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Masters Favourite Holes

By: Golfshake Editor | Fri 31 Mar 2017 | Comments


Augusta National is the most beautiful and iconic of golf courses. With the Masters being the one major to retain the same venue each year, players, viewers and fans across generations have become familiar with many of the famous shots and views that the world's best golfers face every April. 

We've all witnessed incredible moments on this legendary layout, but which of those striking 18 holes are the best? We asked Golfshake staff and ambassadors to identify their favourites, and what makes the first major of the year so special.


Kieran Clark - Golfshake Staff Writer & Editor

13th - Azalea 
 
This is comfortably among the finest par fives in major championship golf, and is demonstrably the best hole on the course. From the tranquility of the tee itself - which is the furthest point away from spectators - the drive is fraught with danger, with the creek running along the left side, and plentiful trees on the right. Augusta National is a tantalising course, the definitive risk and reward layout, and the 13th is the encapsulation of that characteristic, which is often what has defined final round drama.
 
Playing from a hanging lie on the fairway, the dangerous approach is always alluring, but has the potential to derail a back-nine charge. Unfortunately, the increases in driving distance on tour has reduced some of the strategy for a significant portion of the field these days, which the club is actively seeking to address by purchasing nearby land to extend the yardage, but that seems to be missing the point. Azalea is beautiful, iconic, thrilling, and the eventual champion will likely have to succeed here on Sunday.
 
 
12th - Golden Bell
 
The shortest hole on the course, but arguably the best, it's the ultimate thought-provoking par three, with misleading breezes and gusts playing havoc with the players when attempting to select a club in front of the large gallery behind them. Presenting the most psychological of challenges, the creek is ominous and the back-bunker is a popular spot, but the real genius comes from the angle of the green in relation to the tee, which makes things more awkward than would seem immediately obvious on television.
 
Three-time champion Sir Nick Faldo notes that the green itself is essentially in three parts, none easy to makes putts on. Each player in the field would take four pars over the week and move on. From Fred Couples' tremendous fortune in 1992 to Jordan Spieth's crushing disaster 12 months ago, this par three has often played a pivotal role in determining the destiny of the green jacket, and it will do so again.
 
2nd - Pink Dogwood
 
The par fives are crucial to success at Augusta, and the first of them comes early in the round. Following the nervy and difficult opener, this is something of a reprieve, providing the field with the opportunity to kick start their tournament with a birdie. The tee shot is a heavily angled dog-leg from right-to-left, but it's with the approach that the hole opens up visually, providing a stunning view across the property. 
 
Aesthetically, the second has always been a favourite, with the clover-shaped green offering a striking image with just a narrow path through between the two cavernous bunkers on either side. The surface is extremely undulating - almost to the point of gimmickry - but it's an enjoyable hole to watch, where anything can happen, as we saw five years ago when Louis Oosthuizen holed his second shot for an incredible albatros. He ultimately lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff, but it was a classic Masters moment.
 
10th - Camellia
 
Before the tightening and lengthening of the difficult but horrendously one-dimensional 11th, Camellia was historically the hardest hole on the course. It can still bite deeply, however, as Rory McIlroy discovered following that disastrous hook off the tee driving his ill-fated final round in 2011. Much like Pink Dogwood, the fairway breaks sharply from right-to-left down a huge drop in elevation, reducing the yardage significantly, but the huge and sloping green makes playing any approach within close proximity a challenging prospect.

So much of the attraction surrounding Augusta National is purely about the beauty and aesthetics of the place, and few holes are more distinctive than the 10th, with the strikingly large fairway bunker - rarely in play these days - in view from the green. The second hole in any potential sudden-death playoff, champions - most recently Adam Scott in 2013 - have been crowned here, and who can forget the extraordinary putt holed by Ben Crenshaw on route to winning in 1984.


Owen Davies - Golfshake Content & Digital Media Strategist

1st 
 
First tee nerves are in evidence here, even from the finest players in the world and despite being the first hole, it is one of the very best at Augusta. The tee shot is highly demanding, requiring a little fade from the tee to stop running out of room, but anything overdone will find the huge bunker on the right. 
 
Playing uphill, If you put it in position from the tee, birdie is on the cards, but fail to get you driver away and it is not un-common to make double bogey. I love this hole because rarely do you see such an innocuous layout cause so much trouble.  
 
