To whet your appetite for 77th The Masters (just 15 days to wait!) here’s an A-Z guide to the first of golf’s four major tournaments which takes place at the Augusta National Golf Club:
The second shot at the 11th hole, all of the 12th, and the tee shot at the 13th at Augusta are nicknamed “Amen Corner”, a stretch largely defined by the presence of Rae’s Creek. It originates from author Herbert Warren Wind in the 1958 edition of Sports Illustrated article about The Masters that year. 26 years later in a Golf Digest article Herbert explained that he wanted a catchy phrase like baseball’s “hot-corner” or American football’s “coffin-corner” to describe where some of the most exciting golf had taken place that day. Thus “Amen Corner” was born.
Bubba’s Miracle Shot
On the 2nd playoff hole in 2012, Bubba Watson bent his approach shot from the trees at the par-4 10th hole to 15 feet. In Bubba’s own words “My thought process was never how tough this shot was, my thought process was let’s hook this 40 yards and hit it on the green and let’s two putt and make par. I hooked a 52 deg wedge off pine straw where you could easily slip. For me it was easily a top 10 shot I’ve ever hit, to pull it off at that moment made it number 1 and to put on the green jacket made it number 1.”
The science behind Bubba’s “miracle shot”, hit during his play-off with Louis Oosthuizen.
It was Ben Hogan who first suggested and hosted the initial Champions Dinner in 1952. The idea is simple – the previous year’s champion gets to choose a menu for a meal for all of the previous winners on the Tuesday night. Over the years meals have included haggis from Sandy Lyle in 1989, paella from José María Olazábal in 1995, cheeseburgers from Tiger Woods in 1998 and elk and wild boar from Mike Weir in 2004. However the former champions aren’t forced to eat what the defending champion selects. If the current champ’s taste isn’t the same as the other Masters winners then they can choose off Augusta National’s normal menu.
There has only ever been three players to successfully defend their Masters title; Jack Nicklaus in 1966, Nick Faldo in 1990 and Tiger Woods in 2002. On each occasion it was the present chairman of Augusta National who handed over the Green Jacket as the usual procedure is for the previous Champion to help the new Master Champion into their Green Jacket.
The 34th president of the United States was Dwight D Eisenhower – a man who was not only a fanatical fan of The Masters but was also an Augusta National Club member. He first joined in 1948 and has a tree on the 17th and a cabin named after him. The pine tree is around 210 yards from the tee, is 65 feet high and between 110 and 125 years old. Eisenhower hit the tree so often from the tee that he asked that it be cut down – the request was rejected by the then chairman Clifford Roberts.
Final Round – 1986
At the age of 46 Jack Nicklaus was reaching the end of his very successful career as a professional golfer. So there weren’t many who were even considering the Golden Bear as a serious contender to take the title. His victory from four shots back will always go down as one of the Masters greatest ever moments. He played the final ten holes in seven-under, which included an eagle-birdie-birdie run on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes. This was to be Nicklaus’ 18th and final Major victory.
Is Jack’s final round at the 1986 Masters the greatest round of golf ever played?
The 12th hole was described by Jack Nicklaus as “the most difficult par-3 in tournament golf”. Measuring just 155 yards, it plays over the dreaded Rae’s Creek and is made trickier by the swirling wind, which makes it very difficult to choose the right club. The highest score ever made at Augusta during The Masters was on this hole when Tom Wisekopf took a 13!
Jack Nicklaus described this hole as “the most difficult par-3 in tournament golf”.
The 10th hole, Camellia, is officially the hardest of the 18 holes at Augusta. The 495-yard par 4 has an average score of 4.32! A close second is the shortest hole on the course, the 12th checks in at 3.30 shots per hole. The two “easiest” on the course are the par-5’s 15th and 13th which measure 4.79 and 4.80 respectively.
This monster of a par-4 measures just shy of 495 yards!
After returning from a walk through the woods on the eastern section of the grounds at Augusta National, the then, General Eisenhower informed Chairman Clifford Roberts that he had discovered the ideal place to build a dam if the club would like a fish pond. Ike’s Pond was built and the dam located exactly where Eisenhower had recommended it should be.
Ike’s Pond gets the spotlight every year during the Masters Par-3 Contest, which concludes on holes that play around the pond.
Bobby Jones was the most successful amateur player ever, winning 13 Majors which included his unique Grand Slam of the US Amateur, US Open, The Open and Amateur Championship in 1930. Later that year he retired from competitive golf, aged just 28. Along with Clifford Roberts, Jones founded Augusta National and played in The Masters on an exhibition basis until 1948. His highest placed finish was T13th in 1934.
