An alternative course guide to Augusta National
Having watched The Masters for the past 40 years I have spent a worrying amount of time wondering how I might get on should I ever get the nod to play there.
Mentally I have signed off with a birdie three and also had dreams of not being able to get off the 1st tee due to there being a bench in my way and having to wave group after group through.
This is what I think might be the most likely outcome if the ballot was kind to me…
1. Tea Olive, 445 yards, par 4, SI 9
I know, in my head, what sort of shot that I want to hit off here. A two-yard fade hit really hard to avoid the bunker or being the first person in the history of the club to flail one weakly into the giant MASTERS scoreboard.
What will probably happen is something going left and spending too long making small advances up the left-hand side. When I went to Augusta in 2013 (here we go) I watched Lee Westwood make a six, I think he doubled each of the opening holes in the first three majors, by having to bumble a handful of shots under the trees.
I would fully expect to put an Ernie Els finish to things by hockeying it around the hole.
2. Pink Dogwood, 575 yards, par 5, SI 1
I’m seeing a monster drive to the top of the hill, maybe kicking on down over the brow, before feathering a 3-wood between the bunkers which will get closer with every roll.
And the crowd went mad…
Channel your inner Oosthuizen…
I don’t carry a 3-wood and I’ll still be too anxious at this point in my round to release the driver. I have pictured a very quick hook off this tee since around 1985 but, assuming I don’t, I would really hope to get two points but suspect you could mark me down for a 7/1 with some sort of chipping or de-greened putt incident.
3. Flowering Peach, 350 yards, par 4, SI 13
Most players will work backwards depending on where the pin is and I will do likewise given where the green is.
Not that I can hit the ball 290 yards or spin my wedges but I definitely don’t want a fiddly pitch to a sloping green so I would hybrid one down there which will no doubt be fat and leave myself something like a 6-iron in.
One to get out the way for someone with shaky hands – give me a bogey and I’d bite your hand off.
4. Flowering Crap Apple, 240 yards, par 3, SI 15
There’s nothing I like more than a 240-yard par 3 from an elevated tee to an undulating green. Catch the chief too well and I’m on Berckmans Road so it would be a 5-wood that probably wouldn’t be enough.
I have a memory of Phil Mickelson, in a terrible fawn get-up, making a hash of this hole from some vegetation down the left which I would happily recreate.
There is a backstop which you might hope would make a bad shot look quite tasty or you’d just leave yourself a 50-footer from the top of it.
5. Magnolia, 455 yards, par 4, SI 5
A nice quiet corner where the patrons can’t get to me so I’d hope to lump one away, miss the green and take three putts for a couple of points.
There is the possibility that I come up short of that enormous fairway bunker and then spend far too long trying to get a line on where the green is and then catch one a bit skinny and end up in it.
6. Juniper, 180 yards, par 3, SI 17
To either a back left or a back right pin position there is no chance of finishing on the right level.
Most likely scenario is to underclub, there is 20 yards of elevation change, and leave myself a putt from where I will hit it at least three more times.
Worst-case scenario is fretting about the patrons sitting just in front of me down the slope and flying the green by 25 yards.
7. Pampas, 450 yards, par 4, SI 11
A hole I may never finish playing. I stood by this green for a couple of hours and am still not sure how a player of ordinary skills could make a four here.
For a start the tee shot is too straight (and narrow) and the hole is too long and elevated.
Adam Scott might be able to jazz one back down the hill but you and I, dear friend, have got real problems here.
Every chance you might go from bunker to bunker, either way round, and almost certain to not go as you had visualised it going. Good hole not to get a shot on.
8. Yellow Jasmine, 570 yards, par 5, SI 3
Surely, if there was any hole that you might make par on, then it’s here? No water, huge mounds that help feed your ball into where you want the ball to go and a lay-up area that looks the size of a football pitch.
Then there’s the reality that you don’t play too many holes at 570 yards with the first chunk of it uphill so, while JT and co and smashing a long iron to 20 feet, you and I might still have your strong hybrid in your hands for your third.
9. Carolina Cherry, 460 yards, par 4, SI 7
Aside from getting blocked out left, a la Tiger whenever that was/the one Ken Brown recreated in magic fashion, off the tee we’d hope to leave ourselves a shot at the green.
But, again, it’s 460 up the hill and so your chance to spin one back down the hill might have to wait.
Don’t leave yourself a downhill putt or a sidehill putt for that matter which leaves you around four yards of green to find.
Take your five and get out of there.
How did Mark fare on the back nine at Augusta? And how did his final scorecard look?