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How a November Masters Will Look

By: | Mon 09 Nov 2020 | Comments

THE Masters normally takes place in April, with the azaleas in full bloom. For the first time in its history, the tournament will be staged at Augusta in November. How different is it going to be?

The first thing to say is that the average temperatures in spring and autumn are similar – from the upper-40s to the upper-70s. On average, there’s more rain at this time of year, and northerly winds are the norm, which means the field can expect to be playing into the wind at the first and on three of the course’s four par fives.

In April, the world’s best golfers play on rye grass and putt on bentgrass greens. In November, rye overseed is introduced while the Bermuda grass is shaved.

Past Masters champions Zach Johnson and Trevor Immelman, and former world No1 Luke Donald have all played Augusta at this time of year.

“Playing in October is very different to April because the Bermuda grass will be fighting with the overseed,” Donald said of the 7,475-yard course.

But he said the SubAir system that controls the temperature and moisture on all the greens and many landing areas in the fairways, would make the course play as similar as possible to April.

“And the greens are always pure so they will be fast and true. But there would certainly be some Bermuda grass fighting with the overseed,” Donald said. “The fairways will be a little bit softer because you’re coming off a very warm summer in Georgia, which goes through September, so you’re just starting to cool off and with that heat you have to water the course a lot. I just think the course will play a bit longer.”

Johnson, who held off Tiger Woods to win in 2007, said it’s difficult to predict how the course will play.

“My guess is that we will see more Bermuda, but it will still be Augusta National and it will still be pure. It will still be green and it will still be a major championship,” said Johnson. “And the playability will be dictated by Mother Nature, not the grass. It’s Augusta National. It’s going to be pure. You’re going to have great lies; the greens will be pure. It still will be unbelievable.”

But it is going to look different, with the vivid spring colours being replaced by the autumn shades of yellow, orange, red and brown.

“In the spring, all the colour is popping and it’s very lush,” said Immelman, who won in 2008. He has played Augusta many times in the autumn. “Now, in the fall, you’ve got great colour, too. It’s just different colours. You have that fall orangey, reddish thing going on and it’s still breathtaking.

“We’ve become so accustomed to the fact that The Masters signals the fact the major season is starting, it’s spring for most of America. It signals that we’ve come through a long winter and those who had been locked in by winter are feeling the warmth of spring. The Masters in the autumn will feel a little different. But the world is going through such a tough time right now, and everybody is so unsure how the next little while will pan out.

“The Masters and all the great events in sports would be so inspirational for us to start building back up.”

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