Eighteen at Augusta National Golf Club
|Black M: 74.9/131||455||575||350||240||455||180||450||570||460||3735||495||505||155||510||440||530||170||440||465||3710||7445|
|White M: 71.7/123 W: 71.7/123||365||515||340||170||400||165||330||480||395||3160||450||400||145||455||380||475||145||370||385||3205||6365|
Field Of Dreams
Let me begin by saying this is simply not a fair fight. There is not another golf experience on the planet, including the Old Course and Pebble Beach that conjures up the memories of great moments in golf history more than Augusta National. Every hole, every fairway, and every green have a scrapbook of images that race to your mind as you experience ANGC for yourself. I was fortunate to stay in the Butler cabin and get the full treatment from our host. Champions locker room, Crows Nest, Wine Cellar, etc. Youre so overcome with an overload of golf nostalgia that sleeping is a difficult exercise. Thankfully when you stay on the property they have an internal feed of past Masters on the televisions in your room, I stayed in the Arkansas room, that you can watch past Masters broadcasts. I woke up at 3 am and watched 1975,84,86,95,and 97 before we ate breakfast. The golf course from the members tees is very manageable and the sight lines from the tees is pleasing and straight forward plus we all have our own memory bank to rely on with respect to the proper way to play each hole. The caddies are fully aware of the gravity of your experience and they do everything they can to enhance your experience. Lean on them on the greens. They are simply 18 wonders of the world and a lifetime of experience and acumen will never allow anyone to solve them. Make a point of viewing each hole from the green back as far as possible to the tee. The beauty and genius of ANGC is seen in full by looking at it in reverse. For example, the 3rd hole is simply one of the finest designs of terrain marrying length and green countour you will ever see and the best viewpoint is at the high part of the back of the green looking back toward the tee. Holes that demand extra attention on the first nine, because you told see them as much in coverage, are the 3,5,7,and 9th. The 7th has been affected almost as much as any with respect to added length and tree placement as the 11th and 15th. It is simply to hard to describe the feelings you get standing on the tenth tee. It has always been the first place I would go to upon my arrival for the Masters for many years. Look off in the distance at the Loblolly Pines behind the green leaning across each other, towering 75 feet in the air, and try to imagine a grander cathedral in the game. Walk slowly down the hill to 11 and really do a 360 panoramic from the 12th tee. It is simply the most menacing 150 yard shot in golf. Trust the yardage of the caddies on your approach into 13, the further right the hole location the greater the carry and it is significant, Rae's creek runs in front of the green on a diagonal route that greatly affects the carry from left to right. Walk every step of the 14th green. Ben Crenshaw believes it is a marvel in green complex design and he is beyond correct. If you hit quality shots you will have birdie putts but it is a virtual impossibility to avoid a couple three putts because of the green size, undulation and speed. Make a point to get the perspective from the back tee on 18 and imagine how narrow that corridor would feel with a one shot lead on Sunday. As far as the food and dining experiences, its whatever you want and how much of it. I would recommend, um...everything. The bottom line is that the golf experience at Augusta National is mecca.
Heaven on Earth...
I was lucky to get picked in the media lottery to play the hallowed grounds the day after Trevor Immelman won the Masters in 2008. To this day I remember every single shot I hit that chilly day. And, trust me, I hit many shots. I didn't sleep much the night before (was nervous I'd miss the tee time), it was about 40 degrees, I was wearing 3 layers of clothing and about 20 people were standing near the 10th tee, which is where my round started. But I'm a lefty, and even though I was battling a nasty slice at the time, the tee shot at 10 set up nicely. So I aimed a little right, hoping the ball would somehow find the fairway, and hit a dreaded straight ball directly into the right trees. But I was off to the races... From tee to green, the course is not as difficult as you'd think. The greens are what will decide whether you shoot a decent score. I played a usual mediocre round but my caddie Steve was an absolute joy. He saved me at least 10 shots that day, and we're still in contact now, 6 years later. Not sure what more can be said about a place that's so well known. So glorious...
Amazing, as expected
I was fortunate enough to land a tee time here on the Monday after the 2012 Masters. After walking the course all week I knew to expect a walk that was hillier than what appeared on TV, but, trust me, it's even more taxing when you go all 18. It's a hike. That day there were moments of sheer joy -- like finding the green on the par-3 12th and hitting the green in two at 15 -- but overall, I didn't play particularly well. I blocked my opening tee ball into the trees on 1, leading to a double bogey. I snap-hooked my drive and made a mess of the par-5 second. I blasted my tee ball into the trees on 13, and, no, I wasn't able to hit a Mickelson-like recovery. The greens are so undulating, I three-jacked at least 10 times. Distance control is imperative there, and, um, that's one of the many weaknesses of my game. Still, so many famous moments in golf history have been authored at Augusta, and it was indescribably cool to be able to drop a ball and try and emulate the shot -- especially since we were playing to the traditional Sunday pins. Before the round I didn't really care whether I shot 80, 90 or 110, but I'll never forget getting up-and-down from short of 18 green to shoot 89. It was an experience I'll remember forever.