The Masters Preview: The Course

It is officially Master’s week. We are sure to see plenty of excitement here this weekend. To get ready for this week’s action, here is a quick preview of each hole at Augusta National.

Hole No. 1: Tea Olive

This hole is one most difficult starting holes in all of golf. This slightly uphill dog leg right is a tough tee shot with a bunker on the right and trees left. The approach shot is uphill as well to one of the most difficult greens on the course. The first hole has never averaged under par for the week.

Hole No.2: Pink Dogwood

Following the tough first hole is the easy second. This par 5 is historically the 3rd easiest hole on the course. The drive must avoid one bunker down the right and if you can do that then birdie or possibly eagle is in the mind of every player in the field. The second shot is a downhill approach to a well guarded green. If going for the green in two, then one must use the slope of the green, which is severely left to right and front to back to try and get it close. Birdies or eagles are a must for players here who want to be putting on the Green Jacket.

http://www.sbnation.com/2012/4/8/2934530/video-louis-oosthuizen-double-eagle-gives-him-masters-lead#ooid=U5eGg5YzpSxhv11IchRg_eI4n__rITrf

Hole No. 3: Flowering Peach

The next hole is the shortest par 4 on the course. This is another relatively easy hole and players have the opportunity to get off to a good start. With just a wedge in hand, players are looking for birdie on this hole.

Hole No. 4: Flowering Crab Apple

Players hope to take advantage of holes 2 and 3 because the 4th hole is no pushover. This 240-yard par 3 can see fairway metals and even drivers on occasion. This boomerang shaped green is well guarded by bunkers too. This hole is the 5th hardest on the course and provides a test early in the round.

Hole No. 5: Magnolia

This medium length par 4 requires accuracy off the tee as two deep bunkers lurk on the left. Hitting it into these bunkers can prove costly as you might not be able to reach the green, if you can get it out that is. The green runs off on all sides so being aggressive is tough.

Hole No. 6: Juniper

This par 3 all depends on hole location. If the pin is on the left of the green, players can play it out to the right and use the large slope to get the ball close. If the pin is in the back right however, where its likely to be for at least two rounds, then this hole becomes much more difficult.

Hole No. 7: Pampas

This par 4 was lengthened a few years back and that has made this hole on of the hardest on the course. This skinny fairway demands a accurate tee otherwise trees come into play on the approach. This green is heavily sloped so you must land it on the right level to have any chance for birdie. Leave the ball in one of the green side bunkers, it all depends on the pin location whether or not it becomes an easy up and down or an almost impossible shot. The Sunday pin provided plenty of excitement as it sits at the bottom of a bowl.

Hole No. 8: Yellow Jasmine

The second par 5 usually plays as the hardest of the four on the course. The tee shot is very similar to that on the first hole with sand on the right and trees left. The uphill second shot to a skinny green makes this hole tricky. The defining characteristic of this hole is the mounds surrounding both sides of this green. Play it right, your ball will feed to the hole, play it wrong, you leave yourself with a tough chip shot.

Hole No. 9: California Cherry

The finishing hole on the front nine is a dogleg left, par 4. This is a downhill tee shot then sets up an uphill approach. This green has a large false front that, if found, will roll your ball back off the green, 20 yards down the hill.  This hole ranks 7th hardest on the course and could play key for momentum of leaders heading into the back nine.

Hole No. 10: Camellia

This starting hole for the back nine is a beauty. This downhill, long, par 4 is usually one of the hardest holes on the course. Trees are found along both sides of the fairway. This hole is also the second played in a playoff scenario. Most recently, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson won in dramatic fashion on this hole.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-17214-1333978834-13

Hole No. 11: White Dogwood

The start of Amen Corner is no pleasant beginning. This hole usually plays as the hardest on the course and is no stranger to double or even triple bogeys. This approach is a long, downhill shot with a large pond short and right of the green and a bunker back behind the green. Any person who misses the green can only hope to fair as well as Larry Mize did back in 1987.

Hole No. 12: Golden Bell

Regarded as one of the most famous holes in golf, this par 3 comes at a critical stretch in the tournament. This hole only requires a short iron but the wind is known to swirl above the trees. Judge it right, you will be rewarded with a great chance for birdie. Judge it wrong, you will find yourself with a tough chip from behind the green or your ball splashing in Rae’s Creek (sorry Jordan).

Hole No. 13: Azalea

This is the last leg of Amen Corner and it provides some of the most excitement on the course. This par 5 is reachable in two by almost every player in the field. This hole bends from right to left and Rae’s Creek runs up the left side of the fairway on the drive and it cuts across in front and along the right side of the green. A good drive sets up a risk-reward second shot where players are looking for an easy birdie or potential eagle. They must beware as potential bogeys and double bogeys await if they mishit their approach.

mickelson-2010-masters-trees

Hole No. 14: Chinese Fir

This par 4 is the lone hole at Augusta National without a bunker. It is a medium length par 4 with a green that slopes severely from left to right. This is one of the most underrated holes on the back nine and it provides a pivotal connection between 13th and 15th holes.

Hole No. 15: Firethorn

This is the last of the par 5’s and it does not disappoint. This is a wide fairway but if you play to far left, you become blocked out by trees. It is a slightly downhill approach to a very shallow green. Due the shallowness of the green, one must be able to land a fairway metal or hybrid softly to hold the green. Balls hit over the green leaves a delicate pitch up to the green with the putting surface running away from player towards the huge pond in front. Laying up is no safe bet either as you playing from a tricky down hill lie. On the back nine, Sunday, Firethorn always is a critical hole for contenders to make one last push for a birdie or eagle chance.

Hole No. 16: Redbud

This is a hole that has provided plenty of drama over the years. Players will hit a middle iron into this par 3 that protected by bunkers. The green slopes massively from back to front and from right to left towards the pond front left of the green. This undulation was seen most famously when Tiger Woods chipped in here for birdie in 2004.

tiger-woods-chip-2005-masters-480

Hole No. 17: Nandina

This par 4 is made difficult by the green complex. Protected by bunkers short and to the left, this green is elevated and slopes off on all sides. Judging and control your trajectory is critical on this hole. A missed can will more than likely result in a bogey or worse.

Hole No. 18: Holly

The finishing hole requires a drive through a narrow chute of trees with woods on the right and a series of bunkers on the left on this uphill, dogleg right par 4. The approach shot is played to a green guarded by a bunkers short and right. The Sunday pin location will be on the front left of green, guarded by the bunker. The green is sloped from front to back and from right to left so you can use the slope to get the ball close to the pin. Hopefully this hole will yield plenty of excitement (like below) come Sunday.

(Needing a birdie on the 18th to force a playoff, Angel Cabrera did this)

cabrera-approach-to-18

Danny Willet was able to play almost flawless golf on Sunday last year and seize every opportunity on a golf course that yields few. Spieth’s Sunday was quite different en route to back nine collapse, most evident by his 7 on the par-3 12th. Who will be able to conquer the course and who might fall victim to its deep bunkers, Rae’s Creek, or difficult greens? It all starts this Thursday at Augusta National.

 

 

Mickelson GIF: http://adamsarson.com/2015/03/30/masters-memories-mickelson-goes-through-the-trees

Tiger GIF: thearmchairallamericans.com

Cabrera on 18 GIF: nolayingup.com

 

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