Every golf fanatic’s favorite week of the year has finally arrived. Yes, its Masters week. Visions of green expanses highlighted by white scoreboards, reflective glass-like water, flowering azaleas and yellow flagsticks dance in every golfers mind. Memories of Jack, Tiger, Phil and so many others replay over and over in anticipation of the ceremonial tee shot on Thursday morning. One envisions stepping onto the first tee, playing Amen Corner, eagling the par 5’s on the back, walking up 18, and slipping comfortably into the Green Jacket in Butlers Cabin, every golfers dream. For the 94 players that will tee it up this week, that’s the common goal they all have.
We all know Augusta is a special place. We all know that it is one of, if not the best golf course in the world. We all love the signature holes. However, this piece aims to take a look at the holes that don’t get enough love from the spectators, fans, players and media alike. Granted, there are no “bad” holes at Augusta, every golfer would kill to step foot on the grounds let alone have the opportunity play it and complain about a hole. But here’s to the hole that go under the radar:
Hole No. 6: Juniper, Par 3 – 180 Yards
Historical Average- 3.104 (11)
Sitting in the heart of arguably the hardest stretch on the course, after 4 and 5, before the 7th, the par 3 6th is the forgotten par 3 at Augusta National Golf Club. A classic downhill par 3, the 6th boasts one of the toughest greens on the course. A three-tiered green leaves daunting putts if the players don’t find the right tier from the tee. Getting close to the pin is a difficult task even for the worlds best. Perpetually a hole that players risk a three putt, the 6th is as picturesque as any on the grounds. Whether it’s a lightening quick downhiller or a slower than expected putt coming back uphill, a two-putt par on the 6th is a respectable score. You may not be able to win the tournament on the 6th, but one can certainly take themself out of the running: see Phil Mickelson in 1995, his first real shot at Masters glory.
Hole No. 8: Yellow Jasmine, Par 5 – 570 Yards
Historical Average- 4.765 (17)
An uphill par 5, the 8th represents a good birdie opportunity following the gauntlet that is the 4th-7th. Similarly to the 6th, Yellow Jasmine is the forgotten par 5 at ANGC. The tee shot is one of the more visually impressive at Augusta, a big sweeping uphill fairway with a single fairway bunker on the right. Perennially a hole that ranks amongst the easiest at Augusta, the 8th rewards a strong second shot with a chance for a front-nine eagle. One interesting feature is that bunkers don’t defend the green but rather a bottleneck entrance and multiple mounds that make getting home in two or getting up and down for birdie a challenging task.
Hole No. 17: Nandina, Par 4 – 440 Yards
Historical Average- 4.148 (9)
Nandina is the only forgotten back-nine hole other than 14. Those moments mentioned earlier highlighted Amen Corner (Holes No. 11,12,13); the back nine par 5’s (No. 13 and No. 15) and the 18th. Hole No. 10 has notoriety recently due to its role it has in the event of a play off as well as one famous meltdown in 2011 via a 2017 tournament favorite: Rory McIlroy.
Similarly, No. 16 has achieved greatness for both the tradition of skipping balls across the pond during the practice rounds and its famed Sunday pin location. The forgotten hole? The 17th, the penultimate hole. Once famous for the Eisenhower tree, the 17th is an uphill par 4 with a green that appears to run off in all directions. For many Masters champions, the 17th has played a role in their success on Sunday. Whether it’s a crucial par or clinching birdie, Nandina seems to always matter more than it gets credit for. There is nothing better than the back nine at Augusta on Sunday during the Masters and the 17th deserves a say in that conversation.
Again, there are no bad holes at Augusta, just those that aren’t given enough attention. Don’t be surprised if the aforementioned three play a bigger role than expected this year. Above all, sit back, relax, enjoy the pumped in bird noises, and begin scheming how one day you’ll be able to tee it up on that hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club.