The Augusta National Golf Club’s Masters parking expansion has diminished one aspect of residential commerce — the front-yard parking lot.
Most of those homeowner operations, which flourished during the past four decades, have gone away, but some were still active this week.
Jan Koger said she and her family have allowed Masters patrons to park at her mother’s home on Berckmans Road since 1975. It might take a little longer for their yard to fill up on some days, but it’s pretty much business as usual, Koger said earlier this week.
“During tournament days, it’s the same as normal. It’s a very convenient location,” Koger said about the home across from Gate 9.
The Kogers charge $20 for regular cars and $30 for oversized vehicles. Each year, their friend Brian Keoughan assists them.
“It really hasn’t impacted ours so much because we have had such loyal patrons that love us and they love to park here. They come back year after year,” Keoughan said. “People really love going in Gate 9 as opposed to way down at Gate 6.”
The houses on both sides of the Kogers used to charge for parking, but they’re now lots K and L for Augusta National, he said. Compared with much of the free parking, the Kogers’ yard is closer to the golf course.
“Plus, we’re so close to Amen Corner, where people like to go. This is so close for them to be able to walk there that they’re more than willing to pay whatever we’re charging for parking,” Keoughan said.
Nearby on Margate Drive, off Wicklow Drive, Masters guests have parked in Beverly Ward’s yard for 15 years. Her yard filled up by 10 a.m., so she and her children directed patrons to overflow parking in their neighbors’ yards. They charged $10 per vehicle.
“More than half of these folks have been here every year for the last 10 to 15 years,” Ward said. “Even though it’s free parking, they still come down. They know how we are and they get out of the traffic a little earlier.”
Ward’s son, Kaleb Niles, said changes in Masters traffic patterns slowed their business during the first half of the week, but things picked up when tournament play started Thursday.
Ward said the free parking — about 8,500 spots were added in recent years — can accommodate many vehicles, but “it still gets full.”
“I can’t say that free parking has had much of an effect on us. It might take us a little bit longer on practice round days, but for the most part, we still park at least 40 cars every day,” Ward said.
This is the second year Andrea Scott has charged for parking at her home on Azalea Drive. The tournament’s free parking lots have affected her slightly, she said.
“There are certain days of the week that are busier than others,” Scott said. “Lots of times, I get repeat parkers because when they try the free parking, it’s so congested and it takes so long to get out at the end of the day that they would rather walk a few more steps to be able to have easy access to their vehicle.”