Another thing they’ve mastered at Augusta

At the world’s most prestigious golf tournament, the world’s fastest bathroom lineups

Another thing they’ve mastered at Augusta
Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

If you want to see the world’s most intense concentration of middle-aged men, go to a professional golf tournament. Once there, you can ask yourself questions like: why on earth did I want to see the world’s most intense concentration of middle-aged men? Also, you can pass the time playing a fun game I invented. I call it Which Fat Sweaty Guy in the Stands Really Shouldn’t Be Wearing That Super-Clingy Golf Shirt?

But during the 76th Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club, I saw something I’d never seen before. I’m not talking about Louis Oosthuizen’s double eagle on the second hole, although that was neat. I’m not talking about Tiger Woods becoming a Hulk-style rage monster, snapping his putter in two and finishing his round without a shirt, because he’s saving that for the U.S. Open.

I’m talking about a lineup. A queue. But a queue unlike any other.

During this year’s Masters golf tournament I personally witnessed a massive lineup outside of a restroom that was not for women.

It was a men’s restroom. FOR MEN.

Don’t get me wrong: like most male humans, I’ve waited a minute or two outside the washroom at a hockey game. At football stadiums, I’ve queued a bit for a space at the shiny metal trough (yes, ladies, there’s a trough—and you’re expected to pee into it, right in there with the other men’s pee, because apparently we’re animals now). But this was a bigger lineup. This was the women’s restroom lineup of men’s restroom lineups.

Fortunately, the organizers of the Masters had the foresight to predict how traumatic a lineup of this size could be for male patrons. And they went to ingenious lengths to keep it moving.

Their prudence shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The Masters stands as one of the great sports experiences. The staff is uniformly cheery and competent. By sports venue standards, the food and drink are absurdly cheap: $1.50 for a pimento cheese sandwich, three bucks for a beer. And you’re allowed to dig up and take home all the azaleas you can carry. (Wait, what, you’re NOT allowed to do that? RUN!)

So at first, sure, the lineup for the men’s room seems epic in length. But then you notice it’s moving quickly—very quickly, in fact. How can it be moving this quickly?

There are signs of thoughtful organization. There are ropes to keep the line orderly. There is a friendly greeter to wish you the finest of days. But to experience Augusta National’s groundbreaking innovation in men’s room efficiency, you must step inside.

That is where you’ll find the urinal scouts.

“That one here on the right!” You hear them before you see them. “Now down on the far left!” You come around the corner and glimpse their arms gesturing, their fingers pointing. “Next available urinal: third on the right, sir! It’s all yours! Next two halfway down the left! MOVE! MOVE!”

In larger restrooms, the urinal scouts work as a team, leading patrons around corners, pointing them down aisles, giving GPS-precise directions to newly vacated urinals.

It is not all business for the urinal scout. Some inject levity into their banter. “Don’t cross the streams,” said one. “No peeking,” another shouted, and everyone laughed, although the laugh of the fellow on my right seemed like a rather uncomfortable laugh, as though he’d been caught out. So that was weird. Another time: “Enjoy yourselves, folks—but enjoy yourselves out there. Don’t enjoy yourselves too much in here.” I chose not to explain that one to my 10-year-old son.

I grew fond of the urinal scouts and their upbeat patter. I drank beers to hasten my return and kept asking my kids every five minutes whether they needed to go now. No? How about now? I grew skilled at responding quickly to urinal-based direction and irritated at any guy who failed to hustle to his assigned spot. Come on, buddy—this is precious time we could be using to watch grown men knock a tiny white ball into a hole.

I returned home convinced that urinal scouts are a master stroke deserving of being copied in sports facilities across the continent. Believe me: no intense concentration of middle-aged men is complete without them.