Don’t Sleep on Sports in Augusta, GA
Augusta, GA, may not be home to any prominent professional sports teams, but there are still many ways to be a sports fan in Augusta, whether you prefer to be a spectator or a participant. Ask a non-local to think of sports in Augusta, and most will likely mention the Masters Tournament. This yearly golf tournament is hosted each April on the grounds of the Augusta National Golf Club and is a major tournament on the PGA Tour. In addition to bringing popular and up-and-coming golfers from around the world together on one course, the tournament also draws spectators from across the globe (and a celebrity sighting is quite possible). Attending the Masters Tournament has grown increasingly popular in recent years, and tickets are often hard to come by, increasing their popularity and their cost on third-party ticket resale sites. Notably, to support the large amount of visitors that come to the area for the week-long event, many Augusta residents rent out their own homes to attendees and leave the area for the week to enjoy their own Spring break vacations and avoid the traffic that comes with the event.
Augusta National Golf Club is a private golf club and membership is quite exclusive. With that in mind, if you’re more interested in playing golf, most Augusta locals sharpen their skills at one of the area’s other golf courses, including Augusta Country Club, West Lake Country Club and Forest Hills Golf Course or they travel across the river at a nearby South Carolina course such as The River Golf Club. Due to its relative location to Augusta National, the Augusta University golf team is often nationally ranked, despite rarely reaching notoriety in other sports.
Augusta is also home to a minor league baseball team, the Augusta Greenjackets. The Greenjackets, whose name is derived from the green jacket each Masters Tournament winner receives, are a 1A farm team for the San Francisco Giants. After establishing a 20-year tradition of play at Lake Olmstead Stadium, located on Milledge Road in Augusta, the Augusta Greenjackets now play at the SRP Park in North Augusta, SC. This stadium opened in spring 2018 and you can view the Savannah River from multiple areas in the stadium. After a game, you can wander outside the stadium for additional food and shopping options only a short walk away.
As many mid-sized Southern cities, local residents are more attached to college football than its professional counterpart. Augusta itself is not home to any college football teams, but that doesn’t stop most residents from claiming allegiance to one of the SEC football teams located a game day’s distance away. Typically, the Clemson Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, or South Carolina Gamecocks are named as an Augusta local’s team of choice, though it’s not unheard of to hear “Roll tide!”.
Sometimes it’s just time to get outside, burn some calories and clear your head. When that is the case, Augusta offers access to a variety of outdoor sports, such as cycling, running and canoeing/kayaking. The Augusta Canal is a popular place for locals to get outdoors. The Augusta Canal offers four main trails: Towpath, River Levee Trail, Mill Village Trail, and Third Level Trail, as well as multiple side paths, suitable for running, walking and cycling. The Augusta Canal also offers multiple points for water access for canoers and kayakers, as well as rentals and guides for those still getting comfortable with a paddle.
Augusta also offers a full range of children’s and adult’s recreational sports leagues. Many of these leagues are sponsored by local businesses in the Augusta area.