The Sunday before tournament week proper of this year’s Masters was my first experience with one of the most famous golf courses and tournaments on the planet. And every aspect lived up to the hype, and more.

Despite plenty of golf tournament experience and the fact the tournament itself was still nearly five days from getting underway when I drove down Washington road, the first sight and feel of everything Augusta will stay with me forever.

There is of course the small things you have heard of before from anyone who has stepped on the property. Everything bearing a Masters logo, the greener than green grass, the blooming flowers, caddies decked out in white coveralls, the pimento cheese sandwiches (an acquired taste), the list goes on and on.

And where else do you get the chance to watch 90-year-old Bob Goalby and Charles Coody among the Masters champions playing a round with members on Sunday afternoon.

Gary Player was in his element as he took to the course with fellow Masters Champion Mark O'Meara on Sunday. PHOTO: Augusta National Golf Club.

Or a spritely Gary Player at 83 years of age march to the putting the green with Mark O’Meara as they wait for the first tee to clear to continue their round with two members and start telling stories and giving tips to Drive, Chip and Putt contestants and caddies.

The South African revelling in the atmosphere as he had a loud discussion with his fellow Masters champion O’Meara as to whether players should be allowed to use the increasingly popular arm-lock putting method and if the American had “ever seen such baloney in his life” when discussing the green books now used to read putting surfaces.

Then there was the realisation of the speed of the very same greens Player was discussing after watching Jason Day barely breathe on 15 foot putts on the practise green that looked as if they might travel halfway to the hole at first, only to roll out nearly perfectly every time. The Queenslander making eight in a row at one point earning a special mention in my direction from his caddie Luke Reardon.

Although watching Day get to work and Player in his element was an almost mesmerising experience for a golf nerd like myself, conducting my first Masters interview under the famous Oak tree out the front of the clubhouse with none other than our only Masters champion Adam Scott dressed in his green jacket before heading out for 18 holes with his dad Phil was a serious pinch me moment. I have spoken to Adam numerous times previously, almost as much as any other player in the field, but never like this however.

RIGHT: Adam Scott decked out in his green jacket on the grounds of Augusta National taking part in the trophy presentation for the Drive, Chip and Putt on Sunday. PHOTO: David Cannon/Getty Images.

And even the veterans among the Masters media contingent treat the week as something different, something special.

Helpful tips and “you’re going to have a great time” was par for the course in all my interactions both with those I previously knew and had only just met. Geoff Shackelford, one of the more experienced media in attendance and a highly respected voice in the game among them. A look of excitement appearing on his face when I told him it was my first time here, before he covered off his own list of favourite titbits about the event and course that a first timer might need to know.

And the same goes for the experienced players it seems when dealing with those making their first drive down Magnolia Lane.

Sir Nick Faldo played on Sunday with his son and Masters rookie Matt Wallace. The World Golf Hall of Fame member breaking into a broad smile as he excitedly explained the joys of taking a debutant like compatriot Wallace for a practice round and explaining the intricacies of the course.

“It was cool. You’ve got a young kid who is a rookie here and try and show him all the subtleties, and there’s a lot,” Faldo said when asked about showing Wallace the ropes. “You’ve got to look at every flag and know, ok I’ve got to hit it in this section, and that’s the shape of the shot to get into that section. And you can’t then change your mind, you can’t then hit the wrong shaped shot, because you’ll miss that section going the wrong way.

“I think that’s what I did so well, you knew where you wanted to land it, you knew what shape shot you had to hit, or wanted to hit and did it. You can’t stand up there and think I’m going to fade a wedge and then pull it because you could be off the back of a green and you can’t get up and down, and you only hit the ball three paces off line. That’s the thing about here, so you’ve got to feed it into the right spots, which is easier said than done when you’re standing on a side slope with a swirling wind. That’s what it’s all about.”

Faldo’s sentiments about the course are of course things any golf fan has heard, read and seen on television time and time again, but like so many other aspects of Masters week have to be seen in person to be fully understood and believed.

From my early vantage point outside the clubhouse, where the 1st, 9th, 10th and 18th holes are all easily visible, I was struck by multiple differences that can’t be picked up on TV.

The bunker on the right hand side of the first fairway looks enormous in person and together with the imposing tree lines down both sides make the drive, that looked straightforward for those playing Sunday, understandably a nervous one come Thursday that Scott perfectly summed up while standing under the Oak.

“It’s not necessarily the difficulty of the tee shot, it’s more just what it is. It’s The Masters,” he said of his feelings each and every Thursday of Masters week.

One of the many patrons leaving the golf shop with an impressive haul of Masters merchandise on Sunday. PHOTO: Augusta National Golf Club.

The 10th tee shot is regularly mentioned as an important one at Augusta by players, the sweeping right to left dogleg requiring a strong draw from a right hand player. But once again the tightness of the tee shot is magnified once on the grounds, and the physical severity of the elevation change, a constant theme during any first visit to the course, is extreme.

In fact, judging by the amount of patrons, media, caddies, staff and even the tournament players themselves in the huge golf shop and carrying bags and bags of Masters merchandise around the grounds, no one who visited the course on Sunday will have any trouble getting friends to believe they were there.

Also noticeable on 10 tee is the closeness of the cabins that Rory McIlroy found in 2011 on the left, which although close are still almost impossible to fathom have ever been in play for any of the players teeing it up in the event.

Another of the holes that strikes on first view is the 18th and particularly the putting surface, which is significantly narrower than one could have ever imagine.

Beyond the course, the mere scale of everything about the event is staggering.

The number of staff and security, the sheer size of the property, the number of patrons in attendance on the Sunday to watch relatives and friends take part in the junior event and maybe catch an autograph from a legend of the game – or aminated lesson from Gary Player – is almost unbelievable. But it all works like clockwork and is part of what makes this week special.

So to do the rules that ensure the tournament runs smoothly and as the green jacketed members, who are to be spotted everywhere, would like.

Sure, at first not carrying a mobile phone in this day and age feels as though you are walking around without a piece of yourself, but look around and you see golf fans more engaged with the picturesque surrounds and watching the best players in the world, rather than attempting to film a swing, or get the perfect shot of themselves to prove that they were at Augusta National.

In fact, judging by the amount of patrons, media, caddies, staff and even the tournament players themselves in the huge golf shop and carrying bags and bags of Masters merchandise around the grounds, no one who visited the course on Sunday will have any trouble getting friends to believe they were there.

And I have of course already made one visit to that very shop myself and fear for the sake of my bank balance that it won’t be the last before the week is out.