Buying this Masters merchandise aids a great cause

AUGUSTA - A few miles from Augusta National’s storied grounds is a different sort of Amen Corner.

The Goodwill store at Washington Road and Furys Ferry Road collects Masters merchandise throughout the year to stock a special area in time for incoming golf fans. Prices for the men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, accessories like hats and visors and knickknacks like the cups above are priced higher than typical Goodwill gear. But these prized items command a premium - and benefit a most worthy mission.

“We collect Masters merchandise year-round. Holding onto to it until a few weeks before Masters and putting it out has been very advantageous,” said DeWayne Cuffie, vice president of retail operations. “Since we have started this process of holding onto the merchandise about four years ago, the interest from the public has increased year over year.”

To be clear, Goodwill is not offering a guarantee of authenticity and does not officially promote the goods as “Masters” items. (Augusta National brass is about as casual with its branding as the NFL is with “Super Bowl.”) And as is the case with other items at Goodwill, the Masters merch is not in perfect condition. You’ll probably want to run your new (to you) T-shirt, polo or sweater vest through the wash and maybe hit it with the iron. But be careful with that iron, as one of the photos below warns.

As with other Goodwill locations, the one closest to Augusta National provides job training and career opportunities while allowing people to find a new life for no longer needed goods - and giving shoppers lots of bargain opportunities.

This location goes beyond the typical Goodwill, though. Adjacent to the store is Helms College, where students can train for careers in health services or hospitality. You can sample the culinary students' handiwork in the casual onsite cafe called Hire Grounds (hire, get it?) or enjoy fine dining at Edgar's Grille. It's named for Edgar J. Helms, the Methodist minister who founded Goodwill in 1902.

Culinary students from both the Augusta and Macon locations of Helms College also will take part in preparing delicacies at Augusta National this week.

"People know Augusta for The Masters," student Michelle Towler told WRDW. "Being a small small part of that its a huge, big deal."

Here’s a selection of the Masters items on display this week: