Gnome fever at The Masters as desirable souvenir sparks shopping frenzy

The Master's merchandise shop offers some of the most sought-after gifts for golf aficionados

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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Gnome fever at The Masters - I was not expecting this. - Photo Nick Tarratt
Gnome fever at The Masters - I was not expecting this. - Photo Nick Tarratt

Published: Fri 12 Apr 2024, 6:09 PM

We decided to visit the famed Merchandise Shop at The Masters and join a long queue that nearly stretched back to the driving range.

The merchandise offering is a bit special at The Masters – unlike other events and activities – it is only available at Augusta National Golf Club.

Pin flags, shirts, jackets, caps, mugs, markers, pitch forks and pins are all typical purchases for friends and family. It is a brisk business the size of which, financially, is hard to imagine.

Throughout the grounds, patrons can be seen carrying merchandise in carrier bags as well as large clear plastic bags for the more serious purchasers. As we arrive we see serious merchandise ‘professionals’ returning to the car parks to store their goodies – without the inconvenience of carrying everything all day.

The 2024 edition of The Masters Gnome. - Instagram
The 2024 edition of The Masters Gnome. - Instagram

The car parks are a healthy walk to and from the heart of the tournament and Augusta is recognized by all who have ever attended to be a tough walk. A good idea in our opinion.

All the queues are moving smoothly and are well organized without any thought of jumping lines by any of the patrons. The talk in this queue at the front is all about gnomes.

We had never heard of gnome tradition.

The gates and doors open at 8 am and apparently within an hour of each day the gnome shelves are empty.

The Masters gnome was introduced as a sale item at The Masters in 2016. Each year a new edition is produced with a different personality.

This year the bearded gnome is dressed in blue plaid slacks, a blue Masters sweater, a striped tie and a white Masters bucket hat. He’s carrying his own set of clubs.

They have become collectors’ items and this year retail at $49.50. and each patron is permitted to buy only one gnome. There are also smaller gnome clocks that retail at $30 each.

One of these little wonders was bought by a member of our group, but from the Clubhouse Pro Shop as we were fortunate to have some privileged access.

At the end of the day as we return to the car and our motel we excitedly open up our phones – and search for gnomes on the internet.

We read all about the history and stories of the gnomes.

The 2024 gnomes were already selling on eBay at $300 plus. Further research revealed that older gnomes from previous years were up for grabs at thousands of dollars.

Just one caveat is that they are required to be in their original boxes and wrapping to hold their value.

So here we are with a resting gnome in our motel room.

What next?

The purchase of merchandise is very inviting – everything looks so nice and relevant and why not shop until you drop at The Masters!

We are already discussing how the gnome was going to get home to Dubai! It will get crushed in a suitcase or can we carry it on the flight as hand luggage?

It seemed such a good idea at the time of buying so let’s follow the story of our gnome in days and weeks to come.


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