Commentary

Put Augusta on your résumé

The jobs last for only a week, but the perks of working the Masters are fantastic

Updated: April 12, 2014, 7:41 PM ET
By Rick Reilly | ESPN.com

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tired of your life's path? Looking to make a change? Have we got an employment opportunity for you.

Yes, it's only a one-week gig, and no, it doesn't pay much, if anything at all. But the perks are ridiculous.

[+] EnlargeAugusta Worker
AP Photo/Matt SlocumA course worker carries a bucket of golf balls on the driving range during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament.

You'll be working the Masters. If you volunteer, you get four free shirts, a hat, a windbreaker and a free round of golf at Augusta National. Interested now?

Then take your pick of these jobs:

Stall Steward -- At the Masters, the service never stops, even when a "patron" takes a bathroom break. As you enter the on-course men's room, a kind of urinal wrangler greets you and directs you to the latest opening. "Got two in the back row!" a guy was hollering in the restroom near the 11th hole Thursday. "Back row, no waiting!"

It's a great job if you like telling people where to go.

If you require an actual stall, there is a kind of commode concierge, who invites you forward.

"Here you are, sir!" 18-year-old blue-blazered Carlos Ruiz was beckoning Thursday, as though he was finding you a table at Sardi's. "Come on in!"

Then Ruiz went in first, spritzed disinfectant on the seats and wiped it off before standing aside to let the invitee enter, then closed the door afterward. He did everything but shout encouragement. And he had his deodorizer (strawberry) ready for the follow-up.

Same deal in the women's bathroom, where, outside, a woman named Ellen Luchtel of Napa, Calif., was flabbergasted. "I've been to three-star Michelin restaurants," Luchtel gushed. "And even they didn't do that for me."

Pay: $7.25 (minimum wage), but time and a half after 40 hours. And Ruiz guessed he would work 84 hours this week.

"It's worth it," says Ruiz, who is saving his money in hopes of attending Georgia Southern next year, where he wants to play first base and pitch.

Wonder if he'll bring the spritzer to the dugout?

Gallery Guard -- In other words, a marshall. But if you have the job Mark Swanson has, it's hard to beat. He helps run the crosswalk just in front of the par-5 15th green, often the crucial hole in the tournament.

Swanson's grandfather used to take him to the Masters using the free badges he got in the early 1940s for opening a savings account at a bank in town. Yes, things have changed.

"I was about 6 or 7 and we'd always come to this hole," Swanson remembers. "It was 1970 or so and I remember seeing Jack Nicklaus on this hole, just like it was yesterday."

Pay: $0, but a week before the course closes in late May, Swanson and all the other volunteers get to come out, have a free all-you-can-eat-and-drink lunch under the oak tree and play the course. Golf cart and beer included. And as many holes as you want to play on the par 3 course before your tee time. Oh, and he can buy two tickets for the three practice days every year at $50 a pop. Those tickets were going for $700 each, per day, before this tournament started. Not that he'd ever sell them.

"They treat us like kings here," Swanson said.

The only problem is the nerves. "You're playing Augusta National!" Swanson says. "I mean, I was SO nervous. I had 103 the first year, 93 last year. I hope to break 90 this time."

Information Stand Man -- There's a few of these stands on Augusta National, but the one between 18 and 8 may be the most lively.

"I had a guy come up to me the other day and ask, 'What gate did I come in?'" said a 30-something male volunteer Thursday who asked to leave his name out of it. "I closed my eyes, put my hand to my forehead and tried to do my Kreskin thing, but I couldn't get it."

A few years back, on a practice day, he said he had a lady come up, dragging her 4-year-old, and ask, 'Where is Tiger right now?"

Info man: "He went off early, ma'am, and he's done now."

Lady: "What? No! You have to get him back out here! As soon as possible! My son wanted to meet him!"

Last year, a confused guy looked at the board and saw the traditional Thursday morning grouping of "Nicklaus, Palmer, Player."

Guy: What, you don't know the name of the third guy?

Info man: Player?

Guy: Yeah, what's his name?

Info man: Player.

Guy: Yes.

Yeesh.

Lost and Found Clerk -- The volunteers here are slightly more paranoid than Russian operatives and wanted nothing to do with me, but they did offer up the craziest thing ever turned in -- a set of dentures. And, yes, a man came and claimed them.

[+] EnlargeFounders Circle
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesYou could be the person in charge of helping people get their commemorative photos taken near the map of the United States.

Flower Map Facilitator -- Behind the clubhouse at Augusta National is a mounded map of the United States laid out in yellow flowers. People line up to get their pictures taken there by the hundreds.

Like everything else at Augusta, it runs as smoothly as a Toyko train schedule. There are three photographers, hired by the club, who snap your picture and then hand you a card that you use later to get your photos.

It's great fun. At least once or twice a year -- as happened Wednesday -- some guy proposes marriage there. "The lady just went to pieces," said one guard. "Just fell out."

And sometimes a player such as, say, Fuzzy Zoeller, will come up from behind a group and go, "Can I get in this with you?"

There are many, many more: Pine needle raker, range divot raker, trash spiker, parking pointer, caddyshack cook, player wrangler and others. Most paid jobs are staffed by high school and college kids. Most volunteer jobs are held by adults from all over the country. But there is not -- repeat NOT -- a ...

• Squirrel Trapper -- "That job does not exist," an ANGC spokesman said. "It's something we hear at cocktail parties and it's not true. We do not trap the squirrels and take them off the property."

With service like this, who'd want to leave anyway?

Rick Reilly | email

Columnist, ESPN.com