12 Apr 2024

Golf’s Gnome-mania: Augusta Fans Scramble for Limited Edition Garden Decor

In a scene reminiscent of a wild stampede at Pamplona, fans are racing to nab the coveted annual Augusta garden gnome, which is once again disappearing at lightning speed from the Masters merchandise shop.

Every day, starting from the Saturday of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur until the Sunday of the Masters final round, a limited batch of these exclusive gnomes magically appears near the exit lanes of the main merchandise shops. They linger for a mere 45 minutes before vanishing, turning the acquisition into a genteel version of the “running of the gnomes.”

“I have never been able to acquire one,” Alex Lowe from near Atlanta told The Augusta Chronicle after a friend got to the course early enough to buy one for him after years of striking out himself.

“When I got here, they already shut down the lines and by the time I got in, they were all gone.”

Since 2016, the Masters has unleashed a new 18-inch gnome each year, featuring whimsical likenesses of notable figures. They’re so beloved that even Shane Lowry’s former bearded caddie, Bo Martin, purchased a scaled-down version to keep his kids company while he’s away on tour.

This year’s gnome is a fashion icon, dressed to the nines in a white Masters bucket hat, a snazzy blue cardigan, a dapper necktie, and eye-catching blue-and-green plaid trousers, carrying a stack of plastic cups. During the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, a living doppelgänger of the gnome was spotted roaming the grounds in identical attire!

The unveiling of this year’s gnome sparked a social media frenzy, with enthusiasts scrambling to claim theirs. Within moments, gnomes appeared on eBay, fetching prices upwards of $300. The original 2016 gnome? Brace yourself—$4,000 to $7,000! And for the ultimate collector, a complete set of all eight can be yours for a cool $16,000.

The gnome craze has even spawned a line of merchandise, including T-shirts, golf balls, and miniature Christmas tree ornaments adorned with the little fellas.

So, if you find yourself at the Masters, keep your eyes peeled for the elusive garden gnome—it’s the hottest ticket in town, causing a ruckus fit for the front page!

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