When it rains in Augusta ... you play golf with Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg unleashes a shot at Forest Hills Golf Club, a course designed by legendary golf architect Donald Ross. Courtesy of Jason Sobel

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There are plenty of things you can do during a weather suspension at the Masters Tournament.

See how many pimento cheese sandwiches you can eat without throwing up. Spend your life savings in the merchandise tent. Take a swim in Rae's Creek.

Me? I played golf with Snoop Dogg.


In town to perform at Wednesday night's inaugural Augusta Jam, Snoop hit the links at Forest Hills Golf Club, a venerable Donald Ross-designed course just down the road from Augusta National.

First things first: Snoop isn't a golfer. Or at least he wasn't before he showed up, got a quick lesson and used a hesitant swing to actually get the ball airborne a few times.

We played two holes in intermittent rain, part of a nine-person scramble that ranked a few notches below the Masters in terms of competitive desire. Snoop might not be a star golfer, but he was clearly the star of this show.

He gleefully waved to a quartet of unsuspecting middle-aged golfers on an adjacent hole. He got a kick out of being advised about a dogleg. ("That's me!") He asked what it meant to make a birdie. After one shot in which he made contact -- and yes, there were some where he didn't -- Snoop said, "Hey, you've gotta start somewhere." Following another shot that carried the pond on a par-3, he started crooning: "Somewhere over the rainbow, balls will fly ..."

He was silly, he was goofy, he was playful -- until we finished.

As part of a small roundtable conversation, Snoop was asked some serious questions about the state of the game and offered up some serious answers.

"I feel like me being here today is bridging the gap and showing that golf could be cool if you open the door to some of the coolness," he said.

He isn't wrong.

Snoop pointed out that the biggest events in football, basketball and baseball are often permeated by entertainers. While we could argue that golf's famous followers often participate in pro-ams alongside the game's best players, he makes a salient point about the sport needing to be more involved with celebrity culture.

"Golf needs it. It's missing. It's the last piece of the puzzle," he said. "Even look at hockey -- they had me come DJ the All-Star Game this year. I brought a component of hip-hop to hockey. Golf is the last sport that's lacking in bringing in the celebrities and bringing in the cool. This is the only sport that lacks that component. When you come to golf, the only superstars are on the green.

A marriage between golf and hip-hop shouldn't be a stretch. The game is trending younger these days, with many of the game's best players under 30 and with a keen liking for the genre. After his first PGA Tour victory at Torrey Pines earlier this year, Jon Rahm of Spain revealed that he initially learned English by listening to songs from Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.

Snoop didn't stop there, either.

"I think that if golf was pushed and promoted in the inner cities, there would be more Tiger Woodses; there would be more exceptional athletes who come from the inner cities that would master this game because they would concentrate and they would focus and they would want to be great," he said. "They would put in the time and effort to be great. I just don't think it's being pushed.

"Just like tennis. Nobody was pushing tennis in the 'hood until the Williams family made it famous and showed you could be a great tennis player. Look how many young black tennis players there are around the world right now, inspired by them. So it's just all about the input and the impact. Golf is a great sport that takes time and preparation, just like any other sport.

"I feel like if it was taught and represented, I feel like there would be more guys at the Masters who look like me."

Before he left the course for the day, Snoop wanted to make one putt. Just one. He lined up a tricky downhill 8-footer and missed to the left. Then he tried it again and missed to the right. Then again, and again, and again. He took about two dozen swipes at the ball with a borrowed Scotty Cameron putter, each one coming closer and closer without dropping into the cup.

When one observer commented that the Dogg had been bitten by the bug, Snoop admitted it. He enjoyed the puzzle of figuring out how to get the ball into that hole.

"I thought I could do it," he said. "Because I'm athletic, I thought I could go out there and just swing at the ball, but it was a reality check. It's not that easy."

Finally, he rolled it in. The man who'd never really before played golf raised his arms in exaltation, celebrating as if he'd won a green jacket at the tournament just down the road.