K J Choi
At the 2004 Masters Choi took just 30 shots on the opening 9-holes on his second round – this equalled the tournament record for a first-9 score which was initially achieved by Johnny Miller, 1975, and later repeated by Greg Norman in 1988, in 2009 Mickelson also managed to shoot 30 on the first-9.
Nick Price and Greg Norman share the course record of 63 and in 1997 Tiger Woods shot the lowest ever aggregate over the four days – just 270 shots (or 18 under par).
Left Handed Golfers
Those golfers of a left-handed persuasion have had superb success since Canadian Mike Weir became the first “lefty” to win The Masters in 2003. This was immediately followed by Phil Mickelson’s victory in 2004, 2006 and then 2010. In 2012, Bubba Watson became the third left-handed golfer to lay claim to a green jacket.
Phil is the most successful lefty to have played at The Masters. Can he make it 4 Green Jackets to tie Tiger?
The Augusta layout favours a right-to-left shape, and as it’s easier for a “lefty” to control a fade than it is for a “righty” to control a draw it makes sense that a left-hander might find the course slightly easier that their right-handed counterparts.
The main driveway which leads from Washington Road to the course’s clubhouse is named Magnolia Lane. The name stems from the 60 magnolia trees which flank either side of the drive; each was planted by the Berckmans family in the 1850s. Magnolia Lane is 330 yards long and was paved in 1947.
There were formerly 61 trees along the road, but a severe thunderstorm on April 4, 2011, the night before practice day, felled one of the 61 magnolia trees.
The Golden Bear has won more Masters than anyone else. The first of six came in 1963 and he was presented with his final Green Jacket an unbelievable 23 years later in 1986, when he also became the oldest ever Major winner, aged 46. He also managed 16 top-10 finishes and made the last of his competitive appearances at Augusta in 2005. He is now an Honorary Starter, along with Player and Palmer.
Masters titles make up one third of The Golden Bears Major victories. He’s won 6 Green Jackets in total.
One Shot, One Hole
21 is the number of aces that have taken place during the Masters event: one at the 4th, four at the 6th, three at the 12th and 13 at the 16th. Ross Somerville made the first at the 16th in 1934 and the most recent was by Ryan Moore who aced the same hole in 2010. 2004 saw both Padraig Harrington and Kirk Triplett hole their tee shots on 16 in consecutive groups.
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This unbelievable occurrence took place at the 2004 tournament on the 16th hole.
The Par-3 Course is the site of the annual Par-3 Contest, which takes place on the Wednesday of Masters Week. The “little course” was designed by George Cobb and Clifford Roberts, opening for play in 1958 and hosting the Par-3 Contest since 1960. Today the 9-hole, par-27 layout measures 1,060 yards. Winning the Par-3 Contest is seen as somewhat of a jinx as no winner has gone on to win the Green Jacket the same year.
75 Aces have been seen in the history of the contest and it has been won a total of three times by Irishman Padraig Harrington.
A tradition and a curse – no-one who has won the par three contest has gone on to win that year’s Masters.
Don’t expect any “Get in the hole’s” or “Mashed Potato” shouts and screams at Augusta, the Patrons (at Augusta, they’re called Patrons, not fans) are always on best behaviour and all are proper golf enthusiasts.
However don’t get the impression that the crowd won’t show any passion. In 1986 en-route to a memorable victory the Golden Bear went eagle-birdie-birdie on holes 15, 16 and 17, setting off what might just have been the loudest gallery roars in the history of golf.
Don’t expect any “Get in the hole’s” or “Mashed Potato” shouts and screams at during The Masters.
The par-3 16th measures 170 yards but can require anything from a short to medium iron dependent on the wind. The traditional Sunday pin position is one of the trademarks of this hole – tucked to the left side; it can lead to amazing results for balls that trickle down the slope; however this also brings the water more into play.
The par 3 16th at Augusta is a fantastic birdie chance on Masters Sunday and one of the best viewing spots on the course.
Redbud was the scene of one of the most famous shots in Masters history – Tiger’s chip in for a birdie two, on his way to winning the tournament in 2005.
Shot Heard Around the World
The shot that put The Masters and Augusta National firmly on the map was Gene Sarazen’s albatross two at the par-5 15th in 1935. It was referred to as “The shot heard around the world.” Just before the famous shot he was three behind, but after holing his 235 yard 4-wood he was became level. This shot propelled him into a 36 hole play-off against Craig Wood the following day, which he would win by five strokes.
Tiger currently sits tied 2nd with Arnold Palmer for most Green Jackets won throughout his career and considering he has another 9 years before he is the age at which Nicklaus won his final Masters title, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Tiger surpassed the Golden Bear in the years to come. However it is not just the fact that Woods has four Masters wins to his name, but the manner in which they have come about and the importance of one in particular outside of the golfing world that means Tiger will forever be associated with this great tournament.
