Monthly Archives: March 2018

Tournament Tips & Landmarks

Guide to The Masters

Course LandmarksMagnolia Lane – tree-lined main entrance to Augusta National

Founders Circle – two plaques honoring founding members Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones at the base of the flagpole in front of the clubhouse

Crow’s Nest – a cupola atop the clubhouse that provides tournament housing for amateur players 

Oak-TreeBig Oak Tree – a gathering spot for media interviews behind the clubhouse

Rae’s Creek between the 11th and 12th greens 

Hogan Bridge at No. 12 green 

Nelson Bridge at No. 13 tee

Sarazen Bridge at No. 15 green

3.-Landmark--Arnold-Palmer-Plaque-behind-No.-16-teeArnold Palmer Plaque behind No. 16 tee 

Jack Nicklaus Plaque between Nos. 16 and 17

Record Fountain to the left of No. 17 green

Augusta National Golf Club cabins

Ike’s Pond – a spring-fed, 3-acre pond on the Par-3 Course behind Eisenhower Cabin

Par 3 Fountain – adjacent to No. 1 tee on Par 3 course; includes list of Par 3 Contest winners 

 

Prohibited Items
• Cell phones/cellular-capable devices
• Beepers
• Electronic devices/tablets
• Any device capable of transmitting video
• Backpacks, bags and purses larger than 10” x 10” x 12” (in its natural state)
• Cameras on tournament days*
• Weapons of any kind (regardless of permit)
• Radios/TVs/noise- or music-producing devices
• Two-way or other talk radios
• Folding armchairs/rigid type chairs
• Flags/banners/signs
• Strollers
• Food/beverages/coolers
• Golf shoes with metal spikes
• Ladders/periscopes/selfie sticks

 *Cameras (still photography/personal use only) are allowed at practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Violation of these policies will subject the ticket holder to removal from the grounds and the ticket purchaser to the permanent loss of credentials.

4.-Amenities--Golf-ShopTournament Amenities:

  • Automated teller machines
  • Concession stands
  • First aid stations
  • Golf shops*
  • Information centers
  • Lost and found
  • Merchandise shipping/check stands
  • Message center
  • Pairing sheets with course map and tee times
  • Parking
  • Picnic areas
  • Patron photos (tournament days only)
  • Restrooms
  • Scoring information
  • Spectator guides
  • Telephones
  • Water fountains

* The main golf shop near the practice area has expanded this year.

Autograph Policy
Autograph seeking is only allowed around the practice range and on the Par 3 course during the Par 3 Contest. A No Autograph Policy will be enforced on the golf course for practice and tournament days.

Re-Entry Policy
Patron tickets will be limited to a total of three entries per day. 

Parking
Free Masters parking is available at Augusta National Golf Club on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Sentimental Journey

Guide to The Masters

1.-Winner-2017-Sergio-GarciaFrom the absence of Arnold Palmer for the first time in 62 years to a major victory for Sergio Garcia at long last, the 2017 Masters Tournament tugged at heartstrings from start to finish 

At the 2017 Masters Tournament, the spirit of winners past loomed large over the competition. The opening round began with a poignant tribute to Arnold Palmer, who died in September 2016, at the honorary starters ceremony, and the final round fell on what would have been the 60th birthday of Spain’s Seve Ballesteros, the two-time Masters champion who died in 2011. The significance of that date was lost on no one, especially since the final round began with Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia in a tie for the lead and in prime position to win his first major title. 

2.-Justin-RoseWhen he was growing up, Garcia said, he idolized Ballesteros and another two-time Masters winner from Spain, José Maria Olazabal.

“I don’t even know how much it would mean to be able to join both of my idols as a Masters winner,” he said after the third round. 

Just 24 hours and an extra hole later, however, he found out. Garcia, whose career sometimes had been plagued by petulance and self-doubt, bested Justin Rose of England on the first hole of a sudden death playoff for the victory.

He said he thought about Ballesteros several times during the final round. “I’m sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots and some of those putts,” Garcia said. 

4.-Par-3-ContestThe Elements and Emotion
While it took an extra hole to decide the Masters on Sunday, rainy weather made it difficult for players to get in practice holes at the beginning of the week. The Monday practice round was suspended from noon until 1:45 p.m. A tornado watch suspended play for the day about 45 minutes later. Sunshine and balmy temperatures prevailed on Tuesday, but inclement weather returned Wednesday.

