Players with an understanding of the course’s many nuances have the best chance to do well – and this is reﬂected in the number of multiple winners the Masters has produced.
407m par four // 2014 rank: 3
Having been stretched to over 400 metres, the 1st hole has become an extremely challenging opening par four over the past few years – a tough start to the round, especially with nerves bound to play a role.
The tee shot is tricky, as players must negotiate a slight dogleg right, uphill, with a deep bunker on the right that requires a 300-metre carry oﬀ the tee.
The bunker now has a tongue in the left side, so any ball that trickles in might be blocked by the lip.
There is a bunker to the left of the undulating green, which falls oﬀ sharply at the back and to the right. Long and left spell big trouble.
The 1st hole appears to be a fairly straightforward par four. A slight dogleg to the right with the bigger hitters hitting an 8-iron, or less, for their approach shot. However, if the pin is left and you pull it left into the bunker, you might check the ﬂight schedule for Friday.
If you put it on the right front part of the green, watch out because you need to prepare for a three putt. If the ﬂag is in the back and you knock it over, an up-and-down will mean that you had one heck of a putt.
This is exactly what makes Augusta so interesting and so strategic. A par on the first hole of a Major is always a good start.
526m par five // 2014 rank: 17
The opening par five is an important birdie opportunity and can help to kickstart a good round. This dogleg left can be reached in two by the big hitter, but a fairway bunker on the right comes into play. You also want to avoid going too far left, as there is a 15-metre drop into ﬂowers and a little stream.
A big drive kept down the left side shortens the hole, but most tee shots will leave a downhill lie to a green that is guarded by two deep bunkers in the front.
It was here where Louis Oosthuizen memorably holed his second shot for an albatross in the final round of 2012
The 2nd hole, for me, is a genuine three-shotter and I always try to position my second shot so that I have an easier third shot into the green, avoiding the deep bunker guarding the front edge.
The third shot into the green becomes even more important for players now after the green was narrowed recently. If the bunkers are avoided, most will be looking for a birdie four to get their round going.
320m par four // 2014 rank: 13
The shortest par four on the course is also rated as one of the best. This hole has remained unchanged since 1975 and, while the bigger hitters might be able to reach the putting surface oﬀ the tee, not many try because of all the trouble surrounding the pear-shaped green.
A steep slope in front allows for some wicked pin positions and approach shots need to be precise or the ball could spin back oﬀ the green. From there, bogey is a good score.
It was on this hole that Charl Schwartzel holed out for eagle in the final round en route to his win in 2011.
This is one of the best par fours in golf. Most players hit iron oﬀ the tee to stay short of the four bunkers clustered on the left side of the fairway and then have a short-iron to the green.
Players will not want to misjudge their second shot because missing the green here can leave you with an extremely tough up-and-down
219m par three // 2014 rank: 2
The first of the par threes is a real beast – with the tee having been moved back to stretch the hole to 219 metres.
Club selection is difficult because such a premium is placed on being on the right level of this green – big hitters will opt for a long-iron, while others will need as much as a fairway wood.
Players need to avoid the deep bunker on the right side of a green that slopes heavily from back to front. The bunker on the left is a decent bail-out area, with players happy to take their par and run.
It was on this hole that Phil Mickelson made a triple-bogey six in the final round of 2012, while Jeﬀ Sluman’s ace in 1992 remains the only hole-in-one here in Masters history.
This was always meant to be a long par three and the Augusta committee was forced to really extend it recently to force the big hitters to use long-irons again as Bobby Jones intended. A 240-yard carry for me is a long way these days, so you’re unlikely to find me with anything less than a 3-wood in my hands on this tee.
|416m par four // 2014 rank: 11|
The 5th hole is an uphill, slight dogleg left, with two very deep bunkers guarding the left side of the fairway.
Jack Nicklaus twice holed his second shot in 1995 and Colin Montgomerie did it in 2000, but it is another devilishly difficult green. To clear the fairway bunkers requires a 290-metre carry.
The fairway bunkers are the deepest on the course. If I were to find myself in one (luckily they are now out of reach for me).
