Even the most apathetic sports fan knows about the green hat. Sold exclusively at the Masters—the prestigious golf tournament held annually at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia during the first full week of April—it’s not so much an accessory as a sartorial signal to the world that you were among those lucky “patrons” who either won the lottery or was invited to attend the elite event: an idyllic golfer’s mecca of civility, top-tier vehicles, amazing manners, and classic Southern food—you will not leave this magical, Disney-like place hungry. Considering the social currency it provides, a Masters hat is worth every penny of its $32 price tag.
For the uninitiated, the first major golf championship of the season is celebrated on a global scale for its rich history and traditions, including but not limited to the coveted merchandise, only available to purchase on-site (or via the secondary market at a huge markup). In 2022, the Masters was estimated to collect $69 million in merch sales, according to Forbes, which sports and business expert Joe Pompliano broke down in a tweet to around “$10 million a day, $1 million an hour, $16,000 a minute, and $277 every second.” The club has two golf main golf shops, which sell everything from polos to half-zip pullovers, putter covers, the hard-to-find gnome, and, of course, the green hat.
More and more brands are getting in on the action. Tory Burch, Peter Millar, and Maui Jim have all created limited-edition collections for the Masters. As part of her Tory Sport line of performance-driven activewear, Burch’s cashmere sweaters, icon cardigans, argyle merino crewneck, and gingham pants were particularly big hits this year, along with a special colorblock camera bag emblazoned with an illustration of the Augusta National clubhouse, despite no photos being allowed. Perhaps the merch is so popular because only your haul can attest to that fact that you were there, or at least knew someone who was.
J.Lindeberg even opened its first-ever pop-up during the Masters, where top customers could immerse themselves in the Swedish label’s universe and shop House of J.Lindeberg, its capsule collection designed for wearing on and off the course (think: hoodies, hats made in collaboration with New Era, and custom-made golf bags designed with MacKenzie). All of the pieces exist in limited quantities, so there’s a “get it or regret it” feel, head of design Neil Lewty tells ELLE.com. “Merchandise obviously serves as memorabilia, but because the tournament is so exclusive, it’s impossible to buy elsewhere,” he says. “Merchandise is almost like a badge of honor—you’ve attended and you were a part of something very exclusive in this moment in time.”
Other luxury partners, like Mercedes-Benz, make their pride as a sponsor known by providing VIP guests and players with an electric car to drive to and from the course—quiet luxury at its finest. Each EQE-class model offers heated and massaging seats, scents to choose from (“Mimosa” is ideal for Masters Sunday), as well as a passenger display that can stream content while the car is moving—but sadly not the tournament itself, which could be hazardous depending on whether the player makes par on a hole.
In a world where a person’s value is determined by their number of Instagram followers, if you’re not actually going to the Masters yourself, maybe the merch is the next best thing. You’ll just have to find a really good friend who will buy it for you.
Claire Stern is the Deputy Editor of ELLE.com. Previously, she served as Editor at Bergdorf Goodman. Her interests include fashion, food, travel, music, Peloton, and The Hills—not necessarily in that order. She used to have a Harriet the Spy notebook and isn’t ashamed to admit it.