A siren sounded about 10 a.m. to clear the golf course because of approaching storms, and play was suspended for about two-and-a-half hours. The popular Par 3 Contest got a late start at 12:30 p.m. The reprieve was short-lived, however, as inclement weather closed the golf course again about an hour later for the remainder of the day. 

6.-UmbrellasEven though six threesomes teed off on the nine-hole course, the Par 3 ultimately was canceled for the first time in its 57-year history. No winner was declared. And with no winner, there was no jinx. A golfer has never won the Par 3 and the Masters in the same year.

Wednesday morning, Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters, remembered Palmer, a four-time green jacket winner, during his annual remarks.

“For the first time in over 60 years, our sport is without its preeminent hero – a man whose greatness as a player and a champion was exceeded only by his qualities as a man. Arnold Palmer let us all into his life, not from the distance that is typically maintained between a superstar and a fan, but into his life close-up, so that we could literally push him to greatness and regale in his accomplishments as though they were our own,” he said.

Payne said the traditional honorary starters ceremony, where Palmer served as an honorary starter from 2007 through 2016, would be a time for “an emotional good-bye, but at the same time, an even more powerful thank you to the man we dearly love.”

ARNIE'S-ARMY-PICCapitalizing on Experience
On Thursday morning, Payne escorted Palmer’s wife, Kit, to the first tee and draped the golfer’s green jacket over an empty white chair. As he spoke to the throng of patrons surrounding the first tee for the ceremony, honorary starters Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus brushed back tears.

“Arnold Palmer was my friend. He was your friend,” the chairman said. “Despite all of his fame and fortune, he always had time for all of us.”

He concluded his remarks by asking for a moment of silence to remember Palmer before calling on Player to hit the first tee shot. Nicklaus followed, lifting his hat and looking skyward before striking his ball.

Augusta National also gave a button that read, “I am a Member of Arnie’s Army,” to every patron on the grounds for the opening round.

Other fan favorites were missing in action from the 81st Masters as well. Tiger Woods had announced the Friday before the tournament that health reasons would prevent him from competing for the third time in four years, and Dustin Johnson withdrew Thursday afternoon.

Johnson, who was ranked number one in the world at the time and already had three consecutive PGA tour victories in 2017, injured his back when he slipped and fell at his rental house Wednesday afternoon. Hitting balls on the range just before his tee time, he realized he was unable to play. “I couldn’t make a good backswing,” Johnson said. “Every time right at impact, it would just catch.”

Weather continued to be a factor when the tournament got underway. The 93 players left in the field after Johnson’s withdrawal battled harsh conditions all day in cool temperatures and blustery winds with 30- to 40-mph gusts. At the end of the first round, Charley Hoffman sat atop the leaderboard with a four-shot lead. He carded a 65 on a day that the average score was 74.978.

Garcia had 17 pars and a birdie on No. 8 to shoot 1-under-par 71 on Thursday, finishing six shots behind Hoffman in an eight-way tie for fourth place. “It’s very difficult when it’s this gusty. It’s hard to figure out the right clubs, and you need to get a few breaks,” he said after his bogey-free round.

The cold and wind continued on Friday, before dying down in the afternoon. Garcia got off to a hot start, birdieing the first three holes. He had six birdies and three bogies in the second round to shoot 3-under-par 69 and finish at 4-under in a four-way tie for the lead with Hoffman, Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler.

“The more experience you have here, the more you know how to approach some of these holes and know what’s going on,” said Garcia, who was playing in his 19th Masters. “But it definitely helps if you’ve been around a little bit, because you know what to expect, and once you realize that sometimes funny things are going to happen with good shots, and you can accept that, then you can do better.”

8.-Jordan-SpiethLucky 13
At the end of the second round, 53 players, including two of five amateurs, made the cut at 6-over-par 150.

In the third round Garcia had four birdies in a two-under round of 70, tying Rose for the 54-hole lead at 6-under-par. One of those birdies came at the 13th hole after his second shot on the dogleg par 5 bounced onto the bank of the Rae’s Creek tributary and stayed dry. He nearly holed his chip shot, leaving a tap-in for birdie.

“I’ve definitely had some good breaks through all three rounds – 13 obviously was one of them,” Garcia said.

He wasn’t the only one to conjure up a little magic on No. 13. After Jordan Spieth’s tee shot landed in the pine straw to the right of the fairway, he knew just what to do with his second shot. He could be heard on Masters.com “Amen Corner” coverage discussing the situation with his caddie, Michael Greller. “What would Arnie do?” Spieth asked.

