Augusta National Preview

Ranking every hole at the legendary home of the Master’s Tournament

Author: Sam Gemini

MADISON – Augusta National is the most revered golf course ever designed – period.  In this article, I will rank every hole in the layout from worst to best (I just want to note that the use of the word “worst” is highly out of place in this topic, but I couldn’t think of a more succinct way to say it.  Due to copyright rules, I cannot include photos, but they are not difficult to find should you have the desire). 

18.  8th Hole, Yellow Jasmine – 570 yards

The second par five on the property is brawny and fun.  The approach slopes steeply uphill and the narrow putting surface is surrounded by large green mounds.  While it certainly looks cool, the eighth is somewhat basic and, strategically, very simple.  These qualities land it at the bottom of the rankings.

17.  1st Hole, Tea Olive – 445 yards

A solid, medium-length par four, the opening hole has a touch of class that defines everything about Augusta.  However, the unending stream of spectacular that follows renders it quite average, landing it near the bottom of the rankings. 

16.  14th Hole, Chinese Fir – 440 yards

The only hole on the course without a bunker, the fourteenth looks boringly ordinary.  Nevertheless, the graceful fairway slopes gently and the green is one of the most severely undulating in the state of Georgia.

15.  17th Hole, Nandina – 440 yards

This hole would be much higher on the list if it weren’t for the death of the famous Eisenhower Tree that stood guard over the left side of the fairway.  Even so, the tee shot is notoriously difficult and the green is slightly raised, making it hard to hit.

14.  5th Hole, Magnolia – 495 yards

The beautiful fifth features two cavernous bunkers along the left side of the fairway.  Miss on this side and enjoy a totally blind approach to an undulating green with a run-off area behind. 

13.  4th Hole, Flowering Crab Apple – 240 yards

The first of four awesome par-threes is a beast at well over 200 yards.  It plays downhill to a green that is well guarded by bunkers and very difficult to hit.  This is generally one of the most difficult holes on the course in relation to par.

12.  7th Hole, Pampas – 450 yards

Now the rankings get more exciting.  The seventh is played through a devilishly narrow tunnel of Georgia pines to an elevated green surrounded on all sides by sand.  If you miss the fairway or overshoot the green, enjoy your double bogey.

11.  6th Hole, Juniper – 180 yards

This unbelievable par three plays steeply downhill, making club selection difficult.  Accuracy is a premium to a green featuring distinct tiers.  Players who miss the correct tier will be faced with a challenging 2-putt. 

10.  3rd Hole, Flowering Peach – 350 yards

The shortest par-four on the property requires strategy and finesse.  The green is extremely shallow and sits on top of a dramatic plateau.  Balls with too much backspin will roll off the front and down a fifteen-foot slope, while misses long or right are almost guaranteed bogeys.  

9.  2nd Hole, Pink Dogwood – 575 yards

This breathtaking par-five begins in a densely-wooded chute of Georgia pines.  As it turns down a ski-slope-like hill, it opens up to reveal a putting surface beautifully placed in the middle of a vast green field.  

8.  15th Hole, Firethorn – 530 yards

The final par-five at Augusta is short but calculating.  Every player in the Master’s field has the distance to reach the very shallow green in two, but pulling off the shot is easier said than done.  Players must contend with a pond short and a steep run-off area long.

7.  16th Hole, Redbud – 170 yards

A truly iconic par-three, the sixteenth is the location of the most famous shot in the history of golf: Tiger’s Sunday chip-in for birdie in 2005.  The green is guarded by a mirror-like pond and surrounded by lush hills and majestic pines.  It is truly one of the great natural amphitheaters of the world.   

6.  18th Hole, Holly – 465 yards

One of the most famous finishing holes in the world, the eighteenth is an absolute classic.  Through a corridor of trees and up a steep slope, the fairway opens up onto a wide expanse of flawless green grass.  The difficult green will not be surrounded by its usual mass of fans this year, but it will still provide plenty of drama and a photo finish.

5.  10th Hole, Camellia – 495 yards

We are now getting into a seriously special territory in our discussion of Augusta National.  Camellia turns to the left off the tee and down a truly unbelievable hillside.  It is lined on both sides with massive pines, and a gaping bunker sits in the middle of the fairway short of the green.  There is simply nothing like it.

4.  9th Hole, Carolina Cherry – 460 yards

Another work of art, the ninth falls down yet another slope before turning back uphill to a green set high into the hillside.  This putting surface slopes so severely from back to front that those who miss long will likely be unable to hold the green with their chip.  Two white sand bunkers short and the gorgeous clubhouse behind frame this hole with perfection.

3.  11th Hole, White Dogwood – 505 yards

The monstrous par-four 11th begins Amen Corner, the greatest three-hole stretch in golf (and it’s not even close).  An extremely narrow and wooded tee shot is followed by a scary approach over a pond of black glass.  Surviving this is half the battle at Amen Corner.

2.  13th Hole, Azalea – 510 yards

With a charming stream and over 1000 azaleas lining the left side of this short par-five, Amen Corner’s finale is one of the most beautiful golf holes in existence.  Legendary architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie stated that he did not design Azalea, he “discovered it.”  Enough said.

1.  12th Hole, Golden Bell – 155 yards

Stunning.  Iconic.  Unparalleled.  One cannot use too many words to describe the Golden Bell.  A minuscule, hour-glass-shaped green guarded by pearly white bunkers.  A smooth creek.  Towering cathedral-like pines.  There is such a magical aura here that it would not seem out of place to hold a church sermon.  Many famous collapses have occurred on these enchanted grounds including a thirteen by Tom Weiskopf in 1980.  It is the heart of Amen Corner.  It is, quite simply, the greatest golf hole ever created.