7th
 
The 7th used to be rather mundane, a straight par 4 playing to an uphill green which is guarded by huge cavernous bunkers, it was a smash fest, but the planting of 100's of pine trees either side of the fairway has made it one of the tightest holes on the course. It is now a great risk reward hole with the green gathering balls to the pin, go in with a short iron and there is a brilliant chance of birdie, find the trees off the tee and any number is on the cards. A great hole because any number between a 2 and 7 is possible.
 
12th
 
Simply one of the best par 3's ever created, confusion and chaos can be dealt out in equal measure! I love the fact that it is only 152 yards long, the emphasis is all on distance and ball striking and not just about who can hit their 4 iron 240 yards! Maybe the most famous hole in the world and rightly so. 
 
 
13th
 
Having played one of the best Par 3's in the world, players are faced with one of the best par 5's in the world! Shot making and power hitting are required in equal measure from the tee. Rae's Creek dominates the hole, but it is the topography that makes it truly special. The fairway that helps the tee shot and hinders the second is a brilliant design, the closer you get to the creek, the flatter the lie, such clever golf course architecture is rare. 
 
The green is also a brilliant design, Easy to pitch into, brutal if you go long. The 13th is an absolute classic, it has been the downfall of many and the inspiration for champions, for me it is the ultimate risk reward par 5. 

Derek Clements - Golfshake Tour Writer

No. 11 – White Dogwood

Yards: 505 Par: 4

The start of Amen Corner, and the hole that has seen many players' dreams come to grief. The hole was lengthened by 15 yards in 2006, with some pine trees removed on the right side, although the landing area is still tight. A big tee shot is required to get to the crest of the hill. Ideally, it should be as far right as possible so that you don't have to clear the pond that guards the green. The pond, which is on the left of the putting surface, has claimed many victims over the years, including Raymond Floyd during his playoff against Nick Faldo in 1990. There is also a bunker to the back right. The safe shot is to bail out short and to the right, from where Larry Mize famously holed a chip to beat Greg Norman.

No. 12 – Golden Bell

Yards: 155 Par: 3

One of the most famous par threes in golf, even though it is the shortest hole at Augusta National. The problem is that hole is surrounded by trees, which makes it very difficult to read the wind, or even guage the strength of it. Club selection can range from a 6-iron to a 9-iron. Rae's Creek is in front of the shallow green, with two bunkers behind it and one in front. This is where Jordan Spieth famously came to grief in 2016, hitting two balls into the water. It is also where Tom Weiskopf once ran up a 13 and where Fred Couples' ball defied gravity by stopping on the bank as he won The Masters in 1992. A classic short hole.

No. 16 – Redbud

Yards: 170 Par: 3


The hole is played entirely over water and eventually bends to the left. Two bunkers guard the right side, and the green slopes significantly from right to left. The Sunday pin typically is back and on the lower shelf, and pars from the top shelf that day are rare. A hole that always produces plenty of final-day drama. You will see double-bogeys, birdies and maybe even the odd hole in one. But you will never see anything more dramatic than the chip shot Tiger Woods holed here in 2005 on his way to victory.

No. 18 – Holly


Yards: 465 Par: 4


One of the most demanding and visually intimidating finishing holes in golf. The players now feel claustrophobic as the trees on both sides of the tee have been allow to grow in. The hole is an uphill dogleg to the right protected off the tee by two deep bunkers at the left elbow. Go too far right and you will be playing your second shot from the trees. A mid-iron typically is required to a two-tiered green that has a bunker in front and to the right. The flag will be on the front tie on Sunday - remember Sandy Lyle's bunker shot in 1987? Or Ian Woosnam's winning putt? Fantastic finishing hole where just about anything can happen - and usually does.


Matt Holbrook - Golfshake Ambassador

#1 – The 18th- I have gone with the 18th for a number of reasons. Firstly, the drama this hole has seen over the years, if a golf hole could tell a story this would have a few tales to tell. Secondly, the tightness of the tee shot really tests the nerves of those close to the leaderboard coming down the stretch on Sunday. And lastly the fans (or patrons as they are known) framing the green, meaning that any golfer who can keep his nerve here deserves whatever he gets!

