In 1934 at the height of the depression the world was in turmoil. Most golf courses in the U.S. were folding and closing their doors. President Roosevelt was entrenched with the U.S. auto workers, trying to prevent the largest strike in the country’s history and German Chancellor Adolf Hitler was building his empire. Bobby Jones who retired from golf after winning the Grand Slam in 1930 at the ripe old age of 28 had decided to come out of retirement and introduce the world to his new masterpiece, Augusta National. On March 22nd 1934 the first tee shot at the Masters was struck by Robert T. Jones Jr. on what is now the 10th tee at Augusta National, The Masters had begun. The first Masters champion was Horton Smith from Detroit, who went on to win The Masters again in 1936 and also captured 2 U.S. Opens, The Open Championship in St. Andrews and the PGA Championship.
The first Green Jackets were given to club members only in 1937 to identify them as reliable sources of information to guest and to let waiters know who should get the bill at dinner. Sam Snead received the first Masters Champion green jacket in 1949, and with the victory became an honorary member of the club, as was all past champions.
The Green Jacket color is a shade of green called “Pantone 342”, nicknamed, “Masters Green” and out of respect no manufactures in the U.S. make a jacket in this color. The color was envisioned to match the color of the rich spring rye grass at Augusta National by Clifford Roberts. The stark yellow represented the rites of spring in the south from the yellow crocuses that lined the course.
Traditionally the previous year’s winner presents the Green Jacket to the new champion each year. After 1 year every winner’s jacket returns to the club never to be worn outside of Augusta National again. The Masters is a prize that few capture in their golf career and the winners are revered as the very best. In golf, the Masters is the ultimate major in the game and the Green Jacket has become one of the most recognized symbols in sports today.