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

Cork Gaines   

The owner of a 1,900-square-foot house next to the Masters golf course kept turning down millions of dollars to sell
  • Augusta National spent $200 million buying up property around the course.
  • Some homeowners became instant millionaires.

Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia has bought up much of the land that borders its private grounds.

According to a 2019 story in The Wall Street Journal, Augusta National spent over $200 million purchasing over 100 properties covering 270 acres from 1999 to 2019. Those additions 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, refused to sell — even as the offers increased.

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 couldn't buy.

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

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

"Money ain't everything," Herman added at the time.

Herman died in 2019, according to Graig Graziosi of The Independent, but Elizabeth still lives in the house, according to a local real-estate agent who spoke with Insider about the house.

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. As of June, it has an estimated value of $365,000, according to the real-estate database Zillow.

The couple 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 stopped 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

William Hatcher once owned properties in the lot and initially held out, telling Golf Digest in 2010 that Augusta National "low-balled" him. After seeing other properties being purchased around him for an average of $400,000 a 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 Hatcher's properties each year, said living in the parking lot wasn't that bad, except for the lights that would turn on at 4 o'clock 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 Thacker family has cashed in before on the expansion

Augusta National gave Herman Thacker's brother, Jerry Thacker, an offer he couldn't refuse, and he sold the house and two other properties for $3.6 million. According to, one of the houses was said to be one of the nicest in town.

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 and hosted their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, remained unsold as of early 2023.

That did not stop an official from the club from popping by the house every so often, with Herman Thacker telling that a course representative stopped by "every so often" to keep expressing interest in the house — and that he politely turned him away every time.

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

Emmett Knowlton contributed to this report.

Correction: June 12, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misidentified William Hatcher as Herman Thacker's brother. The earlier version also stated that the Thackers "raised" their grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the house. There is no evidence that those children ever lived there.

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