Masters Memories: Historic Photos From Augusta National

By James A. Frank

Ben Crenshaw at the 1984 Masters

 

It’s not unreasonable to compare Leonard Kamsler with Arnold Palmer. Both were very good at what they did—Kamsler as the dean of golf photographers, Palmer as being Palmer—beloved by all, and with a good record in the majors, particularly The Masters.

While shooting for the likes of Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, the Masters Journal, and other publications, Kamsler worked the tournament for 40 consecutive years, from 1963 to 2002, amassing a library of more than 200,000 images (it’s currently for sale). Only the club itself has a larger collection.

I’ve known, and worked with, Leonard for nearly 35 years and can attest that his stories are often as good as his photographs. With the annual rite of spring just days away, we’re presenting a little peek at his portfolio to get you even more excited for this year’s Masters to begin. But not without a few words from the other “King.”

“The best picture I ever took there? 2001. Tiger on the final green. I figured out what lens to shoot from the press tower so I could get both sides of the green. That time of day at Augusta the sun is in and out, in and out, but I needed the light to be the same on both sides so it wouldn’t look funny. And it worked out.” (Note: This amazing image is actually two images put together so you see Tiger approaching the final green from the right and sinking the final putt.)

Tiger Woods at the 2001 Masters

 

The near misses often made better stories…

“One year, I arranged for another photographer to use a blimp the week before the tournament to shoot the holes. He was using it but had to answer nature’s call so he tied the blimp to the back of a golf cart while we went to pee. While he was away, a gust of wind came along, untied the whole rig, and the blimp was off toward Savannah.”

 

“Another time, I was supposed to shoot the most difficult greens at Augusta, which meant showing the undulations. After 9 in the morning the sun gets up and you don’t see them. You have to shoot early. But the pins aren’t put in the greens until the first group comes up and are then yanked out after the last group is done, which I found out the hard way. So I went to the greenskeeper, told him my situation, and asked for a flag I could take around early, put in the holes, and shoot. I didn’t get two holes done before I was assaulted from all angles by security. Seems it hadn’t been cleared at the top and my pin was taken away. I did get some shots, though.”

He did get some shots, indeed. Enjoy a selection below:

The 12th green at Augusta National Golf Club

Lee Elder at the 1975 Masters

Arnold Palmer at The Masters

Ben Hogan at the 1967 Masters

Seve Ballesteros at the 1980 Masters

Roberto De Vicenzo at The Masters

Jack Nicklaus at The Masters

Jack Nicklaus at the 1963 Masters

Magnolia Lane at Augusta National Golf Club

Lee Elder at the 1975 Masters

Ben Hogan at the 1967 Masters

Clifford Roberts at the 1972 Masters

A locker in the Champions Locker Room at Augusta National Golf Club
 

Byron Nelson at The Masters

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What is your favorite Masters memory? Let us know in the comments below!