Tiger’s blowout 12 shot victory in 1997 saw him equal or break endless Masters records along the way including becoming the tournament’s youngest ever champion, setting a new mark for best 72 hole score and winning by the largest margin. In doing so he also became the first player of African descent to win the Masters which had far reaching social significance in the game of golf.
Tiger is one of the most successful players in Masters history, but it looks like Jack Nicklaus will remina top dog with 6 Green Jackets to Tiger’s 4.
Future wins would see the completion of the “Tiger Slam” in 2001 and arguably the greatest shot in golf’s history with that chip in 2005. Should Tiger succeed at Augusta this time out he will move into second on the all time Masters wins list and will be within touching distance of Jack Nicklaus’ record six Green Jackets.
Speaking from personal experience, watching the event on the television doesn’t do the undulations on the course and greens justice. Having walked Augusta National myself I was amazed by the spectacular undulations, dramatic drop off and sharp increases in elevations that are not visible from TV, especially on the 10th and 18th holes.
Augusta National Golf Club has approximately 300 members at any one time. These memberships are strictly by invitation only, there is no application process.
It’s not only the memberships that are hard to come by; even getting a ticket to attend the event can be very difficult! Luckily for you golf fans that are searching for these elusive tickets, Your Golf Travel is here to help. We have a great selection of packages that cover everything from tickets to accommodation and flights… Click here for more information on US Masters Packages.
The winner of The Masters is given a Green Jacket – possibly the most famous piece of clothing in sport. The tradition of every member receiving a Green Jacket with the Augusta logo on the left pocket started in 1937 when Clifford Roberts (club co-founder) wanted patrons to easily be able to pick out who was a member during The Masters Tournament.
Sam Snead was the first ever winner to slip on a Green Jacket after winning in 1949, as it wasn’t until then that a Green Jacket was given to every champion. The tradition states that champions may only take it home with them for one year and it is to be used for “golf associated functions only.” When their 12 months is up as a current winner they are obliged to return it to Augusta where it will stay in the clubhouse. After winning in 1961, Gary Player refused to return his!
One of the best things about watching the Masters is that you always feel as if you’re seeing history in the making. Augusta National somehow always manages to produce shots of a spectacular nature on a constant basis.
Tiger’s chip-in on 16 in 2005 – Who can forget this shot, I’m sure it still seems fresh in the memory for most people but I’ll briefly explain it anyway. Wood’s had hit his tee shot clear over the back of the green and was looking at a seriously tough up-and-down. After viewing the slope of the green from every single angle he finally settled over his ball. It came out fast; hit the slope left of the flag and almost came to a complete halt. From then on the ball made a 90° turn and slowly rolled towards the hole and fell in on its last rotation.
Who can forget this shot?
Nicklaus’ shot into 16 in 1986 – After an eagle on 15 Jack was within two strokes of the lead, he elected to play a five-iron on the par-3 16th. It landed within about 20 feet of the right of the hole, caught the slope and rolled down to within just a few feet of the hole for a simple birdie, which would mean he was just one shot behind for the championship.
Jack Nicklaus, 16th hole of the 1986 Masters.
Mickelson’s 6-iron through trees on 13 in 2010 – After pulling his tee shot right into the trees he was left with 209 yards to the hole (187 to carry the water at the front of the green). His caddy Jim “Bones” MacKay tried to talk him out of it but Phil grabbed his six-iron and smashed it through the pines, over the water and to within just four feet of the pin. Sadly he didn’t manage to sink the putt, spectacular nonetheless.
Unfortunately Phil did not manage to make the putt.
The 8th hole is named Yellow Jasmine. It’s a par-5 which measures 570 yards and the huge fairway bunker means that is it particularly difficult to reach in two. For the players who are tempted, a blind uphill shot awaits them. The putting surface isn’t protected by any bunkers, but instead by a severe mounding which has many a time proved that a two-shot approach is a mistake. A fine line on this hole separates a bogey and from a birdie; however in 1967 Bruce Devlin managed neither as he holed his second for an albatross 2!
Zoom (Fast Greens)
Augusta National is one of the few courses that can legitimately lay claim to having the toughest greens in the world! However nobody knows exactly how fast they are as there has never been an official Stimpmeter reading.
Part of the enjoyment of the tournament every April is watching Augusta’s greens tie the world’s best players in knots. Even the great Seve Ballesteros once four putted the 16th, with the final three coming from no more than a yard away. In a post-round interview he was asked what had happened, leading him to say one of his best ever lines: “I miss, I miss, I miss, I make.”