The Best is Yet to Come

Luke List & family

Photos courtesy of Chloe and Luke List and Augusta National Golf Club

A local PGA Tour pro is taking a different approach to this year’s Masters Tournament.

Masters Week is always special for Augusta residents Chloe and Luke List, but to say that it has great promise this year is a gimme.

Luke, a two-time PGA Tour winner, will make his third appearance inside the ropes at Augusta National Golf Club when the Masters Tournament gets underway.

“The Masters has such a rich history,” he says. “You just feel it at the tournament and the golf course. You feel the presence of Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. It’s as close to heaven as you can get.”

He played in his first Masters in 2005 when he was a Vanderbilt University sophomore, qualifying as the U.S. Amateur runner-up the previous year. He finished T33 and even made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole in the Par 3 Contest.

Seventeen years later he was invited for the first time as a professional after securing his inaugural PGA Tour win at the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. However, he missed the cut.

“When I played at the Masters as an amateur, I had a good time and enjoyed myself,” says Luke. “Two years ago, I put too much pressure on myself. The caretaker in me wanted to look after my family and friends.”

This year he’s taking a different approach.

“I can’t worry about entertaining friends and family,” he says. “I have a job to do. The Masters is a tournament I want to compete in and try to win. I want to be there on Sunday.”

Luke qualified for this year’s tournament in dramatic fashion. On the first hole of a five-man, sudden-death playoff at the 2023 Sanderson Farms Championship in October, he drained a 45-foot birdie putt for his second career victory. While he looks forward to competing in the Masters, he still plans to enjoy himself – and take pleasure in seeing family and friends.

“Every green you walk off, you see somebody you know,” he says. “It’s great to have support from everyone.”

Chloe is looking forward to the tournament as well. “I feel more excited this year because we know what to expect,” she says.

From watching Luke practice on the main course with their children in tow to taking part in the Par 3 Contest as a family, she also has fond memories of the 2022 Masters.

“It was so special to drive down Magnolia Lane with Luke for the first time,” she says. “I made a six-foot putt in the Par 3 Contest two years ago, and everybody cheered for me. I thought, ‘Oh, wow! That’s what that feels like.’”

Fast Start

Luke, who calls his ball striking and iron play the strongest parts of his game, believes Augusta National suits him well.

“Putting has been my nemesis my whole career, but I’ve turned a corner in that,” he says. “When you control your speed and make short putts, you’ve got a big advantage.”

He also got off to a fast start this season. Making the cut in six of his first eight events, his results include two Top 25s, a Top 10 and a T2 finish at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

The tournament, which he led for several holes, wasn’t just memorable for Luke’s performance, though. That week he and Chloe, who met in 2013 when they both lived in Los Angeles, also had the chance to relive the genesis of their relationship by recreating their first date.

Luke, who grew up in Jasper, Georgia, and Chloe, a 2008 Evans High School graduate, were set up by a mutual friend. Fittingly, they started the evening with drinks at The Georgian, a Santa Monica hotel, and then had dinner at the Huntley Hotel. This year the couple, who recently celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary, had Valentine’s Day dinner at the Huntley.

Luke still recalls his first impression of his future wife.

“I thought she was gorgeous. After our first date, I texted a friend and said, ‘That’s it for me. I’m done with dating. This is the girl I want to marry,’” Luke says. “I knew that was my last first date ever.”

The feeling was mutual.

“He was charming,” says Chloe. “It was love at first sight. I texted the friend who set us up during the date and said, ‘He’s my husband.’”

At the time Luke had lost his PGA Tour card and was back on the Korn Ferry Tour, and he invited Chloe to watch him play in a tournament in the San Francisco area.

“I asked him what I should wear. I said, ‘Is it like the Masters?’” recalls Chloe. “He said, ‘You can wear your pajamas. You might be the only spectator there.’”

Although she had gone to the Masters when she was growing up and worked at the tournament during high school, she didn’t follow golf or know much about it. However, Luke credits her with keeping him going when he struggled on the course.

“I kept pushing and following my dream,” he says. “She could see my passion and how much it meant to me. Even when I wasn’t playing well, I didn’t want to pursue anything else.”