I would be looking at sand in front of me and sky above, but that is just because I am certainly not one of the tallest players out there. In my prime, I was hitting a driver and between 5- and 7-iron because it was possible to cut oﬀ a bit of the dogleg.
Now the trees have been moved further down the fairway, so long hitters can no longer carry them. When I am playing the 5th hole, it is two big shots to reach the green, then hope for a good putting day.
165m par three // 2014 rank: 10
From an elevated tee, players will be hitting mid-irons to a back-to-front sloping green with three tiers.
When the pin is top right, it requires a precise shot, otherwise players will see their ball roll back down the slope – leaving a treacherous two-putt.
There have been four holes-in-one here, but it has also killed oﬀ a few challenges, including that of José María Olazábal in 1991, who took a seven and ended up losing to Ian Woosnam by a stroke.
This hole plays quite a bit shorter than its 165 metres because of the elevated tee, so it seems like it should be a lot easier than it always ends up being.
The reason for this is the big hump in the middle of the green and the resultant large elevation changes around the green, which can make the ‘safe’ landing area for the tee shot very tight.
There is just no margin for error: get it slightly wrong and you will find the ball scurrying away from the hole at high pace. Trust me, players will not want to find themselves above the hole for their putt.
411m par four // 2014 rank: 5
The 7th used to be a short hole, but over time it has been stretched from under 300 metres to well over 400 metres.
Most players will opt for driver here and will hit through a corridor of pine trees, with the left side of the fairway the best spot to finish.
The green is surrounded by five bunkers, which is the most around any green at Augusta.
This hole was always a driver and a short-iron for me in the past, but has certainly been toughened up over the past 10 or so years.
The green is not very deep and I have always really tried to avoid the bunkers at the back of the green because being in one of those leaves you with a really tough shot back to the pin.
What you will find here is players generally erring on the short side and you will see plenty of bunker shots from one of the three bunkers that guard the front of the green.
This par four may be tougher since it has been lengthened, but it is still a fair test, like all good par fours should be.
520m par five // 2014 rank: 15
The second par five on the course looks pretty wide open from the tee, but players will need to avoid the bunker on the right side of the fairway to set up an ideal approach. Too far left and it becomes impossible to find the green, uphill and to the left, in two.
There are no bunkers around the green, which in some ways makes the hole harder, as the severe mounds around the putting surface make chipping tricky. It’s a good birdie opportunity, but no pushover. Bruce Devlin made an albatross here in 1967.
The 8th hole is a huge par five, but mainly because it plays uphill the whole way. The second shot here is blind because the hole is uphill, so players will have to pick a spot to start the ball, trying to bring it in oﬀ the right to feed down the long and narrow green.
For me, it is a short-iron for my third, hoping to get it close for a reasonable birdie putt.
Making a birdie four here can really add impetus to any player’s round, as they get ready for the tough challenges ahead
421m par four // 2014 rank: 12
The slopes on the fairway make this a challenging hole. A good tee shot down the right will leave the best angle into the green, but players will be hoping they hit the ball far enough to get the ball to the bottom of the hill, otherwise they face an awkward approach from a downhill lie.
Any approach that finishes short of the green will run back down the fairway, sometimes as far as 50 metres.
The 9th is famous for its green that slopes so severely from back to front and anything short or with too much backspin can end up some 40 to 50 metres back down the fairway.
It can be entertaining for spectators, but believe me there are very few sights that can be more frustrating for players. Players going into the green with short-irons will be hoping to land the ball softly without too much backspin, but also will not want to be too far above the hole.
For players landing above the hole, there will be one of the toughest downhill putts in golf. Boy, can this green be quick.
453m par four // 2014 rank: 6
The 10th is a very long hole, but a good drive will shorten it considerably if it catches the slope of the fairway.
The green slopes from right to left, and the bunker on the right catches many balls, with an up-and-down very difficult from there.
In the history of the Masters, the 10th has played as Augusta National’s most difficult hole, and it was here where Rory McIlroy’s 2011 campaign started to unravel with a snapped drive that led to a seven.
