To give you a closer look at Augusta National and the Masters, we’ve asked a few questions to All Square member Romain Langasque from France. Romain participated in last year’s Masters as an Amateur and told us why everything is so different at Augusta, what makes the Masters so unique and his personal best moments.
Augusta is a very special place because it is very exclusive. The course is closed to almost everybody and few people can enter the front gate, even if you try to pay a lot of money it is still difficult to get access to the course. I only knew Augusta from watching the Masters on TV for many years. I talked with other French players who had played the Masters like Victor Dubuisson, Gregory Havret and Thomas Levy, so I knew that it is a special course with fast and tricky greens, a great atmosphere and a lot of history. In 2015 I had the chance to compete in The Open at St. Andrews. Without any doubt The Open is a fantastic event but the Masters was different and more emotional for me. It was a dream come true.
When the front door opened for the first time I felt like I was entering a different world. When you drive up Magnolia Lane you quickly realize that everything is perfect at Augusta. The moment I saw the clubhouse for the first time is something will stay with me forever.
I stayed for one night at the Crow’s Nest following the amateur night on Monday to get the full experience. I have very good memories from that night even though I did not sleep well. For the rest of the week I stayed in one of the two houses we rented with my family, friends and girlfriend. Most of the amateurs do not stay at the Crow’s Nest because it is a pretty small place with 6 beds. My goal was to play a good tournament and that’s why I wanted to prepare in the best possible way.
The course is incredible, especially the greens. The fairways are much less drastic than I would have expected from watching on TV, making the tee shots not too difficult. I hit my driver on almost every hole. You have to be very careful with your approach shots and not be overly aggressive. After the second round I was so happy to have made the cut that I tried to attack every pin in the third round, which was a big mistake but a very helpful experience. At Augusta it is better to have an 8-meter uphill putt than a 2-meter downhill one. Many people pretend that Augusta National requires a lot of experience but I think I proved that with good practice rounds and patience you can make it around there.
All week long the atmosphere is exceptional and emotional. I played the course on the Wednesday and Thursday before the Masters week. At that time there were no patrons on the golf course. On Friday and Saturday I chilled and did not play at all. I played a couple of practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday. As soon as the Masters week begins, many spectators are out on the golf course and the atmosphere was not the same as a few days before. The excitement really picked up.
Bernhard Langer needs no introduction. He is a great champion and a very respected personality in the golf world. He was very kind to me all week long and said some nice words to me after the second round. His way of playing the course was very impressive. After each drive he was around 40 meters shorter than me but he nailed all his iron shots close to the pins, amazing. You can see that he knows his game by heart and plays to his strengths. He has a very clear game plan in his head and executes it on every hole.
My best moment definitely came on the 15th during my second round when I holed that 58-meter wedge for an eagle. I didn’t try to take the green on in two and decided to lay up. The ball bounced once on the green and then went straight in the hole. At first I was kind of shocked by the reaction and the roar of the fans. It took me a few seconds to realize that I had actually holed the shot. It was a unique moment for me and my hands were still shaking on the 16th tee box.
It’s not easy to choose a favorite hole at Augusta because they are all really nice. Considering my personal experiences, I’d have to go with 15 and 16.
Every time I entered the back nine I tried not to think about Amen Corner. There is no easy hole at Augusta so I try to play the course hole by hole. The only very difficult hole at Amen Corner is the par 4 11th. The 12th is a beautiful short par 3 but you only have an 8 or 9 iron in your hands. I even hit a Pitching Wedge in my last round. The green is very tiny so you need to be extremely accurate with your tee shot. During the third round I was just inches away from hitting the perfect shot but it ended up in the bunker and made a double bogey.
One of my favorite moments is Bubba’s wedge shot out of the woods during the 2012 playoff. I saw where his ball was lying and I can’t believe how he managed to get it on the green from there. Tiger’s incredible 12 shot win at the 1997 Masters is another moment I will remember for a long time.
My ultimate goal last season was to finish in the top 15 and gain my European Tour card. The week after the Masters I played a Challenge Tour event in Egypt and at the beginning it felt like I was playing a practice round with my buddies. I quickly managed to regain my focus on the week ahead and accomplished my goals. The experience at the Masters gave me a lot of confidence and showed me that I am able to compete with the best players in the world. It helped me play well throughout the season and earn my playing rights on the European Tour.
Wow that’s a tough final question but I would choose the Ryder Cup in France. I am sure it would be a unique moment in my career to participate in the Ryder Cup and win it in my home country.
Connect with Romain Langasque on All Square: https://www.allsquaregolf.com/golf-users/romain-langasque.