While on vacation last
week I was fortunate enough to walk the flawless fairways of Augusta
National for a Masters practice round. The course truly was
everything I expected it to be and much more.
As an avid golfer in my spare time and a former grounds crewman, I've
grown an appreciation for what it takes to make a course look that
good. You can almost hear the piano music CBS plays when you walk
up to "Amen Corner" and see the Ben Hogan Bridge with the azaleas in
the background. Everything from the tee to the green could be in
a museum and I guarantee we have all putted on greens that aren't cut
as tight as the fairways in Augusta.
To cap it all off the other patrons are genuinely courteous and
concessions are surprisingly dirt cheap. I thought I mistakenly
got the senior citizens discount when I was only charged 75 cents for a
soda that would have cost me 6 dollars at a baseball game.
If you're lucky enough to find your way in, Augusta National is a must
see for any sports fan. This left me pondering the other sports
venues a little closer to home that are worth paying a visit to if you
Pinehurst No. 2
Home of the 2005 U.S. Open. The 98-year old
golf course will be an impossible ticket in June. You can
play North Carolina's most famous course any other time of year for
Home of the Duke Blue Devils. The
smallest, hottest, loudest place you will ever watch a basketball
game. The Cameron Crazies reputation speaks for itself.
Looks like a Temple from the outside, feels sacred on the inside
because of Duke's success.
Former Home of the NC State Wolfpack. Jim
Valvano, David Thompson, ACC Tournaments and other classic games make
this place special. These days plenty of seats are available at
the Lady Wolfpack games.
Dean Smith Center
Home of the 2005 NCAA Champion North Carolina
Tar Heels. Love them or hate them, the tradition behind the
program makes this place worth visiting at least once.
When the Pirates are winning, there's no
better place to tailgate and spend a Saturday afternoon in the
fall. Skip Holtz hopes to restore the energy that has been
lacking the past couple of seasons.
Bank of America
Home of the Carolina Panthers.
Opened in 1996 and remains one of the top stadiums in the NFL.
Features two giant scoreboards in each end zone and every one of the
73,000 seats is a good seat.
Named after a coach that has inspired a
community, the new home of the Pirate Baseball team is easily the best
college facility in the state and one of the nicest in the
country. The "Jungle" and a perennial top 25 program make this a
great place to watch baseball.
(old and new) The old stadium was the
site for the movie Bull Durham and had such landmarks as the "smoking
bull" who's eyes turned red and tail wagged when the home team went
yard. The new park has an old school feel and is one of the
nicest triple-A parks in the country.
Located centrally in the NASCAR capital of
the world. The track hosts several stock car events each year
including the Nextel All-Star Challenge (May 21st) and the Coca-Cola
600 (May 29). You can pretend you're Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the
speedway's Fast Track Driving School. Participants receive
instruction and then turn laps in real NASCAR stock cars.
Sports sites are not in order by rank.