12.-Main-Scoreboard“Hit it to 20 feet,” the caddie replied without hesitation.

Spieth’s four-iron shot stopped 29 feet from the pin on the par-5, and he two-putted for birdie.

Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist, birdied five of the final seven holes, including No. 13, to post the best round of the day – a 5-under-par 67.

“You’ve got to sort of pick your moments and stay disciplined out there,” he said. “That’s the good thing about this golf course is that if you are spot on and you are on top of your game, it will reward you.”

Garcia said he would try to make as many birdies as he could in the final round. “Having a chance of winning a major and winning here at Augusta, it’s extra exciting,” he said.

His luck continued at the 13th hole on Sunday after his tee shot nicked a tree and landed against a bush, forcing him to take a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie. He punched out and hit a wedge to the green, draining an eight-foot putt to save par. Rose maintained his two-shot lead after missing a six-foot birdie putt.

No.-16-vertical-option“That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament,” Rose said. “I feel like if he misses at that point, I make – I’m four clear and I’ve got my eye on Thomas Pieters and Matt Kuchar instead.”

Riding his momentum, Garcia birdied No. 14 and eagled No. 15. Rose answered with a birdie at the 15th hole and gained a one-stroke advantage with a birdie at No. 16. After Rose bogeyed the 17th hole, the two competitors headed to the 18th tee tied at 9-under.

Belief and Encouragement
Both players settled for par on No. 18 after missing birdie tries on the 72nd hole to set up the final showdown. After his drive landed in the trees to the right of the 18th fairway, Rose bogeyed the first hole of the sudden death playoff. This time Garcia’s putt curled into the hole from the left side for a birdie, and the green jacket belonged to him. The appreciative gallery, recognizing his long-overdue major championship, chanted “Ser-gee-oh.”

9.-Matt-KucharCharl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, finished in third place with a Sunday charge that included six birdies and two bogeys. Kuchar, whose final round 67 included an ace on No. 16, and Pieters, a Masters rookie, finished T4.

“It came down to the back nine on Sunday here, which is what this tournament is famous for,” Rose said.

Playing in his 74th major championship, Garcia at long last found the calm and equanimity he needed to win. He credited his victory to a positive attitude that was fostered by self-belief and words of encouragement from friends, family, his then-fiancé and one of his idols – Olazabal.

“To be able to join him and Seve as Masters champions from Spain, it’s unbelievable,” Garcia said. 

By Betsy Gilliland

Changing of the Guard

Guide to The Masters

Augusta-NationalA new chairman will lead the Masters Tournament this year 

Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament never shy away from change, and a new chairman will preside over this year’s tournament. Fred Ridley, the former Competition Committees chairman, took the reins last fall from Billy Payne, who retired from the position of chairman in October. 

“Throughout my life, Bobby Jones has been my idol and role model. I remember meeting Clifford Roberts during my first visit to Augusta National as an amateur invitee more than four decades ago. So to become chairman of Augusta National and the Masters is beyond humbling. I stand ready to embrace the responsibilities that come with this important position, strengthened by the lessons the sport teaches and the example of those who have provided leadership to me over the years,” Ridley said upon his appointment.

“As chairman, I will always look to Jones and Roberts as a source of wisdom and inspiration. I fully subscribe to their mandate of constant improvement and their commitment to maintaining the highest standard in all that we do. I pledge to use my deep-rooted respect for the customs and traditions they established to further elevate our club and tournament, while continuing their mission of contributing to the development of the sport around the world.

“I would like to thank Billy Payne, our esteemed chairman emeritus, who appointed me as his successor. His confidence in allowing me this honor has already had a profound impact on my life. I am grateful to consider him a friend and mentor, both personally and professionally.”

Ridley is the seventh chairman in the club’s 86-year history, and he is the only chairman to have ever competed in the Masters. He was invited three times during his amateur career, qualifying in 1976 and 1977 by winning the 1975 U.S. Amateur Championship. He played again in 1978 as a member of the 1977 Walker Cup team.

Payne, who started his tenure as chairman in May 2006, announced in August that he was stepping down.

“The privilege I experienced serving as chairman of Augusta National and the Masters was far greater than I could have ever imagined,” Payne said last summer. “Just as nothing can prepare you for the unique responsibilities and important decisions that come with this position, it is equally impossible to anticipate the many joys and, most importantly, the wonderful friendships that are the ultimate reward of service. This honor, however, is too great for one person to claim as their own for too long a period of time.” 

