Augusta National Course Guide and the Best Shots in Masters History – Front 9
All Square 6min read • 6 Apr 2016
There is no major championship like the US Masters, that’s something we can all agree on. The fact that the Masters is played on Augusta National is one of the most unique aspects. It means every generation has their own memories of great shots played around the course through the years.
The Hallowed Turf of Augusta National
Augusta is one of the most visually stunning courses around. The precision of the green keeping along with its position as the ceremonial start to the season for many golfers, makes this a special week for us all. In honour of one of the most exciting weeks on the golfing calendar here is a guide to the course and the greatest shots played on each hole.
Hole No. 1 – Tea Olive – 445 yards- Par 4
The opening tee shot is not the easiest on this slight dogleg. The bunker on the right will require a 300-yard plus drive carry to clear and a conservative shot to stay short of the trap will leave an uphill approach to the undulating green.
The ceremonial first tee shot is the one of the great Masters traditions. This year, with great sadness, we will be without Arnold Palmer. It will be an especially emotional opening to the event this year.
Hole No. 2 – Pink Dogwood – 575 yards- Par 5
The second hole is a chance to settle early nerves with a birdie, or better. A solid drive with a touch of draw, or fade for Phil and the other lefties, sets-up a chance to reach the green in two. You will see many players use the run off area to the right of the green here as the downhill lie on the second shot may cause it to leak a bit.
Getting off to a quick start is exactly what South African Louis Oosthuizen did in 2012 as he got an albatross on the second hole. This was the fourth albatross in Masters history. It was also the first ever to be televised. The incredible 4-iron ran almost the entire length of the green before dropping! Incredible, just don’t watch the failed high five with his caddy after the shot.
Hole No. 3 – Flowering Peach – 350 yards- Par 4
Your tee shot here is largely determined by the pin position. A driver from the tee will set you up for any approach except if the pin is tucked to the left. This pin will require a more conservative approach for your opening shot. This is one of the easier holes on the course and a chance for a birdie.
Charl Schwartzel, Mr Oosthuizen’s compatriot, played the best shot played here as he holed-out from 114 yards to eagle this hole on his was to victory in 2011. This is the only eagle ever recorded at the hole in Masters history.
The first of the par 3 holes at Augusta and it’s one of the toughest holes on the course. With a historical stroke average of 3.24, it’s a stout wee hole. Two large bunkers are on duty to protect the narrow opening to the green. A back right tee position requires a soft landing long iron with the greatest of precision.
In 1983, during ‘the best golf of my life’ and on his way to his second green jacket, Seve Ballesteros hit a 205 yard 2-iron to tap-in range on this stout par 3. The Spanish artist of golf also chipped in for par on the final hole just to put a cherry on the top of his victory.
Hole No. 5 – Magnolia – 455 yards- Par 4
This hole was inspired by the famous Road Hole at St Andrews and is the 6th hardest hole in Masters history. The uphill left to right dogleg and two prominent fairway bunkers will require 315-yards of carry to be cleared. That is if you want to set-up an attacking approach opportunity. The green slopes from back to front with a solitary large and deep bunker sitting awaiting any overzealous approaches. Two large mounds on the putting surface make this a tough green to handle.
Given that this year marks thirty-one years since Jack Nicklaus won his final green jacket it is apt that he is on this list. Incredibly The Golden Bear eagled this hole twice in the same tournament in 1995! A 5-iron from 185 yards in the first round followed by a 7-iron from 165 in the third round sealed this stupendous entry into Augusta lore.
Hole No. 6 – Juniper – 180 yards- Par 3
This is a hole for the gin fans and is a stunning downhill par 3 which requires only a mid to short-iron from most players. There is a large bunker in front of the green but the main defence on this hole is the undulation of the green. If you don’t hit the meat of the green then the run-offs will help your ball off of the putting surface. Depending on the pin position this hole will play host to many three-putts, you’ve been warned.
You will likely never have heard of Billy Joe Patton, but in 1954, as an amateur, he almost caused a huge upset by defeating Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. He surged into the lead on the sixth hole with a hole-in-one on the final day.
Hole No. 7 – Pampas – 450 yards- Par 4
Lengthened in 2002, this is a driver from the tee for most players. The fairway is narrow and will require a solid tee shot to set-up an approach to a well-guarded green. Three bunkers on the short side and two long make your approach shot a tricky one. The green slopes from the back to the front so uphill putts could set-up great birdie chances.
Although the hole was very different then, Byron Nelson drove this green during the 1937 US Masters which became his second victory in the tournament. The hole measured only 340-yards at the time, a huge drive nonetheless given the technology of the day, and set the legend up for a birdie.
Hole No. 8 – Yellow Jasmine – 570 yards- Par 5
This is historically the second easiest hole on the course. From the tee you need to avoid the pair of fairway bunkers on the right. This then sets-up a blind and uphill second shot to a bunker-less green, you’ll see many shots run up the right of the green and filter on leaving eagle opportunities.
The second albatross in Masters history was recorded on this hole in 1967. A 248-yard 4-wood from Bruce Devlin takes the historical best show here. He said that this was the only good shot he hit all day. What a way to write yourself into the history books though!
Hole No. 9 – Carolina Cherry – 460 yards- Par 4
This hole is all about the green. A tee shot down the right opens your approach and reduces the risk of a third shot from the sand. The false front to this green will test your spin control. Anything short will trundle down the fairway leaving a tricky third shot back up the hill.
Cue one of the most famous putts in Masters history. We’re back in 1986 again. Jack is standing over a 12-foot putt that he has to make if he’s to have any chance at winning. Nicklaus had to curtail his preparation for the shot twice as roars erupted around the course due to eagle pitch-ins from Tom Kite and Seve Ballesteros. Legend has it that Nicklaus turned to the gallery beside him and said ‘let’s see if we can make the same kind of noise here’ before boxing the putt and going on to win. Pure Nicklaus magic.