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The owners of a 1,900 square foot house next to the Masters golf course keep turning down millions of dollars to sell

Cork Gaines   

The owners of a 1,900 square foot house next to the Masters golf course keep turning down millions of dollars to sell
  • Augusta National has spent $200 million buying up property around the course for two decades.
  • Some homeowners have become instant millionaires.

Over the past two decades, Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia has bought up much of the land that borders its private grounds.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Augusta National spent over $200 million purchasing over 100 properties covering 270 acres since 1999. Those additions have nearly doubled the size of the course and made many property owners instant millionaires.

Off the northwest corner of the club sits a free parking lot, Gate 6-A, a stretch of empty land that was once a fully lived-in neighborhood. The club spent $40 million to buy and bulldoze the homes, offering the residents prices too enticing to turn down.

One family, however, refuses to sell — even as the offer increases.

For a story on, Steve Politi tracked down the Thacker family of 1112 Stanley Dr., a property adjacent to Gate 6-A and the only one that Augusta National's money can't buy.

Despite regular million-dollar offers from club officials, Herman and Elizabeth Thacker don't want to leave their home.

"We really don't want to go," Elizabeth Thacker told in 2016.

"Money ain't everything," her husband, Herman, added.

Herman died in 2019, but Elizabeth still lives in the house, according to Graig Graziosi of the Independent.

The house, built by the Thackers in 1959, is about 1,900 square-feet, has three bedrooms, and sits on about two-thirds of an acre. It has an estimated value of $348,000, according to the real-estate database Zillow.

The couple built the house in 1959 and watched as their neighborhood, once green with plenty of space for backyards and swing sets, vanished. Once a year, when the Masters rolls around, the area fills up with cars.

According to one local real estate agent, the house has become legendary among the golf fans.

"The mystery and allure of the property is something that everyone talks about every year," Peter Larson of Summer House Realty told Insider. "As I walk into The National year after year, I typically have someone visiting for the first time and it is something that they always point out and have questions about."

The Thackers never minded the crowd, Politi reported. Sometimes, a fan will stop by and greeted the couple on their porch, complimenting their landscaping or asking for gardening tips.

Here is a view of the house from Google Street View, with Augusta National in the background.

Others refused to sell in the past but eventually gave in

Herman Thatcher's brother, William Thatcher, once owned four properties in the lot and initially held out, telling Golf Digest in 2010 that Augusta National "low-balled" him. After seeing all the other properties being purchased around him for an average of $400,000 per house, he suspected something else was going on instead of just a free parking lot for patrons at the tournament.

"My spies tell me the club may build nine new holes here," Hatcher said at the time.

John Pirample, a ticket broker who would rent one of William Thatcher's properties each year noted that living in the parking lot wasn't that bad, except for the lights that turn on at 4:00 am each morning the week of the tournament.

"Great big lights, up high, shining in the bedroom. It's like the Martians have landed," Pirample told Golf Digest.

One woman, who initially told Augusta National she wanted to stay in the house until she died but eventually sold, agreed about the lights and noise.

"I could do without the lights and the generators and all the noise," Kittie Baker told Golf Digest.

The Thatcher family has cashed-in before on the expansion

The Thatchers know that the house won't be there forever. Even Herman's brother sold his home, said to be one of the nicest in the town.

After William Thatcher rejected the club's initial offer, he put his house up for sale hoping for a premium price from somebody who wanted a house next to the course.

Eventually, Augusta National gave him an offer he couldn't refuse and and he sold the house and two other properties for $3.6 million. Herman and Elizabeth Thacker owned a second property across the street, and they sold it to the golf club for $1.2 million.

But 1112 Stanley Dr., the home in which they raised their two children, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, won't be bulldozed anytime soon.

That hasn't stopped an official from the club from popping by the house every so often.

"He'll come by here every so often, and he'll say: 'Just want to let you know we're still interested in your property,'" Herman told "And we'll tell him the same thing again."

The location does have its perks. One of their grandchildren became fond of golf and is now a professional. Scott Brown, 39, plays on the PGA Tour but he has yet to qualify for the Masters.

Emmett Knowlton contributed to this report.

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