Why does the 'Golden Bell' cause such carnage?
“Aim at the sand and take par”
When you hear Augusta National, one of your first images that comes into your head is usually the par-3 12th hole. Last year, Jordan Spieth saw what the famous hole can do to a players Masters dreams as he made a quadruple bogey in the final round, handing Danny Willett the green jacket.
Here, five Augusta champions talk us through the 12th and why he can be so difficult at times.
“The more you worry about the wind, the less chance you have of executing the shot you really want to play, which is really right over the middle of the bunker. Number 12 was always uncomfortable to play – even though, without wind, 12 may be the easiest hole on the golf course. With a little bit of breeze, it may be the toughest.”
“Whether it’s windy or not, the tee shot is still just a wedge, or at most a 7-iron if the breeze is really going strong. That’s when the 12th green seems to shrink as you’re getting ready to hit the ball, and you realise there is no good place to leave it except on the putting surface. If you go over the green long and left, you face a tough little pitch because the grass there doesn’t get as much sun as other parts of the course. The back bunkers aren’t forgiving, either.”
“It’s a beautiful hole but there’s too much luck involved with the wind. You can hit good shots, get the wind wrong and make yourself look like a fool. It’s one of those holes you feel like you should make a birdie on it – because you’re only hitting a 9-iron or wedge. But aim at the bunkers and take your par.”
“I feel I can bleed it next to the hole, and it’s a stock 9-iron for me. But that hole, for whatever reason, just has people’s number. I remember getting over the ball thinking ‘I’m going to go ahead and hit a little cut to the hole’ and that’s what I did in 2014 and it cost me the tournament then, too.”
“I think holes like 12, which is a very difficult par 3, sits perfectly along a left- handed shot dispersion – short left, long right, so you aim at the middle of the green and you have a huge green to hit at. It’s the opposite of a right-handed short dispersion.
You aim at the middle of the green, you pull it, it goes long left; you push it, it goes short right into the water.”