Augusta National Golf ClubGolf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield
Designer: Alister Mackenzie and Bobby Jones in 1933 (At least 12 other architects have worked on the course since its initial opening)
Cost: Private (walking caddies provided)
Phone Number: (706) 667-6000
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Augusta National's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 2604 Washington Road, Augusta, GA 30904
Accolades: Ranked 2nd on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Best Courses in America list and 1st in the state of Georgia. Annual host of The Masters during the first week of April.
What to Expect: Having never played the course, I can't speak with first hand knowledge of what it is like to tee it up on this holy ground. However, in 2012 I had the opportunity to attend a day of the Masters and regard it as one of the most enjoyable days of my life. Augusta National is a club like no other in the world and upholds the honors and traditions of the game with strict importance. Respect for members, club personnel, and the course is expected at all times; no exceptions. The course closes after Memorial Day and reopens in the fall upon the completion of any projects deemed necessary for the upcoming Masters. From what I hear, the experience at Augusta is unmatched. Video archives of the previous Masters are available to watch in the evenings when not on the course. Want to see Nick Faldo win the Master back-to-back in 1990 and 1991? Just ask, politely, and your wish will be granted. Want to relive Tiger's memorable twelve stroke victory? Not a problem. When playing at Augusta, a caddie will carry your clubs bag and help read greens as you stroll along the most immaculate and healthy turf in the world. There are only two sets of tees at the course (neither or which have slopes or ratings), the Members tee and the Masters tee, further confirming Augusta's mission and commitment to hosting the greatest golf tournament in the world. Simply put, Augusta National represents Bobby Jones' dream and is the holy grail of golf.
Signature Hole: 12th - 155 Yard Par 3 - One of the most famous holes in the world and the heart of Amen Corner! This gorgeous hole can be as treacherous as it is beautiful. With Rae's Creek fronting the green and a pair of bunkers to the rear, absolute precision is necessary to hit this green in regulation. Located at the corner of the property and bordered by majestic trees, the winds can get swirling in this portion of the course and cause havoc with club selection. With its extensive history and unmatched beauty, Augusta National's 12th hole ranks among the finest holes in golf.
By the Numbers:
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: 16th - 170 Yards - Redbud has yielded more aces during the Masters than any other hole at Augusta and is yet another beautiful offering. The green features a large pond to the left and three bunkers around the putting surface. A spine is the middle of the green feeds balls left which creates mega drama when the pin is placed on the left side of the green in the traditional Sunday placement. During practice rounds at the Masters this hole has become an entertainment spot where players intentionally skip their tee shot off the water and onto the green. One of the most memorable moments on this hole came in 2005 when Tiger Woods had missed the green to the left before chipping his approach up onto the putting surface only to see it hang on the edge of the cup for a moment before collapsing into the hole and propelling Tiger to victory.
Best Par 4: 10th - 495 Yards - The large iconic bunker in the middle of the fairway on this long par four is the last remaining distinctive stamp that is left of Dr. MacKenzie's work. The attractive edging on the bunker is inspired by camouflage from Alister's days in the army and used to be much closer to the green. When Perry Maxwell reworked the hole in 1937 the green was pushed 50 yards back so that the sprawling bunker is now more of a visual intimidation than it is a hazard to contend with. The hole plays well downhill and setups up for some dramatic results, as has been the case in recent years as the 2nd playoff hole during the Masters. It was on this hole that Bubba Watson hooked his approach shot from the trees onto the green before two-putting to victory. Most recently, this is where Adam Scott converted a birdie putt to edge out Angel Cabrera to become the first Australian to earn the coveted green jacket. This hole was also the beginning of the end for a young Rory McIlroy that hooked his tee shot into the trees before taking a triple bogey and watching his Masters dream walk away. Love it or hate it, the 10th hole at Augusta is the pivotal beginning of golf's most famous back nine.
Best Par 5: 13th - 510 Yards - Other than perhaps the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, no other par five in the world is more highly regarded than Augusta's famous 13th. Brilliant in design, the hole banks from right to left with the fairway sloping left towards Rae's Creek. With the ball above your feet and creating a natural draw, the green calls for a ball to fade into the putting surface over Rae's Creek while managing to avoid the hillside of bunkers to the rear. Tee balls that draw around the corner significantly reduce the yardage into the green yet ball that stay to the right, shy of the trees, setup for a great angle to the putting surface. Phil Mickelson's bold and miraculous approach shot from the pine straw on the upper right side of the hole in 2010 has become an iconic image in Masters fan's minds. One thing is for sure, this hole always plays an exciting roll in the final outcome Sunday afternoon at the Masters.
Birdie Time: 15th - 530 Yard Par 5 - One of the things that makes Sunday afternoon at the Masters so exciting is the risk/reward nature of the reachable par fives. The 15th plays up to the crest of a hill where players are then greeted with a downhill view of the green completely fronted by a pond. A lone bunker sits to the right of the putting surface and the drop area off to the left. The green is twice as deep on the right side as the left and a pond rests well beyond the putting surface in the event an approach shot comes in too hot. If you can't reach the green in two, there is a flat area to layup to on the left side of the fairway which will setup a short chip and an excellent birdie opportunity. The most recent drama at this hole occurred Friday afternoon in the 2013 Masters when Tiger Wood's 3rd shot ricocheted off the flag and into the water. In a temporary mental lapse, Tiger took an illegal drop which originally was deemed legal. However, following his remarks in an interview after the round, the committee deemed the drop inappropriate and Tiger was assessed a two stroke penalty the next morning. In terms of birdie time, the hole played the most strokes under par in 2013 while yielding 16 eagles and 118 birdies compared to 143 pars.
Bogey Beware: 11th - 505 Yard Par 4 - The beginning of Amen Corner, this par four measures just five yards shorter than the par five 13th. A big drive is required to the top of a hill before the fairway begins fading right and then finally banking slightly left. Rae's Creek rests on the left side of the green and wraps around the back instilling fear into players as they hit their approach from the fairway that tilts left. Birdies are very rare at the 11th hole, the most famous of which was Larry Mize's improbable 140 foot chip that found the bottom of the cup and won the 1987 playoff over Greg Norman. Bogies (or worse) outnumbered birdies nearly 4:1 in the 2013 Masters; bogey beware indeed!
Final Cut: Grade A+