The Masters is arguably the most iconic golf tournament in the world serving as one of the four men’s major golf championships in professional golf every April in Augusta, Ga. Fortunately for several Auburn University College of Human Sciences students working across various options in the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management, the 2023 Masters Tournament provided memories of a lifetime but most importantly, the chance to gain real life work experience in a world-class setting that was second to none.
While the Masters is all about showcasing the best golfers in the world, the Augusta National Golf Club prides itself on attention to details and excellence, predominately when it comes to hospitality for players and patrons who attend the major golf championship every year. Because of this, Augusta National turns to Auburn University and students within the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management to work the Masters Tournament and provide an experience like no other.
From March 31 through April 10, Maggie Mayfield, a senior studying hospitality management with an option in culinary science within the College of Human Sciences, stayed on the grounds at Augusta National Golf Club located roughly 245 miles from Auburn’s campus where she was back for her third consecutive year to work the tournament. In 2023, Mayfield’s primary job was working as a line cook.
“I was a line cook and I specifically worked with our commissary kitchen which is a production kitchen in the back of house of the clubhouse and our role is we help do all the prep work for the four kitchens upstairs,” Mayfield said. “Those include the Founder’s Room, the Library, the Trophy Room and Terrace which are the four main restaurants and dining options that members have the opportunity of eating at on the property. I also worked on their special events team so we put on the Women’s Amateur brunch, the Drive, Chip, Putt brunch in the Founder’s Room as well as other large sponsor dinners for AT&T and IBM. I had the opportunity to cook some of the side dishes and helping prep the main entrees to be cooked and the service of that. Our team is also in charge of the winner’s dinner the Tuesday before the tournament starts and the championship reception which happens on Sunday after the jacket ceremony.”
While the days are long and shifts include being on your feet for many consecutive hours, Mayfield’s hard work didn’t go unnoticed as she was awarded a chef’s coat to honor her skills and commitment in helping run a successful kitchen. The gifting of Chef’s coats came back in 2023 after taking a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, one to two students per kitchen are awarded a chef’s coat adorned with the iconic Augusta National logo in similar fashion to the symbolic green jacket presented to the winner of the Masters Tournament each year.
“They take the time to analyze the growth of the students, the leadership skills that they have and the potential they have within the industry,” Mayfield said. “That includes their trustworthiness, their skills and how you run particular units and the successfulness of the individual.”
While Mayfield worked in the food sector at Augusta National, Will Hyche, another Auburn University senior who is studying event management within the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management, has worked as a server in the hospitality suites at Augusta National for the last two years.
“I would say everything at the Masters no matter what position you’re in it’s all going to circle back to your hospitality,” Hyche said. “The people you meet, the connections you make all lead back to that. But me personally, I was a server where I worked directly in the hospitality persona so serving people their food in a timely manner in the Delta Air Lines International suite.”
Hyche said the main key while serving is attention to detail like refilling drinks and removing plates from the table without having to ask permission all while keeping an intentional focus on the tables you are serving. More important, Hyche said working at the Masters is an opportunity to build relationships and connections in a place not many people will visit in their lifetime.
“You can build a great family in the matter of one week,” Hyche said. “The employees at the Masters are just so caring and they really want to teach you. You’re also there to learn how they do things but also learn to cultivate yourself to grow in your career field of hospitality. It’s all in the way that you really put your mind to it and apply yourself you can come out with an amazing experience. You don’t even have to know golf because the Masters is much more than that.”
Dr. David Martin, associate professor in the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management, helps lead the program and experience every April. After filling out an application and going through an interview process, College of Human Sciences students have the unique opportunity to work at the Masters.
“My favorite part was having the opportunity to work very detailed in the events we were able to help prepare for,” Mayfield said. “The Champions reception is one of my favorite parts of the week due to the fact that the excitement continues to grow throughout the week even when you’re exhausted from working 15-20 hour days. But, the people are what really makes it amazing. The kitchen that I’ve had the opportunity of working in the past three years it helped me grow and helped teach me what it truly means to thrive in this industry because it’s a hard industry. They’re some of my best friends and mentors and I’m so thankful to have worked with them.”
For more information on working at the Masters, visit jobs.masters.com For more information on the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management within the College of Human Sciences, visit humsci.auburn.edu/hosp