Tea Olive is a 445 par 4 with a slight dogleg right. A bunker on the right edge of the fairway in the middle of the hole requires a shot of over 300 yards to clear. Alister Mackenzie from the first Masters program says of the hole, “A drive that is long and straight … will be in a favourable position for the second. It is difficult to obtain par figures from any other position.” It seems many players opted for Mr. Mackenzie’s advice with the majority shooting par all four days in 2010 including eventual winner Phil Mickelson. A shot to left or right will catch the pine trees that line the slightly uphill fairway and the rolling green makes sticking a good approach shot very difficult.
This dogleg left and provides the best opportunity for players to get an early birdie in the tournament. Pink Dogwood is the longest course at the Masters, playing slightly downhill making it essential to hit a good tee-shot and get the favourable roll. This pressure to hit it big may find those who don’t have the power ending up in the woods on the edge of the hole. A bunker halfway through on the right edge of the fairway poses problems for players off the tee who may find themselves in the sand with a push. The biggest task however comes in the form of two large bunkers positioned at the front of the green. Many players choose to lay up and hit a chip to the back of the green fearing an attempt that is too aggressive will result in more time in the sand. With only thee eagles in the entire tournament in 2010 look for a majority of birdies and pars.
Encased by pines, flowering Peach is the shortest par 4 Augusta offers. At only 350 yards most players opt for an iron or fairway wood landing them in front of the cluster of four bunkers halfway through the hole. After the bunkers the fairway plays wide and uphill providing an easy second shot but obscuring the view the players have of the pin. The green is small and has a slope from right to left. History shows it is better to hit long on the green rather than short and the bunker on the left edge can cause problems for approaches that catch speed down the slope.
This rolling par 3 can be treacherous to many players who find the fast, sloping green too much to handle. A large white sand bunker in the front and a smaller kidney shaped version to the left guard the green. It’s surface plays with the speed of a motorway, and given the distance a lot of loft is needed for the ball to come to a stop. This is made all the more difficult by the notorious swirling winds. Expect players to come away with pars and bogies on this hole with birdies being a rare commodity.
This dogleg left with large bunkers on the left edge of the fairway requires an accurate shot of over 315 yards around the dogleg to avoid danger. Players attempting to cut the left corner may find themselves playing out of the sand or hitting out of a thick bit of forest. The fairway is uphill and multiple humps on the green make it a difficult surface for both approach shots and putting. A bunker in the back left corner provides a challenge for players who may decide to hit their approach to the back of the green with even the slightest pull taking it to the sand. Bogeys are not a rarity on this hole, with everyone of the top six getting at least one bogey during last year’s tournament. Coming away from Magnolia with a par would be considered a job well done.
Juniper is a downhill par 3 requiring no more than a 5 or 6-iron to get to the green. Pin placement is essential with pars and birdies much more attainable when the flag is placed on the left of the green behind the bunker. The undulating green can prove troublesome to many golfers with American Bobby Jones saying, “With the ball stopping either short of this raised area or off to the left of it, it is an extremely difficult job to get the first putt close to the hole.” Lee Westwood performed the best on this hole out of the top six in 2010 with two birdies and two pars over the four days.
Pampas provides one of the toughest holes at Augusta. A driver must be used attempting to land the ball in between a narrow alley of pine trees. A slight slice or pull of the shot and players will find it hard to complete their backswing amongst the trees. A long drive is crucial in order to have a decent approach shot. The green itself is protected as well as the US President sitting on a plateau surrounded by five bunkers.
Yellow Jasmine is a great scoring opportunity for players. The fairway is wide, with a bunker on the right, and plays uphill towards the green. This requires players to aim their tee shot down the left of the fairway and any movement in the air lands them either in the pines or the aforementioned bunker. Protecting the green are large mounds on the left and right requiring players to aim their approach shots for the front and hope for a favourable roll. This is made harder by the fact that the approach shot is obscured by trees on the left and even becomes blind for those attempting to get to the green in two strokes. Tiger Woods was the only player to record an eagle at Yellow Jasmine last year and eventual winner Phil Mickelson was the only member of the top six finishers to bogey the hole.
