2014 Masters: Temporary Elimination of Masters Security Protocols?

Posted on April 12, 2014 | in 2014 Masters, Concession Stand, Golf, Quality, Safety, Sports, Waiting | by
securitas augusta national golf club masters security

Augusta National Golf Club suspended some security protocols on Friday due to crowd backups. Does this mean that some security processes are unnecessary?

The typical Masters security process and protocol is standard but rigorous – no cell phones or weapons, no outside food or beverage, prepare to walk through a metal detector, and on and on. Augusta National prides itself on providing the best fan experience possible, even if that means security protocols at or above those at other sporting events. (They still aren’t as bad as the TSA, though.) There are many stations through which patrons can enter at the front gate to help dissipate the crowd but a significant spike in foot traffic (such as when the gates open or the last golf groups finish up their rounds on the course) this means major backups.

However, on Friday, the metal detector process step was voluntarily suspended in all lines because of the crowds. Because of the stated rules I have never brought anything onto the course or to the entrance gate that is disallowed, but had I done so yesterday I could have slid by without being checked. No emptying of pockets, no checking of carried-in golf chairs, nothing.

So why the temporary suspension of the security protocols? On my way in I asked one of the security personnel from Securitas, the subcontracted security firm used by Augusta National, why the metal detector and emptying-of-pockets step was not being enforced. The representative said they had orders from their superiors to let patrons bypass all the scanners in order to get ticket holders into the gates faster. For an event so focused on doing things right, I’m certainly surprised the club would change course and focus on speed and haste instead of maintaining high quality security (with quality equating to thoroughness).

But this now leads to another question: if security is apparently so critical at a high-exposure sporting event, is it reasonable to now think that those security protocols were over the top and unnecessary? And if they are unnecessary, should they even be included at all?

If they are extra and don’t provide value, then those steps should be eliminated. Otherwise we’re all just suffering from the events of the overprocessing and implementation of unneeded steps.

The club elected to push the quality of the security to the curb in order to expedite the get-patrons-in process, at the risk of weapons or cell phones hitting the course. Maybe they were also assuming lots of folks like me would have already been prudent about leaving those things in the car because we are, in general, decent planners when it comes to big rules like that or have been through the security process so many times at other locations that we’re pre-programmed to comply.

Perhaps there was an unusually large volume spike that caused patrons to be lined up to the street and direct fan safety due to car traffic on the road was the primary reason for violating the security protocol. (I don’t know – I was not in any line when the directive came down and I arrived at the course about 9:00 a.m. – patron spikes are about 7:45 a.m.)

So if Augusta National said “Fan Safety from Car Traffic” > “Security and Stealth Photography”, then high-five to ANGC. Safety should always come first. However, if ANGC said “Fans inside are fans buying concessions” > Security, then this was a bad move and those security protocols should go away.

That said, those metal scanners and empty-your-pockets protocols are back in force today at ANGC.

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