In addition to Payne, Roberts (1934-76), Bill Lane (1976-80), Hord Hardin (1980-91), Jack Stephens (1991-98) and Hootie Johnson (1998-2006) also served as chairman.

By Betsy Gilliland

Will to Win

Guide to The Masters

Trophy-From sibling winners to repeat victors to playoff champions, the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship was full of drama and excitement 

When it comes to the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, winning is a family affair for Maye and Treed Huang of Katy, Texas.

Following in her brother’s footsteps, Maye won the Girls 7-9 division in the competition last year. Treed, who placed fourth in last year’s Boys 12-13 division, was the 2014 champion in the Boys 7-9 division. “My dad, my mom and my brother all gave me tips to be confident and try my best,” said Maye.

Conducted by the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America and the USGA, the championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development program for boys and girls, ages 7-15, in four age categories. Tens of thousands of youth compete in the annual event, which began in 2014. The field is winnowed down to 80 competitors who earn a trip to the finals, which are held each year at Augusta National Golf Club on the Sunday preceding the Masters.

WinnersLiam Hartling, the Boys 10-11 division champion, has been playing golf since he was 18 months old. “You just have to try it even if it is hard at the start. Stick with it, and it will be fun,” he said.

Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Florida became the first two-time champion. She won the Girls 12-13 division, after prevailing in the Girls 10-11 division in 2016. “Drive, Chip and Putt is definitely more nerve-wracking than going out for 18 holes,” says Pano. “If you make a mistake, you don’t have a lot of chances to make up for it.”

After making an extra 15-foot putt on the 18th green, Mason Quagliata of Scottsdale, Arizona topped Andrew Scholz of Fairway, Kansas in a playoff to take the Boys 14-15 title. “My hands were shaking when I hit that last putt,” Mason said.

Leaderboard-(optional)Other female winners were Lucy Yuan of San Diego (ages 10-11) and Savannah Grewal of Mississauga, Ontario (ages 14-15). Other male champions were Carter Gaede of Manhattan Beach, California (ages 7-9) and Zachary Colon of Bolton, Massachusetts (ages 12-13), who also won in a playoff.

This year’s Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will be held at Augusta National on Sunday, April 1. Registration for the 2019 championship is underway at drivechipandputt.com, and local qualifiers begin in May. 

By Betsy Gilliland

2018 Masters Predictions

Guide to The Masters

1.-Jon-RahmLocal golf pros share their picks for Masters glory – or heartache

When it’s April in Augusta, the golf world turns its attention to the Masters Tournament. It’s always fun to try to foresee the outcome of the first major of the year, and once again we have teed up area golf gurus to tell us how the tournament will play out.

In 2017 PGA Tour veteran Sergio Garcia won his first major with a sudden death victory over Justin Rose on the first playoff hole. (Kudos to fearless prognosticators Dan Elliott and Scott Penland for choosing Sergio as their dark horse pick last year.)

We’ll see if the Masters crowns another first-time major champion in 2018 or if a proven winner can add a green jacket to his major championship collection. 

2.-Justin-ThomasGreg Hemann
Director of Operations, Jones Creek Golf Club
(Greg’s correct 2017 predictions: Low Senior, Pivotal Hole, Highest Score on One Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: Let’s go with Jordan Spieth. I think he has the strongest mind and the best short game.
Dark Horse: Jon Rahm. He’s big and strong. I think he has a game that’s suited for the course.
Low Newcomer: Patton Kizzire
Low Senior: Let’s go with Fred Couples. I ride that horse every year.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: I hate to jinx him, but I’ll say Jason Day.
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 13
Highest 18-Hole Score: 84
Highest Score on One Hole: 9

 ———-

7.-Ryan-MooreKirk Hice
Director of Golf, West Lake Country Club
(Kirk’s correct 2017 predictions: Pivotal Hole, Highest Score on One Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: I’m going with Justin Rose. He plays well there. He’s playing good golf right now, so I expect him to be ready.
Dark Horse: Ryan Moore. He’s playing well right now, and I think that will continue.
Low Newcomer: Wesley Bryan. He’s a local boy.
Low Senior: I’m going to say Bernhard Langer.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Adam Scott
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 15
Highest 18-Hole Score: 81
Highest Score on One Hole: 8