#2 – The 16th This came a close second! When the Sunday pin is set up at the front of the green we get to see a whole lot of drama on this hole. Obviously, I don’t need to go into details about THAT chip from Tiger Wood’s back in 2005 but even as recent as last year with Louis Oosthuizen’s ace. Picturesque to boot!

#3 – 2nd You can probably see a theme now. Another hole that when the correct pin is on offer can offer unprevailed drama ala Louis Ooothuizen’s albatross back in 2012. The back drop looking down to the green is stunning and feed it onto the green in the right place and fans around the world hole their breath as it trickles down towards the pin!

#4 – 13th Whilst not the longest, quite possibly the most demanding of the par 5’s and again home to some drama over the years. Phil Micklesons shot from in the trees off the pine needles spring to mind but has also caused some agony over time with the creek running in front of the green has captured more golf balls than the guy who owns the house to the right of the 1st hole at my home course!


Josh Carr - Golfshake Writer

4. Hole 2

The 2nd hole is an early birdie chance for the pros but the one thing I love about it is the shape of the hole. The tee shot requires a right to left shot and it is interesting to see how tight the pros get to the treeline on pro-tracer. After that, the 575-yard hole drops dramatically to a well-guarded green.

Many of the players will try to feed their ball between the two front bunkers and get the ball rolling with the natural undulation of the green. Louis Oosthuizen’s albatross in 2012 is a great example of this.

3. Hole 12

Part of Amen corner, I think this hole may appear as a strong Masters favourite hole among all golfers. Although relatively short, it is nice to see the players tested so much with a short iron in hand. The strategically placed bunkers and Rae’s Creek only add to the difficulty of this hole, which has caught so many players out – including Jordan Spieth at last year’s tournament.

2. Hole 15

Another par-5 to feature on my list of favourite holes at Augusta National. When the wind is favourable, you will see golfers going for the green in two but they must clear the pond short of the green. This is why you often see players going long and facing a difficult, uphill chip back towards the pond.

For me this is a great hole to watch when you have a few players one or two shots back on Sunday, looking to put their arm in a green jacket come the end of the day.

1.    Hole 11

The 11th hole marks the beginning of Amen corner. This par-4 stands at a staggering 505 yards and is historically the hardest hole on the course, which in turn makes for great viewing. The hole is arguably most remembered for Larry Mize’s chip-in to defeat Greg Norman in a playoff in 1987.

The drive is downhill and left to right, but the real fun comes with the approach. Everything falls towards the pond that protects the left side of the green and you’ll definitely see a number of balls find said pond throughout the week. With a long iron in hand, it can be a very intimidating shot even for the best of professionals. There is just so much danger on this hole that, for me, makes for great viewing as it really makes the professionals think.


Martin Tighe - Freelance Golf Journalist

No. 9 - Carolina Cherry

It might seem a strange choice but the sheer simplicity of this hole makes it one of my favourites.  Firstly, you get the chance to see the players bomb their tee shots to the bottom of the hill using all their strength.  Then, you see the opposite side to the power game as they try and produce a wedge shot of finesse and precision.  The slope from back to front on the ninth green can leave players with horrendous third shots if they dare to put too much spin on the ball.  A brilliant hole.

No. 12 - Golden Bell

An obvious choice in my list.  The hole is just incredible to look at - and thats before a shot is hit.  The drama that this hole has provided over the years could fill a highlights package of its own.  In the modern era its just refreshing to know that a hole doesn't need to be hundreds of yards long to make it challenging.  155 yards and a swirling, unpredictable wind should do the trick.

No. 13 - Azalea

This hole has everything.  The inviting fairway from the tee, the treacherous decision of whether to go for it in two or layup, and the narrow green sandwiched between water and sand.  The permutations on this hole are endless.  The hole can see a player walk off with eagle, reigniting a challenge, or card a bogey or worse, ending all hopes of glory.

No. 18 - Holly

This was a close call between holes 16 and 18.  However, my heart has ruled my head in this final selection.  The memory of Sandy Lyle playing the greatest bunker shot I have ever seen with his trusty 7-iron will never fade.  It was my earliest memory of the Masters and to be honest it would be hard to beat.  Emotion aside, the 18th is one of the finest closing holes in golf.  To the uneducated eye it may seem straightforward - but if you are walking here on a Sunday with the title in your hands, it’s anything but.


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