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 the first three holes of the back nine, arguably the most difficult stretch the players will face on the entire course.
No. 10: Camelia
Historical average: 4.32
Historical rank: 1
Mingay’s take: ”Originally the first, before the nines were flipped in 1934, Augusta's 10th hole is epic. The 108 foot plunge down to the 'MacKenzie bunker' in the centre of the fairway, short of the green, is shocking when you see this hole for the first time in person. It's incomparable in the world of golf. For the sake of reference, the Statue of Liberty is 108 feet tall. The 10th fairway literally looks like it could be an Olympic ski run … or jump, actually. The 'MacKenzie bunker' is named so because it was left of the original green. When architect Perry Maxwell moved the 10th green 50 yards back, in 1937, he left the original greenside bunker, which now almost comes into play for drives during the Masters. The bunker, which is about 55 yards long, starts about 370 yards off the tournament tee. Featuring capes of turf and bays of sand, the 'MacKenzie bunker' is unlike any other on the course these days. Its current form hints at the original, more elaborate style of the bunkers at Augusta in the early days. Today, Augusta's bunkers are some of the most sterile looking in championship golf. They're almost uniformly round and perfectly edged, filled with glaring white sand…the antithesis of Alister MacKenzie's naturalistic style of golf architecture. The 10th hole is another that's been lengthened in recent years. It can play almost 500 yards long nowadays. It's usually one of the most difficult holes on the course, too. The tee shot is key … driving it long left takes advantage of more slope, shortening the length of approach. Tee shots hit down the right side are more likely to hold up a bit, leaving a longer shot to the green."
No. 11: White Dogwood
Historical average: 4.29
Historical rank: 2
Migay’s take: ”Of all the changes made at Augusta over the years, reversing the nines was probably the best idea. The start of the back nine, holes 10-13 in particular, is incredible. It's a better mid-round stretch than a start to a golf course, for sure. The 11th is another massively epic hole, but it too has been comprehensively changed since the course was originally designed. The 11th originally opened as a medium length two-shotter played from a tee right of the original green. Now it's a massive par 4 measuring 505 yards from the Masters tee, which is back and left of today's green. The 505 tee was installed in 2002 and presents what is arguably the scariest look on the course. The scale of this picture is gigantic. The tee shot plays through a narrow chute of pines, over a crest. From there the fairway plummets another 50 feet or so down to the green in front of Rae's Creek. Not long ago, this hole was classically strategic … drive down the right side to leave a preferred angle of approach into the length of the green or, go left, and face a comparatively daunting approach that needs to flirt more with the greenside pond left of the putting surface. However, at the same time the 505 tee was installed, a forest of pines was planted down the right side eliminating that route. These new trees force tee shots left, eliminating the old strategy, forcing golfers to look at that pond … a tough hole made ever tougher."
No. 12: Golden Bell
Historical average: 3.29
Historical rank: T3
Mingay’s take: ”The 12th is probably the most famous par 3 in the world. Its setting, down in the lowest part of the course, where Rae's Creek crosses between the tee and green, is beautiful. But, it's the angle that the green's set on, relative to the position of the tees, that really makes this a great hole, particularly when the wind is swirling down at 'Amen Corner', as they often say. The distance to the centre of the green, from the Masters tee, is about 155 yards max. But, with the shallow green on its left to right angle, left pins play 'short' and right pins play 'long'. A pulled tee shot aimed at a right hole location can end up long left, over the green, leaving a very difficult recovery shot. A pushed shot aimed at a left pin might end short right, in the water. This is why you'll often see players aimed at the centre of the 12th green, to avoid these potential mistakes, which can happen easily when the pressure that comes with playing in the Masters Tournament factors. Augusta's 12th is the epitome of a great short par 3. It demands everything of a short iron shot, in a beautiful setting."
We’ll look at holes thirteen through fifteen on Friday. Please see below for previous holes.