 ———

 4.-Dustin-JohnsonTommy Brannen
Head Golf Professional, Augusta Country Club
(Tommy’s correct 2017 predictions: Highest Score on One Hole)2018 Masters Champion: Dustin Johnson. He’s number one in the world, and I think he’s ready for revenge after what happened last year when he got hurt and couldn’t play.
Dark Horse: Tony Finau
Low Newcomer: Tony Finau. I think he’s a heck of a player.
Low Senior: I’m trying to figure out which one’s going to make the cut. I’ll take Vijay Singh.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Jason Day
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 12. It seems like it always is.
Highest 18-Hole Score: 88
Highest Score on One Hole: 8

————-

Dan Elliott
PGA General Manager/Director of Golf, Forest Hills Golf Club
(Dan’s correct 2017 predictions: Dark Horse, Low Newcomer) 
2018 Masters Champion: Tommy Fleetwood. I think he’s playing really, really good golf.
Dark Horse: You hate to call somebody that’s a prominent player a dark horse, but I’ll say Justin Rose.
Low Newcomer: Xander Schauffele. He’s posting some good rounds.
Low Senior: Bernhard Langer
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: I’m going with Hideki Matsuyama. 
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: You almost have to say No. 13.
Highest 18-Hole Score: 82
Highest Score on One Hole:

———— 

6.-Rory-McIlroySpike Kelley
General Manager and Golf Professional, Goshen Plantation
(Spike’s correct 2017 predictions: Pivotal Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: Rory McIlroy. He needs this one to win the career grand slam.
Dark Horse: Jon Rahm. He’s really good.
Low Newcomer: Tony Finau
Low Senior: Vijay Singh
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Hideki Matsuyama
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 17
Highest 18-Hole Score: 84
Highest Score on One Hole:

——————

5.-Bernhard-LangerScott Penland
Director of Golf, Hickory Knob State Park Golf Course
(Scott’s correct 2017 predictions: Dark Horse, Low Newcomer, Highest 18-Hole Score)
2018 Masters Champion: I’ll go with Justin Thomas. He’s been playing pretty well.
Dark Horse: Thomas Pieters. I think he did pretty well last year, so maybe he’ll do well this year.
Low Newcomer: Doc Redman. He’s from Clemson, and I have followed him there.
Low Senior: I’m going to go with Bernhard Langer this year.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Patrick Reed
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 15
Highest 18-Hole Score: 86
Highest Score on One Hole: 9

————–

3.-Fred-CouplesChris Verdery
Director of Golf, The River Golf Club
(Chris’ correct 2017 predictions: Toughest Hole, Highest 18-Hole Score, Highest Score on One Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: The winner is going to be Dustin Johnson. He’s been close many times, and I feel like he has the confidence to pull it out.
Dark Horse: I’ll say Kevin Chappell.
Low Newcomer: Xander Schauffele. He has the all-around game to avoid any disasterous holes.
Low Senior: Let’s say Freddie Couples.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: I’ll say Bubba Watson.
Toughest Hole: It’s going to be No. 1.
Pivotal Hole: No. 15
Highest 18-Hole Score: 85
Highest Score on One Hole:

By Todd Beck

Rock Fore! Dough

Community Groups in Action

logoA perennial fan favorite during Masters Week – Rock Fore! Dough – will take place at Evans Towne Center Park Tuesday, April 3 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. The concert benefits First Tee of Augusta, the local chapter of the First Tee Network, which provides educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Rock Fore! Dough is in its 14th year, and past concerts have raised more than $1.5 million for the local First Tee chapter.

Founded in 1997, The First Tee, which now has programs in all 50 states and select international locations, started as a way to bring affordable junior golf programs to youth and communities. However, the network soon discovered that participants were learning valuable life lessons as well. 

Dustin-with-kids-photoThe First Tee of Augusta holds outreach clinics and field trips for local schools, youth development and community organizations. Participants also are introduced to The First Tee’s nine core values – honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

“The nine core values of First Tee are closely aligned with those of CallingPost, and are fundamental values that make America great,” says Phil Alexander, CallingPost founder.

concertThis year’s concert will include performances by Scotty McCreery, Jordan Davis, Shaun Piazza, DJ Rock and the first ever “Jacket Jam” band featuring artist and celebrity appearances. 

“Every artist that plays at Rock Fore! Dough is donating his or her time to The First Tee of Augusta,” says Joe Stevenson, event producer. “I’m blown away by the support this event has received over the years and excited we have the opportunity to bring some new names to the stage this Masters Week.”

First-Tee-Colina-Park-97-e1472155263469Advance tickets, which cost $29, are available at First Tee of Augusta and all area Kroger stores. Day-of-show tickets will be sold for $39 online and at the gate.  For more information, visit rockforedough.com.

