Where do you even start with an image like this of Augusta National? Even away from the dormant appearance of the fairways the obvious place is trying to run through the natural order of holes, starting on the bottom left for the 1st. The 5th, with the two fairway bunkers, is to the right and at the top of the image is the 12th green and 13th tee.
Thanks to the efforts of Lou Stagner on Twitter this week there has been plenty of chat about the possibility of a new 13th tee on the 510-yard par 5.
Here we can see that the land acquired from the adjacent Augusta Country Club – their 9th hole cost Augusta National $30 million in 2017 – has now been put to some use with a maintenance road which still leaves plenty of room for a new back tee at the hole named Azalea.
One clever soul has calculated that the current distance for a straight drive to the middle of the fairway is 300 yards. That could now be lengthened to 375 yards which would put the hole at a more juicy 585 yards.
The club explained that they would wait to see how the governing bodies would act over the out-of-control yardage gains but with there being no sign of that changing they might well make some changes to this holy corner.
As Fred Ridley explained before the 2018 Masters: “There’s a great quote from Bobby Jones dealing specifically with the 13th hole. He said that the decision to go for the green in two should be a momentous one. And I would have to say that our observations of these great players hitting middle and even short irons into that hole is not a momentous decision.”
Other observations include the obvious comatose nature of the Bermuda grass, but given that the club is closed from late May until the middle of October – we can’t tell when these images were taken though someone has suggested that it was likely to be in September – this isn’t a huge surprise though it is more startling with the lush state of the bent grass greens. One observer took the trouble to count all the greens on the property and came up with an astonishing 44.
And the brilliant feldspar bunkers are also absent which again is no surprise though the black versions look quite startling in comparison.
The final piece in the observation jigsaw, and this a beauty for any Augusta obsessive which is basically all of us, is that a new building has been constructed between the fifth fairway, sixth green and seventh tee. Given that the vending areas on the course are temporary this is likely to be a new smallish members’ clubhouse. Apparently there is another one hidden in the trees in the middle of 12, 13 and 14.
All will be revealed in April.
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