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(SP) – Augusta National Golf Club completed the installation of artificial turf throughout its 18-hole, 7,435-yard course today just in time for the start of this year’s The Masters. Augusta officials believe the synthetic surface will save more than $3.2 million in course upkeep costs each year.

“Not only is our new FieldTurf surface going to save money, but the bright green fake grass and the white and pink plastic azaleas are really going to pop on television,” said Augusta chairman Billy Payne.

Payne admitted there was initially pushback from some Augusta members about installing artificial turf, but they eventually agreed the change was for the best.

“Do you have any idea how many chemicals are spread over a golf course?” said Payne. “Anyone who thinks golf courses are unspoiled nature are living in a dream world. Our new course doesn’t use a single chemical — well, outside of the thousands of gallons of petroleum used to make the grass.”

This year’s Masters will also feature new artificial sounds.

“The problem with birds is that they don’t always chirp or stay quiet when you want them to,” said Payne. “So we will now pipe soothing bird noises in across the course, as well as some subtle piano music.”

Payne also announced one more change to this year’s tournament developed in conjunction with CBS.

“Jim Nantz will be replaced by a human-like robot,” said the chairman. “I don’t think viewers will notice much of a difference.”

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