Justin Hayes

P.Y.S.K.

KaterwerksExecutive Chef for Jones Creek Golf Club, Katerwerks Events and Hospitality, and Cork and Flame 

Number of years in position: 3

Family: Grandmother, Ellie; mother, Susan

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: Passion is not taught; it comes from within. I’ve done my best to harness this gift and apply it to every aspect of my culinary career. With no allegiance to a particular style of cooking, my attention is captivated as long as the ingredients are sourced properly and cooked with purpose, balance, finesse and respect. I’ve harnessed my passion and honed my culinary skills while building a reputation for preparing seasonal items with innovative techniques. 

After initially studying with American Academy Award Chef Heinz Sowinski, I worked under Master Chef Marcel Biro and then pursued additional education under Chef Biro’s mentor in Germany, Master Chef Robert Rauh. After returning to Augusta, I began working with JCI Management, which operates Jones Creek Golf Club and Katerwerks Events and Hospitality. I remain dedicated to my craft and continue to enchant guests with innovative culinary creations. My team has been voted Best Caterer in Columbia County for 2016 and 2017. 

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: (1) SafeHomes of Augusta, which empowers our community to take a stand against domestic violence and supports victims as they transform their lives into survivors. (2) American Junior Golf Association, which is committed to providing a platform for high school students to gain exposure to college coaches on the golf course and enable them to receive college scholarships, thereby furthering their education. I`ve personally had the opportunity to work with both organizations through the support of Jones Creek and Katerwerks.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: So far…my externship to Germany. As an eager novice chef, I decided when I was 24 to jump on a plane and travel 5,000 miles away with $1,000 in my pocket to study under a master chef in Germany. I spoke very little German and quickly discovered my miscalculations regarding the ease of this transition. I had to adapt to the cultural changes around me, but always found reassurance and solace in my one true love — the kitchen. Cooking transcends cultural barriers. 

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Finding a group of people who believe in me enough to invest in what will be Columbia County’s premier restaurant, Cork and Flame, which will open soon.

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: Shortstop for the Atlanta Braves

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: Preparing the season’s finest ingredients with my colleagues in anticipation of our first guests to arrive.

Favorite TV Show: “No Reservations”

Favorite Movie: Anything by Wes Anderson

Favorite Sports Team: Go Dawgs!

Favorite Comfort Food: Oma’s Goulash

Favorite Apps: Instagram, Amazon and OpenTable 

Last Book Read: Love Is a Dog from Hell by Charles Bukowski 

Dream Vacation: I want to hike the Camino de Santiago in order to get away, enjoy a slower pace of life and to have time to think and reflect. 

Something That Has Changed My Life: Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else`s life.” I`ve spent the last 12 years of my life in and out of kitchens, helping with the success of other chefs. I`m finally on the cusp of building my own success, and I can’t say that it has been one event or action that has changed my life, but the guidance of my mentors along the way.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: You`re only as good as your last dish served. 

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Motivated

Favorite Hobbies: I`ll let you know when I find the time.

Secret Aspiration: James Beard Foundation Award nomination

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Shark Tank”

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I have a tattoo of a 1960s children’s book — The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Everybody Has the Blues

People

Kenny-Brawner-as-Ray-CharlesAnd that’s a good thing when an Augusta native returns home to pay tribute to music legend Ray Charles

A brand new hybrid concert/theater work brings the music and story of Ray Charles to vivid life. Portraying Charles, master pianist and vocalist Kenny Brawner, a native Augustan, leads his 12-piece orchestra and three sultry vocalists (a la Raelettes) in performing the American legend’s most popular hits.

Interweaving songs, Brawner depicts how gospel, blues, jazz and country music influenced the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s style. He also reflects on American social history, Charles’ battle with drugs and his triumphant return home to Georgia.

Brawner plays his own distinctive style of jazz, funk, R&B and blues. John Wilson of the New York Times once described his style as “rich, romantic with bold striking figures and a strong stomping beat.” Curt Davis of the New York Post called his writing, playing and singing “strong and assertive.”

For nearly a decade, Brawner led and composed for a jazz-funk recording band called “Raw Sugar.” During that period, his funk composition, “Whups it on Me” was chosen Showstopper of the Week on WBLS in New York, and another production collaboration with Onaje Allan Gumbs achieved success as well.

If You Go:
What: “Ray Charles on My Mind” featuring Kenny Brawner
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 27
Where: Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center
How Much: $47
More Info: augustaamusements.com or (706) 726-0366