The Masters Course Preview: Holes 4 through 6
theScore’s hole by hole preview of Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters, continues today with course designer Jeff Mingay's thoughts on a pair of par-3’s and an underrated par-4.
No. 4: Flowering Crabapple
Historical average: 3.29
Historical rank: T3
Mingay’s take: “Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie were both great admirers of the Old Course at St. Andrews, and many original features at Augusta were inspired by that famous links. The fourth hole is, or was, intended to emulate many characteristics of the eleventh, or Eden hole, at St. Andrews. The green here slopes severely from back to front. There's a bunker left and another across the front of the right side of the putting surface that create a very narrow approach into the left side of the putting surface. These bunkers at St. Andrews are called ‘Hill’ and ‘Strath’, respectively. But, the fourth is another hole at Augusta that’s been significantly lengthened in recent years. Originally designed as a 190-yard hole, it can now play as long as 240 yards … into the prevailing wind, too … from an elevated tee.”
No. 5: Magnolia
Historical average: 4.27
Historical rank: 5
Mingay’s take: “The fifth is one of the most unheralded holes at Augusta ... which is odd, because it’s a great one. And a difficult one, too. When you stand on the tee, your first impression is inevitably not to hit it into those super deep fairway bunkers down the left side that emphasize the dogleg and take another 300-yard plus poke from the Masters tee to carry. As a result, most players - even the pros - will drive it down the right leaving a comparatively awkward angle into the green. Approaching from the left side, which those aforementioned bunkers discourage, is advantageous. Two-time Masters winner and accomplished golf architect, Ben Crenshaw, describes the fifth green as ‘very St. Andrews-like in concept. It’s another heaving piece of ground, split beautifully into sections with artful contouring that demands strategic play from the tee and then very precise approach play … a la many at the Old Course, yes. Otherwise, more than two putts are likely.”
No. 6: Juniper
Historical average: 3.14
Historical rank: 13
Mingay’s take: ”The 6th is a classic drop shot par 3, in a beautiful setting where 'patrons' can sit on a hillside between the tee and green to watch play at the 6th and adjacent par 3 16th … with tee shots at the 6th whizzing over their heads. It's a neat experience at the Masters. Guarded in front by a big bunker, the 6th green is fairly large for a relatively short par 3. The scorecard reads 180 yards, but the 30 foot drop from tee to green makes this hole play much shorter. Like many greens at Augusta, the contour and slope of the green here is varied and can work for or against you. There's a tiny shelf in the back-right corner of the green that's very difficult to stop a ball on … even for the world's best golfers. Historically, the pin is placed up there, on that shelf, two days of the Masters. Missing this plateau leaves adventurous putts and tricky recovery shots. Front pins are comparatively easy to get to, presenting ideal variance on a green at a hole of this type … with a few pins that are relatively simple to access and a couple brutal spots to put the hole.”
We’ll look at holes seven through nine Wednesday. Please see below for previous holes.