As the first major of the year kicks off, we take a look at the key holes at Augusta National that could decide the competition. Who will walk away with the coveted green jacket?
Augusta is world-renowned as the home of the Masters Tournament, the first major of the year, and some of the famous holes at the venue have been witness to as much heartache as they have unbridled joy.
The Azalea-lined perfection that is Augusta National in Georgia may well be pleasing on the eye. But there is a sting in the tail that always awaits the world’s best players when they tee it up each April for the Masters Tournament.
There is much drama to pack into the four days of the Masters in the race to secure the green jacket. We’ve taken a look at where the 2018 edition of the major could be won and lost.
Hole 1 (Tea Olive—Par 4, 445 yards)
Getting off to a good start is essential at Augusta and the opening hole is a test of nerve. Strike a good tee shot and a tough, tough green awaits with plenty of protection if you come up short. A par from the opener isn’t a bad outcome. This is what makes Tea Olive one of the key holes at Augusta National.
Hole 8 (Yellow Jasmine—Par 5, 570 yards)
Playing the par 5s well at Augusta is essential to posting a score that could challenge for victory. This is the longest of the three-shotters, and it poses the dilemma of whether to try to get there in two. A good drive gives that option but there is little leeway on this hole—a possible birdie can quickly become a bogey. It’s a classic risk/reward hole that will make or break some performances across the week.
Hole 11 (White Dogwood—Par 4, 505 yards)
The first of the famous Amen Corner trio of holes. It’s a monster par-4 having been lengthened; it’s likely to play as one of the toughest holes on the course all week. The greenside pond makes the approach shot all the more difficult and a par is a more than acceptable return. Anything better is a bonus.
Hole 12 (Golden Bell—Par 3, 155 yards)
A teaser of a par-3, Golden Bell is one of the most famous holes in world golf—and one of the key holes at Augusta National. With the green sloping back to front and protected by Rae’s Creek, club selection is critical, as is avoiding the sand traps at the back of the putting surface. Jordan Spieth is one of the many to have suffered at the hands of this hole as he lost a commanding lead and victory in 2016.
Hole 13 (Azalea—Par 5, 510 yards)
One of the key holes at August National, this is the last of the Amen Corner holes, and another risk/reward test that could result in anything from eagle to double or triple bogey. The water protecting the green makes that long second all the more difficult but most will be targeting a birdie on this one.
Hole 16 (Redbud—Par 3, 170 yards)
Home to some of the best moment in Masters history—and a whole lot of holes-in-one, too—this par-3 is surrounded by grandstands and is one the most spectacular sights. Sloping is the best way to describe the green, which protects par, but the usual Sunday pin position make it a birdie-fest with the right club selection. Remember that Tiger Woods chip-in?
Hole 18 (Holly—Par 4, 465 yards)
There’s nothing particularly impressive about the closing uphill par-4, but this could be here where the decisive putt is sunk. Avoiding the fairway bunkers is crucial, as is finding the right part of the sloping elevated green. A downhill putt can be tricky and spell disaster.