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The Best Holes to Watch at Augusta National

By: | Mon 08 Apr 2024

Augusta National is a thing of rare beauty and offers unique challenges to the world’s finest golfers. It now measures 7.521 yards. Originally designed by Alister MacKenzie, it has been lengthened over the years but the course is still essentially the masterpiece created by MacKenzie. See The Best Alister MacKenzie Golf Courses to Play Near You.

Here are the holes to look out for as the Masters drama unfolds: 

2nd: Pink Dogwood - Par 5, 575 Yards

A classic risk-and-reward par five. Find the fairway from the tee and it is easily reachable in two. With the flag at the back of the green, the ball will feed towards the hole, setting up a great eagle opportunity. In 2012, Louis Oosthuizen holed his second for that rarest of birds - an albatross. But find the fairway bunker from the tee and you have no chance of getting there in two.

4th: Flowering Crab Apple - Par 3, 240 Yards

An absolute brute of a par three. It started life as a 190-yard hole but has now been extended and if the wind blows everybody in the field will happily walk off with a par. It plays downhill but that doesn’t make it any easier, and if you miss it left you are going to have to perform miracles to secure a three. Great hole.

10th: Camellia - Par 4, 495 Yards

The 10th is one of the toughest holes on the course and is radically different from Alister MacKenzie’s original design, with both the tee and green having been moved. When the course opened, the 10th measured 430 yards. This is the hole on which Rory McIlroy came to grief in 2011 - it is absolutely crucial to find the fairway from the tee.

11th: White Dogwood - Par 4, 520 Yards

The start of Amen Corner, the 11th used be a shorter, more severe dogleg, but it has been lengthened and straightened. The pond to the left of the green has ended the hopes of many players, including Seve Ballesteros when Jack Nicklaus won in 1986. It was also the hole at which Larry Size broke Greg Norman’s hopes by holing that unlikely chip. Ahead of the 2022 Masters, the 11th tee was moved back 15 yards and to the left, and some trees down the right side of the fairway were removed. 

12th: Golden Bell - Par 3, 155 Yards

It may only measure 155 yards, but Golden Bell has ended the hopes of more golfers than any other hole on the course. The problem is that it is set in an amphitheatre surrounded by huge trees, and that makes it extremely difficult to work out the wind direction. It is played over a pond to a narrow green that slopes from back to front. The real challenge comes from the swirling wind, making club selection extremely difficult. Jordan Spieth’s hopes ended with a seven here in 2016 when he twice found the water. Tom Weiskopf once required 13 shots to play the hole and in 2011 Rory McIlroy required four putts. In 2020, Tiger Woods was the defending champion. During the second round he hit three shots into the water, then found a bunker and finally two-putted for a scarcely believable 10.

13th: Azalea - Par 5, 545 Yards

Another risk-and-reward hole. The Azaleas after which this hole is named provide a spectacular backdrop to what is a comparatively easy, downhill par five. Find the fairway and you will be expecting a birdie. But it has been extended by 35 yards. The ideal line is to attempt to cut the dogleg. There will be eagles here - there will also be plenty of players who come to grief here.

15th: Firethorn - Par 5, 550 Yards

Again, this is a par five where players will be looking for birdies and eagles. The water in front of the green used to be a stream, but this has become a pond and the bank on its far side has been made slicker and steeper. It was extended by 30 yards in 2006 and a further 20 yards was added in 2022. Hit an approach with too much spin and it will find a watery grave. In 2018, Sergio Garcia had to lay up with his second shot in the opening round. His approach hit the green, spun back and finished in the water. He dropped another ball and did the same thing again. And another. And another. Incredibly, the Spaniard found the water five times and signed for a 13, equalling the worst score on a single hole at The Masters.

16th: Redbud - Par 3, 170 Yards

The Masters Augusta National

Another par three that has witnessed some incredible drama over the years. There is a pond to the left of the two-tier green. When the pin is on the top level, pinpoint accuracy is required from the tee, otherwise the ball will roll down the slope and leave a huge uphill putt. But when the hole is cut on the lower level, as it will be on the final day, it sets up for plenty of birdies and even the odd hole in one. In 2005, the hole was the scene of Tiger Woods’ incredible holed pitch when he finished over the putting surface, pitched the ball to the top of the hill and watched his ball trickle its way down the slope and into the hole.

18th: Holly - Par 4, 465 Yards

This closing holing plays sharply uphill and calls for an accurate drive. There are trees to the right and bunkers to the left before an approach to a two-tier green, which is well protected by bunkers. As the trees have grown over the years it has narrowed the gap into which the drive is struck. Any approach hit beyond the hole on the final day will spin back and find its way towards the cup. A fabulous finishing hole.

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Tags: the masters Masters Golf Previews daily picks Augusta National

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