Putting Down Roots

While the start of his career was rocky, the Lists have settled seamlessly into life here after moving to Augusta in 2018. They wanted to raise their family in the Southeast, and they considered living in Nashville, Charlotte and St. Simon’s Island. However, with Chloe’s family still in the area, a homecoming for her made perfect sense.

“It’s been such a dream to put down roots here,” says Luke. “The ability for me to leave town and know that my family is in good hands is great. It helps me be able to take care of business.”

Their children were born here – daughter Ryann in 2018 and son Harrison in 2021 – and the Lists support local children’s charities.

Chloe is involved with Heart and Sole, which benefits the Children’s Hospital of Georgia heart program, and Ronald McDonald House Charities is a passion for both of them.

In December, the Lists presented a check for $250,000 to Children’s Hospital of Georgia to support the expansion of its Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The donation was made possible by the proceeds Luke earned when he won the RSM Birdies for Love charity competition during the 2022-23 PGA Tour season.

He doesn’t remember how many birdies he had – just that he won by a single birdie. “It was nerve-wracking because I really wanted to get it done,” says Luke.

The contribution was especially meaningful to the couple because Harrison, who was born prematurely, spent two weeks in intensive care at Children’s Hospital. After leaving the hospital, he soon was readmitted due to RSV, a respiratory virus, and was intubated for two days.

“Hopefully, in the next year we can get our own foundation up and going,” Chloe says. “Children’s charities are something we’re passionate about, but we would love to support a broad range of charities.”

‘Rich Golf Culture’

The local golf scene was a draw for settling down here as well. Luke loves to play rounds with friends at area courses such as Augusta Country Club, Champions Retreat, Forest Hills, Sage Valley and The Tree Farm.

“There’s a rich golf culture here that’s really special,” says Luke. “There are a lot of good private and public golf courses around town.”

His favorite tour stops include Torrey Pines, Riviera, Quail Hollow and Harbour Town Golf Links. And of course, Augusta National.

“The West Coast will always have a special place in my heart, but obviously, the Masters is number one,” he says. “I’ve been dreaming about that my entire life. Living here, but not being in it was very difficult for me. We have always stayed in town during the Masters. It’s such a great week. You make the most of it.”

Luke, whose golf idols are Davis Love III and Ernie Els, makes the most of life on the PGA Tour as well.

“It’s a fantastic job to play golf for a living,” he says. “I love traveling and being able to give back to the community.”

However, because of time away from family and how difficult it is to win, PGA Tour life isn’t as glamorous as it seems.

Before the Florida swing, Luke said, “I’ve played 263 times, and I’ve won twice in my entire career. You have to take little victories where you can to build your confidence.”

Chloe also has helped him take the ups and downs of professional golf in stride since he has become a husband and father.

“Life is not all about golf. There’s so much outside of golf,” she says. “Once we had kids, it’s been a lot easier to stay grounded and never get too high or too low. Luke can come home and just be Dad.”

The Excitement of Competing

Luke, who learned to play golf when he was about 6 years old from his late grandfather, Robert Brown, also has strived to maintain his core values since becoming a pro golfer.

“I try to stay the same and treat people how I would like to be treated,” he says. “The game keeps you humble. Golf teaches you so much about yourself. When you’re in contention, it’s nice to see how you handle it to reach your goals and achieve your dreams.”

Luke List & familyHe also remembers the way his grandfather taught him to play. “He taught me the basic fundamentals, but he really kept it fun,” Luke says.

A piece of advice from another golfer has stuck with him as well.

“When I was about 10 or 11, I played a practice round with an older kid that was headed to college,” Luke recalls. “He told me, ‘Play as much as you can.’ Practice is fun, but it doesn’t compare with competing. Practice doesn’t simulate the excitement or nerves of a competitive tournament.”

While Luke once just hoped to earn a college golf scholarship (he did) and considered playing on the PGA Tour “a pipedream,” his top goal now is to win a major.

“My confidence level and my ability to trust my game is growing,” he says.

His first PGA Tour victory, with his family waiting by the 18th green, is certainly a career highlight. However, he’s not ready to pinpoint his biggest thrill on the golf course just yet.

“That’s to be determined,” Luke says. “I feel like it’s still out there.”

By Betsy Gilliland