The ventilation systems are being reworked, the lawns are being mowed, the floors are being polished – all in preparation for an influx of visitors for Masters Week.
“This time of year is just as busy for us as Masters Week,” said Nancy Glaser, the executive director.
Glaser said the museum expects 2,000 to 3,000 visitors that week, a lot of them during Masters Tournament practice rounds. Some will come to see the golf exhibits. Others, she said, will stop at the neighboring Augusta Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, see the banners for the golf and James Brown exhibitions, and decide to check them out.
“They feel like they’re getting their money’s worth,” she said.
The museum is popular with visitors because it has the only golf exhibit in town, she said.
The exhibit, which includes bronze statues of golf greats and a green jacket, tells the story of golf in Augusta, including the evolution of Augusta National Golf Club and the course where many visitors will spend much of their week.
Representatives from other area attractions said they likely won’t see many extra visitors during Masters Week.
Capt. Jim Bradshaw, the owner of Patriot Riverboat Tours, said Masters Week will be business as usual.
Bradshaw, who has operated the boat tours for five years, said that although he will get a few extra visitors, traffic won’t pick up enough to affect the way he usually does business.
“It seems like they come here to golf, drink, eat and go to sleep,” he said.
At the nearby Morris Museum of Art, there aren’t many Masters preparations going on, either.
Unless there is a golf-related exhibition, such as last year’s “Fore! the Love of Golf,” Masters Week doesn’t bring many additional visitors.
Marketing Director Nicole McLeod has found that although visitors might not have time to visit the museum during Masters Week, many return later in the year and see attractions they didn’t have time for during the tournament.
That translates into more money spent in the Augusta area on hotels and in restaurants, she said.
That’s what Barry White, the CEO and president of the Augusta Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, also hopes will happen.
The bureau hopes to draw tournament-goers out into the community when they’re not at the course through the use of hotel key cards with QR codes on the back. When guests scan the codes with their smartphones, they are taken to the events page on the bureau’s Web site, where they’ll find information on events such as Rock Fore! Dough and the Mayor’s Masters Reception.
“We do hope they see something (in the community) that piques their interest and that they’ll make plans to come back, and then tell their friends and family members,” he said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for Augusta that most cities our size and many, many cities much larger than us don’t get, to showcase their city as we do every April.”