Augusta National is one of golf’s most iconic golf courses, with a rich tournament pedigree as well as hosting some of the sport’s greatest figures it is easy to see why The Masters Tournament creates such a buzz for golfers around the world. One of the key elements for this exclusive golf course is in its focus on tradition and history, this is most prevalent in the landmarks which are dotted around the course which have drawn on their past to create a very memorable reference point for all golfers to enjoy.
Paying homage to the founding members of Augusta National, Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones, this plaque is located at the base of the flagpole in front of the clubhouse and forms the fulcrum of the tradition associated with the club. With their initial vision for creating one of golf’s premier tournament venues as well as a superbly respected club now clear for all to see it is obvious why the founders circle is so important to Augusta National. Roberts’ plaque was dedicated in November 1977 while Jones’ plaque was placed in March 1978.
There are three bridges which have been dedicated to moments and players at the Masters:
The Hogan Bridge at No.12 Green pays homage to Ben Hogan’s record score of 274 in 1953. It was dedicated on 2nd April 1958 to one of the greatest players in the history of golf who was one of only five people who managed to win all four championships. His record rounds of 70-69 remained as a record for 12 years. As one of the game’s most iconic figures, Hogan’s mark on the game was left by his phenomenal work ethic which is so apt given the precision required when taking on the 12th hole.
The Nelson Bridge at No. 13 Tee has been dedicated on April 1958 to mark Byron Nelson’s winning play on holes 12 and 13 when he scored 2-3 to win the 1937 Masters Tournament. Byron Nelson is one of golf’s most successful players having received the Old Tom Morris Award by the USGA and the Congressional Golf Medal in 2006. His legacy lives on at Augusta via his tournament victories as well as this bridge.
The Sarazen Bridge at No. 15 Green has been built to the memory of Gene Sarazen’s double eagle scored during 1935 Masters Tournament which will forever be known as “the shot heard around the world”. In claiming the second ever Masters Tournament and also performing duties as an honorary starter, Sarazen has a rich pedigree which few will achieve.
The inviting driveway of 61 magnificent magnolia trees will take you straight to the entrance of the Clubhouse which has been standing since the 1850’s. The trees were planted as seeds by the Berckman family who used to own this former indigo plantation. The lane was paved in 1947 and provides a tranquil and charming entrance to one of golf’s most memorable clubhouses.
One of Augusta’s most famous members, General Eisenhower can lay claim to no less than three landmarks at Augusta, it is Ike’s Pond which has the biggest impact on play at the National. During Eisenhower’s second visit to Augusta he visited some woods to the East of the property where he informed Clifford Roberts that he had found a great place to place a dam should the club ever wish to build a fishpond. It was then constructed to create a three acre pond fed by a spring. The engineer in charge of the project built the dam in exactly the position which Eisenhower marked, showing he not only had a talent for leading a country but also for engineering!
To the left of the 17th green lies a drinking fountain to mark the many different records which have been achieved during the Masters. Marking achievements such as record low scores and course records, the fountain is hexagonal in shape allowing for many additions to be made as marks are bettered.
Par 3 Fountain
Similar to the record fountain, however this is exclusively dedicated to one of the greatest preludes to a sport event, the Par 3 Tournament which takes place on Wednesday of Masters week. With winners including Harrington (3-times), Palmer, Watson and Snead it is a serious yet fun event for all involved.
Nicklaus, Palmer & Player
Arnold Palmer Plaque
Having played in 50 consecutive Masters tournaments, Arnold Palmer’s mark on Augusta National is one few can compete with. With no less than four Green Jackets in his locker, Palmer’s achievements was shown in the Arnold Palmer plaque which is located at the drinking fountain on the 16th hole.
Jack Nicklaus Plaque
With a record six Masters titles, Nicklaus was honoured for his stunning play in 1963, 1965, 1955, 1972, 1975 and 1986. Located on a fountain between holes 16 and 17, Nicklaus is Augusta’s most successful golfer and his efforts will live long in history, not just at the Masters but in golf.
This established loblolly pine was the centre of some controversy when the former president Dwight Eisenhower requested it to be removed. After claiming and impeding many tee shots, Eisenhower requested this tree, located just over 200 yards away from the 17th tee, to be removed at a club’s governors meeting in 1956. Clifford Roberts, Augusta National’s co-founder, ruled Eisenhower to be out of order and adjourned the meeting. Eisenhower’s association with this tree has remained ever since.
Surprisingly this is not named after a golfer, given it is golf’s most famous stretch of water! John Rae kept residents safe during Indian attacks when Fort Augusta was out of reach. The creek has claimed many a would be champions ball during the Masters, running in front of the 12th green (and in front of neighbouring Augusta Country Club’s 8th green), alongside the 13th hole and feeds back to behind the 11th green.
Augusta National has been previously coined “The Cathedral in the Pines” so it is rather apt that its marquee holes of 11, 12 and 13 received the tag of Amen Corner by Sports Illustrated writer Herbert Warren Wind. Golfers were said to have sighed and thanked God if they were able to navigate this stretch of holes without ruining their chances of claiming a Green Jacket.