hole. 

For decades, professional golfers — from Gary Player to Greg Norman to Annika Sorenstam to Nick Faldo to Ernie Els to Rickie Fowler — have either started their own alcohol/wine companies or become brand ambassadors. 

There just seems to be that personal connection between alcohol products and golfers that fans enjoy … and gravitate to. 

The latest to pour brand dollars into a star golfer is Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which has tapped defending U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark as its brand ambassador. 

“Blade and Bow believes that the pairing of whiskey and golf is a natural fit, as both represent sophistication, tradition and a commitment to excellence,” said Meghan Redler, Blade and Bow brand manager at Diageo, a major distributor of scotch whiskey. “Golf has long been associated with camaraderie and celebration, much like the experience of enjoying a premium bourbon like Blade and Bow. 

“Beyond the heritage and longtime association between the two, research shows that golfers prefer bourbon over all other spirit categories, and inversely, bourbon drinkers over-index with golf more than any other sport and leisure activity.” (According to a recent Nielsen study)  

Louisville-based Blade and Bow, home to “The Fathers of Bourbon” recently announced The 19th Hole with Blade and Bow, a new campaign led by its partnership with the bourbon-loving Clark. 

The nationwide campaign will provide golfers with tools and tips to improve their game, including expert techniques on the green and the perfect whiskey to refine their celebrations on the 19th hole, with content launching on Clark’s Instagram page. 

To provide golfers of all skill levels with new competencies, Blade and Bow has also partnered with RoboGolfPro, a revolutionary robotic swing training system, to provide an innovative resource that can help golfers take their games to the next level.

Later in 2024, the brand will launch a sweepstakes with Clark, giving one lucky player the chance to join Wyndham for a round of golf and a celebratory Blade and Bow cocktail at the 19th Hole Clubhouse.

“As a respected and admired figure within the golfing community, Wyndham Clark has a dedicated following of enthusiasts who look to him for inspiration, guidance and influence,” Redler says. “His achievements on the course and personal brand resonate with the golf and whiskey communities, making him a compelling partner for the brand. 

“This partnership with Wyndham Clark marks Blade and Bow’s initial venture into the realm of golf partnerships. This collaboration is a significant milestone for the brand as we look to execute additional partnerships and programs in the space, giving golfers a bourbon that suits their needs and aligns with their hobbies and passions.” 

Blade and Bow specially crafted a golf-themed cocktail perfect for celebrating a long round of golf — The Kentucky Caddie:

  • 1.5 oz Blade and Bow Bourbon
  • 2 oz Peach Ice Tea
  • 2 oz Natural Lemonade
  • Garnish with mint sprig and lemon wheel 


While golf season is well underway in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the other two cities represented in the Final Four — Storrs, Connecticut, and West Lafayette, Indiana — are expecting traces of snow this week. 


While some hoops fans will travel west to the desert this week for the NCAA men’s national basketball championship, those staying behind can dream about getting out of the cold and teeing it up or getting the urge to take a destination golf vacation this year to Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Hole No. 15 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Billed as the World’s Finest Golf Destination, the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas — and more than 200 golf locations — will likely be showcased on national TV this Saturday and Monday with aerial photography as the Final Four is staged in nearby Glendale. 

“Scottsdale is just one of those unique destinations where you can do just about anything,” said Brian Oar of “There is a cool downtown, cool restaurants, cool bars and cool places to hang out.” 

Maybe the coolest addition to the golf scene since opening in December is Grass Clippings at Rolling Hills — the first fully lit 18-hole golf course in Arizona. 

“That place has become super, super popular,” Oar said. 

Oar said Scottsdale golf often has to overcome misconceptions by many golfers east of the Mississippi River. 

“Phoenix is a big city and Scottsdale is just a suburb of Phoenix, but in terms of a destination some people think that it can be much smaller than it actually is,” Oar says. “But I can tell you if you schedule wrong in Scottsdale you could be in two hours of traffic.” 

The temperatures this time of year hover around 70 degrees, and the area offers year-round sunny skies, numerous bucket list courses, multiple lodging options and delectable restaurants. 

One location to check out on a trip out to Scottsdale is called We Ko Pa with its 36 holes of golf and gambling. Located on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Indian Reservation, the resort is surrounded by breathtaking 360-degree Sonoran Desert and mountain views.

Off the course, Old Town Scottsdale is situated within nine walkable neighborhoods with a collection of shops, restaurants, art galleries, nightclubs, museums and historic sites from the late 1880s.  

And in March, Caesars Entertainment Corp. launched Caesars Republic Scottsdale, its first non-gaming hotel in the United States. The 11-story glass structure has 265 rooms, two pools, two signature restaurants from Chef Giada De Laurentiis and a modern fitness center. “People need to understand just how great the Scottsdale golf scene is,” Oar says. “There are truly some world-class golf offerings worth exploring.”