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Welcome to the Masters, a staple of the billionaire's social calendar

Dan DeFrancesco   

Welcome to the Masters, a staple of the billionaire's social calendar
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Almost Friday! If you're feeling FOMO over missing this week's solar eclipse, you better start making travel plans for the next one in 2026.

In today's big story, we're doing a deep dive into the golf tournament at one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.

What's on deck:

But first, hello, friends.


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The big story

FORE!

Harvard University alumni, Goldman Sachs partners, Birkin bag owners — those exclusive groups are nothing compared to an Augusta National Golf Course membership.

The club is for the 0.1% of the 0.1%, with a membership of roughly 300 that doesn't accept applications and can't be bought, no matter how rich you are.

But for one week a year, Augusta opens its gates to the public. The Masters Tournament, the first of four men's major golf tournaments, kicks off today, write Business Insider's Madeline Berg and Taylor Rains.

This isn't your average golf tournament, though. The Masters is to billionaires what the Waste Management Open is to bros. Since it's almost impossible to check out Augusta National otherwise, the Masters has become a staple of the billionaire's social calendar.

Common folks aren't entirely boxed out of the event, but it's not an easy ticket to grab. Augusta National runs a lottery system for them. The cost isn't too steep — last year's tickets went for between $100 and $140 — but they are incredibly difficult to come by.

On the secondary market, you can expect to spend more than 10x that price. By Wednesday afternoon, tickets for the tournament's first day cost upwards of $1,500 each.

There are also patron badges, which give you lifetime access, but no one really knows how you get one.

The perk of being the most exclusive golf club in the world is not having to worry about making money.

The Masters concession prices are shockingly low. You can get a chicken sandwich, a soft drink, and a bag of chips for under $7. Even in the face of rising inflation, Augusta National's prices have mostly stood firm. (A beer now runs $6 instead of $5. The horror!)

You also won't be inundated with advertising. The Masters only has a handful of sponsors, and doesn't allow on-course signage from them. Sponsors also only get four minutes of commercials per hour during the broadcast. And if you're watching from home, don't worry about paying for the stream.

(BI's Cork Gaines previously compiled a list of other things that make the Masters so unique.)

But patrons (TV commentators aren't allowed to refer to them as "fans" or "spectators"; yes, Augusta National is that particular) have other opportunities to spend gobs of cash.

The course's pro shop, which is the only place to buy official merch, reportedly did nearly $70 million in revenue in 2022 for the week of the Masters.

While eye-popping, it's not entirely unsurprising. As BI's Joe Ciolli, who attended Monday's practice round, said: If you went to the Masters and didn't buy a mountain of swag to show off, did you truly go?


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  3. Stocks are entering a "dead" zone. Investors cheering this year's rally should be prepared for the good times to end, longtime bear Bill Smead said. "Growth stock investing is too popular and is about to enter a 'dead ball' era," he wrote in a recent note to clients.


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  2. Elon Musk's new AI startup is luring investors through special purpose vehicles. Musk is raising funds for xAI at a $15 billion pre-money valuation. According to an email sent this week, some investors are being offered access to the deal through SPVs with high fees.

  3. Emails written by AI tend to include this word. The word "delve" is cropping up in more academic articles. It's a sign something was written by an intelligent language tool like ChatGPT, Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham said.


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The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London.


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