While thousands of patrons were focused on golf, I took some time last week to think about fishing.
In particular, I was interested in Ike's Pond -- three spring-fed acres of dark water surrounded by towering pines and azaleas.
The much photographed landmark, which turns 60 this year, is part of the legacy of the Augusta National Golf Club's most famous member, Dwight David Eisenhower, who joined the club in 1948 and later became the nation's 34th president.
Eisenhower, who also served as commander of the Allied Forces in World War II, was a close friend of Masters Chairman Clifford Roberts. During his second visit to Augusta after the end of the war, Eisenhower suggested to Roberts that a new pond be constructed on the eastern edge of the property, just downhill from DeSoto Springs Pond.
The club, after asking a professional engineer to evaluate such a plan, decided to build the pond, which was completed in 1949 and stocked with bass and bream, according to an exhibit at the club. Today, the pond is part of the Par-3 Course.
Having worked at the Masters all week, I found some time early Tuesday morning to visit Ike's Pond, where Eisenhower fished throughout 29 visits during his presidency, and 11 more visits thereafter.
In 60 years, it has changed little from the early photographs. Near the back of the pond, an aging magnolia straddles the waterline, its gnarled, heavy limbs almost touching the dark water.
I walked beneath the scoreboard, by a flagstone wall with two drainpipes, where bream beds dotted the sandy bottom like dinner plates. At the head waters, below the dam of the Desoto Springs Pond, I could see a form in the shallow water. It was a huge bass, hovering motionless near the grass and ivy.
We made eye contact briefly. It blew a bubble, and then vanished with a turbulent swirl.
The place was like a cemetery: eerily quiet, yet relaxing and strikingly beautiful. It was a sanctuary, a place where a president fished.
Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.