The downhill slope on this long downhill par four has to be seen to be believed. The difficulty here is that the approach has to favour the righthand side of the green to get anywhere near to the hole and that brings the bunker into play.
It is no surprise that historically this is the toughest scoring hole on the course. It is a great way to start one of the most famous back nines in golf.
462m par four // 2014 rank: 1
Welcome to the start of Amen Corner – and 2014’s most difcult hole on the course. A 275-metre drive to a tight fairway is required just to get to the crest of the hill, from where players face a long iron into a green protected by water on its left. Many players will bail out short and right and face a long chip and putt for par.
“If you ever see me on the 11th green in two,” Ben Hogan once said, “you’ll know I missed my second shot.”
The hole is best remembered for Larry Mize’s chip-in for birdie in the 1987 playoﬀ with Greg Norman, but there have also been four players to eagle the hole, with the last being South African Rory Sabbatini in 2006.
The start of Amen Corner, the par-four 11th hole White Dogwood, is probably my favorite at Augusta. The whole of Amen Corner is a beautiful, yet very challenging part of the course.
142m par three // 2014 rank: 4
The 12th hole is arguably the most famous par three in golf. It’s also the shortest hole at Augusta, and club selection varies from a 6-iron to a 9-iron for most players. Rae’s Creek protects the front of the shallow green and there are two bunkers behind it, with one in front.
Regardless of the pin position, players are best advised to aim for the middle of the green, take their par and run. This hole has seen it all, from Tom Weiskopf’s 13 in 1980 to 15 holes-in-one.
The 12th hole, with its swirling winds, is a hole where you have to take a deep breath and trust your swing and club selection, because it can be one of the most intimidating short holes in golf.
466m par five // 2014 rank: 18
The tee shot at 13 signals the end of Amen Corner and asks players to hit a big draw around Rae’s Creek, which runs up the left side of the hole and in front of the green. This hole is arguably the most exciting on the course and a good drive will give players the chance to hit the green in two with an iron.
Even the lay-up here is tricky as players will try to find a ﬂat spot
the ideal distance from the green. From tee to green, there are about 1 600 azaleas – no doubt all in perfect bloom for Masters weekend
When I won the tournament in 1961, I pushed my tee shot into the trees on the right and then my lay-up recovery was too strong and my ball found Rae’s Creek. A penalty stroke and a three-putt left me with a gut-wrenching seven. I nearly threw it all away on this par five.
When I would hit a really good drive, unlike in 1961, I might go with a lofted fairway wood, depending on how much run I have. The sensible player is, of course, trying to make a pitch and putt for birdie. This hole is a very real birdie opportunity.
402m par four // 2014 rank: 9
The 14th is the only hole on the course without a bunker, but it makes up for it with a wickedly contoured green that sees more than its fair share of three-putts. The fairway is also sloped, which makes approach shots more challenging.
Phil Mickelson holed his approach here in 2010 en route to victory and his second Green Jacket.
The 14th is a very difficult birdie hole because it is hard to get your approach shot close to the ﬂag. The large undulations on the green make this one of the hardest putting holes on the course
485m par five // 2014 rank: 16
Another great birdie opportunity presents itself at the 15th. A good drive up the right side will leave players with an iron into the green, which is protected by a pond in front of it. Players tend to err long, which leaves them with a delicate chip back down the fast green.
For those laying up, yardages need to be precise as players need to control the spin if they want to get the ball near the hole.
Gene Sarazen made an albatross from the fairway in 1935, the shot that put the Masters on the map.
The 15th is supposedly the easiest hole on the golf course, and it is indeed perhaps a bit of a breather among all the tough holes on the course. Believe me, when you are coming down the stretch trying to win the Masters, there is really no such thing as an easy hole!
The driving area on the fairway has been tightened up, with some mature trees on the right replacing mounds that could give you an extra kick down the fairway in the past. With a good drive, the green is very reachable, but for me, I am looking to have the best position from which to fire my third at the ﬂag and make birdie.
155m par three // 2014 rank: 14
The closing par three plays entirely over water to a green that slopes severely from right to left. There are two bunkers that guard the right side of the green and the prudent play is to hit the centre of the green and make a long putt.