A straight tee shot down the right hand side of the fairway is necessary if players are to avoid two bunkers lying in front of the green slightly to the left. Any alteration of the balls flight path will find players in the woods. Carolina Cherry’s green is famously sloped from front to back, something that causes players to hit towards the back of the green. It has also proved treacherous. Any shots that land short of their target will roll down the green and back onto the fairway. This was what happened to Greg Norman in 1996 and began his incredible collapse as he relinquished a six-stroke lead to eventual champion Nick Faldo.
Originally the first hole, Camellia is a daunting dogleg left that has proven to be a very difficult hole throughout Masters history. Too far right off the tee and players will find themselves with a very long second shot. Too far left and players will have to hit out of the pine trees. This makes a long drive down the centre of the fairway the best option and the hole can be made shorter if the ball catches the downward fairway slope. A large bunker sits in the middle of the fairway about 100 yards from the hole and another bunker sits on the right edge of the green.
White Dogwood marks the beginning of “Amen Corner” a phrase termed by Sports Illustrated writer Herbert Warren Wind in 1958. A long drive aimed slightly right is necessary if players are to have a manageable approach shot and set themselves up for a birdie. A pond on the left of the green and a bunker on its right protect it and make approach shots very difficult. Many players opt for the safe shot to the right side of the green hoping for a long put or a chip and par attempt.
Although it is the shortest hole in the tournament Golden Bell is nowhere near the easiest. Swirling winds require players to hit a short to medium range iron onto the narrow, heavily guarded green. Rae’s Creek runs in front of the green just below a bunker with two more bunkers sitting behind, which depending on hole location could be just behind the flag. Behind the two bunkers are blossoming azaleas, which are beautiful to look at, but as far as the players are concerned terrible to hit a ball into.
Already famous for its beauty, Azalea became the central focus of Phil Mickelson’s Green Jacket win in 2010. His second shot from the trees travelled over Rae’s Creek landing right next to the flag, but Tommy Nakajima shot a 13 on Azalea in 1978 for being too risky. A straight drive on the fairway is the play of choice setting up a long second shot that can be gambled and played to the green or played short setting up an easy chip. If the gamble is a bad shot players could find themselves either in the creek in front or in one of the four bunkers behind the flag.
Chinese Fir provides the only hole in the tournament with no bunkers but the undulations on both the fairway and the green make up for their absence. The club of choice for players off the tee is the driver, but even the straightest of drives can end up in the woods on the right once it hits one of the many slopes on the fairway. The ideal second shot for the players would land them on the back of the green avoiding the front half that heavily slopes into the fairway. The green itself is bentgrass which plays extremely fast and if a player overpowers the ball past the hole from back to front he could find himself back on the fairway. Ben Crenshaw said of Chinese Fir, “I don’t think I’ve ever had the same putt twice. You have to build a putt there every time you get on that green.”
Fire Thorn provides a great chance for players to gain a stroke on their way into the clubhouse. The green is easily reachable in two strokes although a pond in front of the green does not make it a formality. Players who chose to lay up in front of the pond and play an approach will face a difficult shot from a downhill lie. A bunker on the right edge of the green further emphasizes the need for an accurate second shot.
Redbud, often remembered for Tiger Wood’s final-round chip in 2005, is a tough par 3. Wind plays a major factor and it is key that players play the ball long enough to get it over the pond, but hit it short of the hole. The green itself slopes severely from right to left, in typical Augusta fashion, and this creates unique putting lines. Aces are possible but the last player to have one was Trevor Immelman in 2005.
Nandina’s challenges begin off the tee where players must navigate around the intimidating Ike’s Tree, named after former US president and Augusta member Dwight D. Eisenhower. The players will try and avoid the tree Eisenhower continuously hit which sits 210 yards away on the left hand side of the fairway. Once onto the fairway a short iron should be all that’s needed to reach the hard, undulating putting surface. Two bunkers sit on the front edge of the green that could pose a threat to players.
Holly is a beautiful hole that rolls upward towards the pin. A narrow line of trees off the tee makes the first shot very difficult. Add to that two large bunkers placed at the tip of the dogleg right and players find themselves with a lot on their mind. Once on the fairway two bunkers guarding the green and the uphill play of the fairway make a second shot difficult. Players shouldn’t have many problems with the green surface, finishing out their round positively.
Golf Monthly at the US Masters: