The Making of the Masters Green Jacket is Shrouded in Mystery. But is it Made in America?

Before hitting his first tee shot on Thursday at The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., defending champion Sergio Garcia spoke of playing well and “defending the green jacket.”

The green jacket is synonymous with a win at The Masters, arguably the most prestigious of professional golf’s four major tournaments. Every year since 1949, The Masters winner has been presented with his own green jacket in a ceremony shortly after the final putt is made.

The green jacket that Augusta National Golf Clubhas awarded its Masters winners and club members has historically been as American-made as the tournament itself.

Since 1967, the Augusta National green jackets have, for the most part, been produced by the Hamilton Tailoring Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. In more recent years, the tropical-weight wool blazer has also been supplied by Bobby Jones Apparel, located in Duluth, Ga., and the historic Poole & Co. on Saville Row in London.

In keeping with the conservative nature of Augusta National members, exactly where each individual jacket is manufactured is a close-kept secret. Hamilton Tailoring began producing the green jackets in 1967, but founder Ed Heimann would not confirm the Ohio-based retailer still supplies them. Augusta National staff members also refused to talk, although a 2017 article on the club's website confirmed Hamilton Tailoring makes the jackets.

So, we consulted an expert on the green jacket, Ryan Carey, who along with partner Bob Zafian, launched Green Jacket Auctions in 2006 to capture the golf memorabilia market.

“Historically, they’ve all been made in the United States, but I have seen some green jackets with the Henry Poole name on them,” Carey said. “Of the other 15 or so producers that have made them over the years, all of them are in the U.S.

“Hamilton in Cincinnati has made the jackets. They’ve made 90-plus percent of the jackets since the ‘60s, but there are other companies that do make them.”

The single-breasted, three-button center-vented jackets are a brilliant rye-green known as Pantone 342. The logo-stamped brass buttons are made by Waterbury Button Co. of Cheshire, Conn., while the breast-pocket patch is produced by A&B Emblem Co. in Weaverville, N.C.

The jackets are reserved for members of Augusta National and Masters champions. Club members must leave their jackets in the Augusta National clubhouse and can only wear them when they are on the Magnolia tree and azalea adorned premises. Masters champions can take the green jacket home following their big win, but must return it to the clubhouse staff after the following year’s tournament, where it will remain until they return for Masters tournament week.

Carey has had a close look at many green jackets in the 12 years since he and Zafian began New Jersey-based Green Jacket Auctions, an online auction for golf memorabilia collectors. The official Masters green jacket is the Holy Grail of golf collectibles.

“We’ve auctioned off about a dozen green jackets,” Carey said. “Most of the jackets that come up for auction are ones that families of deceased members or deceased Masters champions have, and they end up putting it up for auction.”

Green Jacket Auctions holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a Masters green jacket when it sold the jacket of champion Horton Smith for $682,000 in 2013. Horton was the inaugural Masters tournament winner in 1934, and he came back to win again in 1936. Augusta National did not award the green jackets to tournament winners until Sam Snead’s victory in 1949, but the previous winners, including Smith, were awarded jackets retroactively.

“Masters stuff sells for really good money and has big following with golf fans,” Carey said. “We do have collectors that may be interested in more of the early history of the game that might care more about the Open championship, but the Masters gets the biggest ratings every year on TV.”

“People want to collect Masters memorabilia not just because it’s The Masters, but it’s been dominated by Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, so it’s been won by the right people as well,” Carey added. “If you like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, you’re going to have to get some Masters stuff. The Masters checks all the boxes.”

Indeed, the list of past Masters winners at the annual Champions dinner on Tuesday evening reads like the Hall of Fame of professional golf. Among those who picked up their jackets and attended the event were Woods, Mickelson, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Raymond Floyd, Bubba Watson and host and defending champion Garcia.

These Masters winners also received a gold coin and, of course, the first-place prize money which will be announced on the eve of Sunday’s final round. This year’s winner is expected to pocket more than $2 million out of the total prize money of more than $11 million.

But you don’t hear the players talking about the gold coin or the prize money.

It’s the green jacket, which costs less than $500 to produce, that Masters contenders refer to when talking about winning America’s top golf event.

The green jacket will be awarded following Sunday’s final round of play at historic Butler Cabin at Augusta National. The winner from the previous year will help this year’s winner slip into the jacket, a tradition that has become a symbol of the best in American golf.

And nothing exemplifies it better than an American-made green jacket.


Reposted from AAM