It was here where Tiger Woods produced the most remarkable chip-in for birdie on his way to winning the Masters in 2005, while Trevor Immelman, Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter are among 15 players to have recorded holes-in-one here.
The 16th has always been the most treacherous hole on the course and has so much atmosphere that with the galleries all around, the noise can be deafening. It has probably the most severe green.
I have played, especially with the final-day pin position. In 1962, when I was defending champion and had a two-shot lead with three to play, I hit it to 12 feet on 16. Arnie hit it to 50 feet and his lightning-fast downhill putt had a break of at least 15 feet.
I made the mistake of saying to my caddie: “We’ve got him now. He’ll be lucky to get it down in two from there.” He sank that putt, then went on to birdie 17 from 30 feet, having hit his drive into the Eisenhower Tree. I ended up losing to him in the playoﬀ the following day.
402m par four // 2014 rank: 6
Though the Eisenhower Tree may no longer be there, the tee shot on the 17th is a good test, with players aiming for a narrow, uphill landing area, from where there is little roll out. Distance is key on the approach, with two bunkers in front of the green likely to see a fair bit of action.
In 2011, Charl Schwartzel made a 12-foot putt on the difficult 17th hole to get into the lead. It was his third straight birdie and he added one more on the 18th to win by two shots.
This was previously the narrowest driving hole on the course because of its famous Eisenhower Tree on the left fairway, requiring an accurate tee shot. A winter storm took down the tree last year, but I assure you it will remain a test.
The firm green is perched up on a plateau and is much tougher for me to hit today, as I am going in with much more than a 9-iron, as I did in 1974. Players will need to watch their distance in their approach shots here, because going over the green is a guaranteed bogey or worse.
The 17th hole will always hold many memories for me. In 1974, I had opened up a one-shot lead coming into the 17th hole and, standing in the fairway at 17, I said to my caddie Eddie McCoy: “Eddie, in 17 years at the Masters, this has been the green I have hit the least, but this is where we are going to win it today.” I hit a 9-iron straight at the ﬂag and it just felt perfect.
While it was in the air, I said to Eddie, “We’re not going to need the putter today.” As it happened, we did need the putter, but only from six inches, and the tap-in birdie gave me a two-shot lead playing the last. That second shot to the 17th in the final round was one of the top five in my career.
425m par four // 2014 rank: 8
The tee shots begs to be hit with a fade through an avenue of trees to an uphill, dogleg-right fairway. Right finds the trees and left brings two deep fairway bunkers into play. Many players will opt for a 3-wood oﬀ the tee for safety, leaving a mid-iron into a green that has a bunker in front and on the right.
It was here, on the final hole in 2008, where Trevor Immelman hit the fairway only to find his ball in a divot. The South African played a great shot onto the green and two-putted for the win.
There is so much magic here on the 18th hole at Augusta National. It is truly a fine finishing hole, and winning at Augusta, having the Green Jacket slipped on in the Butler Cabin, and then going out to the 18th green to do it again in public is truly one of the greatest pleasures in golf.
This used to be a driver and anything from a 5- to 7-iron for me usually, but I remember in 1958, in just my second Masters, I hit driver and a 4-wood into the wind to just four feet and then missed my birdie putt to miss my first cut by a single shot.
Now the tee has been moved back 50 metres, which makes it just about impossible for many to reach in two, especially if it is into the wind. The two-tier green can be used to a player’s advantage if the ﬂag is at the front and they can get the ball to stop and roll back down. Players will not want to have a putt to win the Masters that has to be hit down the slope.
There have only been a handful of players in history to make a birdie on the 18th to win the Masters. I was lucky enough to do it in 1978 when I played the back nine in 30 shots. Seve Ballesteros was my playing partner and we were dear friends.
After shooting a 30 on the back nine, I finished with a 64 and won my final Masters by one stroke. When I holed that last putt for birdie on the 18th green, I collapsed on the green, physically, mentally and emotionally drained. Seve came over to me, gave me a big bear hug and said, “Thank you, today you taught me how to win the Masters.” Two years later, he would win it himself. That was perhaps the best nine-hole stretch I have ever played.
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