National Geographic : 2003 Apr
On the way to school, Marquis Kendrick stops for breakfast at a cafe owned by his grandmother, Willie "Miss E" Brewer. A caddie mural adorns the out side. Her heroes-Mandela, King, and Malcolm X-are enshrined inside. "I told Marquis that when his generation comes up with three heroes, I'll put their pictures up." she rents from a white real estate appraiser, Jack Minor, Sr. "Over there is the Jessye B. Norman Amphitheater, by the river ... beautiful ... and look, it's the new school of fine arts," she says with pride, driving by a modern red brick edifice on 12th Street near Telfair. The school is a public magnet school, one of the best in the state, with an equal number of black and white students. Score another victory over absurdity, par for today's Augusta. A tournament badge for the four-day Masters is worth whatever the market will bear, thousands of dollars. But on the opening day of the Masters, it costs only $28 to play 18 holes at the Patch. As Lourdes and I arrive, we see golfers on the course ducking as a Cessna on approach buzzes overhead. Probably carrying Masters customers. The ducking is understandable, as one green sits beneath a landing pattern to the airport next door. One group playing the Patch is made up of the Smiths, father Jimmy and grown sons, Greg and Jerome. Jimmy was once stationed at nearby Fort Gordon. Jerome works at the Castleberry Foods plant, a primary blue-collar employer along with the Sweetheart paper cup factory. "We would've had to get dressed up to go to the National just to see a prac tice round," he says. "Up to the early sixties, black folks couldn't play the Patch, either," says a graying Richard Marshall. "Took agitatin'." Richard is doing all the talking between him and Charlie Choice. "We caddied at the National. All kinds of golf courses around here," Richard says. "Forest Hills, Three Oaks. Did we ever play Augusta National? Yep. Weren't supposed to. Evenings, near dark, after caddying, we played. Learned how. Heard of Jim Dent? From here. Ex-caddie. Used to be eight to ten black American golfers on tour. Now it's just Tiger Woods." People in zip 30904, surrounding Augusta National Golf Club and the Patch, aren't all that much on the high-hat anymore, no matter what per suasion of head happens to be under it. Old paradigms are being subtly transmuted, a social alchemy that makes Augusta novel, in its own quiet, deceptive way. 0 She marveled that the same place could pro duce Woodrow Wilson, the God father of Soul, and the Patch. There's more on 30904 at nationalgeographic.com/ ngm/0304.