Augusta, GA, is not home to any professional sports teams, but sports are still becoming an increasingly prominent past time for area residents, whether as spectators or participants. When non-locals think of Augusta, many think first of the Masters Tournament. This yearly tournament is hosted each April by Augusta National Golf Club and is recognized as a major tournament on the PGA Tour. In addition to drawing well-known golfers from around the world, the tournament also draws spectators from across the globe, including many celebrities. Tickets are often difficult to come by, increasing their popularity and their cost on third-party ticket resale sites. Many Augusta residents rent out their own homes to attendees and leave the area for the week, much in part to avoid the huge influx in traffic that comes with the event.
Since Augusta National Golf Club is a private – and very exclusive – golf club, most Augusta locals learn to play golf at one of the area’s other golf courses, including West Lake Country Club, Augusta Country Club, and Forest Hills Golf Course or across the river at a South Carolina course such as The River Golf Club. Not surprisingly, despite rarely reaching dominance in other sports, the Augusta University golf team is often nationally ranked, in part due to its relative location to Augusta National.
Beyond golf, Augusta still claims a minor league baseball team. The Augusta Greenjackets (their name is derived from the green jacket each Masters Tournament winner receives) is a 1A farm team for the San Francisco Giants. After playing for more than 20 years at Lake Olmstead Stadium, on Milledge Road in Augusta, the Augusta Greenjackets now play at the all-new SRP Park in North Augusta, SC. This stadium opened in spring 2018 and includes views of the Savannah River from its outfield seats. Lake Olmstead Stadium remains the home of Augusta University Jaguars baseball.
Augusta also offers ample opportunity for outdoor sports, such as running, cycling and canoeing/kayaking. Though there are other area locations to perform these types of activities, the Augusta Canal is a popular place for locals to get outdoors. The Augusta Canal offers four main trials: Towpath, River Levee Trail, Mill Village Trail, and Third Level Trail, as well as multiple side paths. The Augusta Canal also offers multiple points of access for canoers and kayakers, as well as rentals and guides for those still learning the sport.
An additional Augusta-area location offering hiking, wildlife watching, fishing and more is Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Located near Augusta Regional Airport and containing more than 1,000 acres of wetlands and woodlands, the park has multiple hiking trails and opportunities to explore the outdoors. It also offers education and special events.
Like many Southern cities, most Augusta residents claim allegiance to an area college football team. Though Augusta itself is not home to any college football teams, due to its proximity to other area colleges and universities, the Georgia Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks and Clemson Tigers are often named as an Augusta local’s team of choice.
Augusta offers a full range of children’s and adult’s sports leagues. Many of these leagues are sponsored by local businesses in the Augusta area.