Visit the town that supplies Augusta National Golf Club's sand
Though the Masters tournament is played in Georgia, North Carolina plays a unique role in this annual spring tradition. One of Augusta National’s most distinctive features is the bright white sand that fills its 44 bunkers. But contrary to popular local lore, the sand is not feldspar, or quartz that contains other elements. Since the 1700s, feldspar and quartz have been mined from the Spruce Pine Mining District in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. While the area mines feldspar for aluminum, the quartz is discarded, which is what prompted Masters co-founder Clifford Roberts to see an opportunity to use the mineral in the 1975 tournament. The quartz sand looks great, making the course appear bright and colorful, and is so pure that it plays better than other types of sand. In addition to seeing North Carolina quartz at the Masters each spring, you can celebrate and collect your own gems, minerals, crystals and fine jewelry at the North Carolina Mineral and Gem Festival in Spruce Pine each August.
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