Like practically everything else on the club's 365 acres, the magnolias have a story. They date to the late 1850s, when the property was a nursery and owned by the Belgian nobleman Baron Louis Berckmans. Along both sides of the dirt driveway, Berckmans' son planted magnolia seeds, which had grown into full-sized trees by 1931, when club co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts first saw the grounds. Because the trees' branches were so long and low to the ground, making it difficult for cars to pass safely, they toyed with moving the main entrance, according to David Owen, author of "The Making of the Masters."
Roberts gave great attention and care to the magnolias and trees on the course, often consulting with forestry professors and reading about tree care. Were he still alive, Roberts likely would be dismayed to hear that magnolias typically have a lifespan of 100 to 150 years, according to Donna Rayfield of the Georgia Arborist Association. Replacements likely wouldn't be too great a problem for Augusta National's honchos.