The Masters: Hole by Hole Part I

Formerly a plant nursery, Augusta National is the most storied and sacred golf course in the United States, if not the entire world. As The Masters kicks of this Thursday, here’s a look at the course, hole by hole, breaking down the history and the pageantry associated with the first of the Majors.

Hole 1 – Tea Olive – Par-4, 445 Yards. The big drivers can try to smash it 300 yards to overcome the bunker on the fairway, everyone else has to shoot uphill onto the green. Was previously known as Cherokee Rose, Georgia’s state flower. Endured a significant overhaul – trees, tee box and fairway bunker in 2006.

Hole 2 – Pink Dogwood – Par 5, 575 Yards. If you can avoid the bunkers, you could reach the green in two, which leads to plenty of birdies – the historical average is a 4.79. A back tee was added in 1999 to “Tiger-proof” the course once the young stud started blasting long drives.  In 2012, Louis Oosthuizen hit one of the most amazing shots in Masters history here, when he fired a 4-iron 253 yards that landed in the green and rolled 100 feet for a double-eagle.

Hole 3 – Flowering Peach – Par 4, 350 Yards. Not only are its fairways the most tightly bunkered on the course, but it also possesses the narrowest shelf of any of the greens, with bunkers looming on either side. Getting to the green doesn’t guarantee an easy time, there are plenty of 5s here that started out looking like 3s. In 2011, Charl Schwartzel has one of the most memorable shots of recent Masters’ history here, a 105-yard eagle from the fairway that landed way right of the pin, only to undulate its way right to the hole. He wound up winning the title, his only Major to date.

Hole 4 – Flowering Crab Apple – Par 3, 230 Yards. A longer version of No. 11 at St. Andrews, it’s the first Par 3 on the course,  but the big bunker in front of the green, and the trees to the right have most firing left or long to play it safe.

Hole 5 – Magnolia – Par 4, 455 Yards.  Known as the hardest green to play at Augusta because the first half rises up, there’s a little hiccup in the middle that some call a “muffin” and the back slopes off in ways that seem to defy gravity at times.

Hole 6 – Juniper – Par 3, 180 Yards.  It’s always the short holes that give us the most trouble, isn’t it? Going right seems like the correct thing to do given the bunker to the left, but there’s a crafty hill in the opposite direction that makes things just as tricky.

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