All You Need To Know About Augusta National Golf Club
The iconic Augusta National Golf Club first opened for play in 1933. It was founded by the legendary Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Jones was part of the design team along with Alister MacKenzie. The course is situated on acreage that was once the Fruitlands Nursery. Fittingly, each hole is named after a tree or shrub associated with the nursery.
Augusta National Golf Club FAQ
Since 1934 the course has hosted The Masters Tournament, one of the PGA Tour seasons’ 4 major championships. The Masters is the only one of the four that is played on the same course every year. This seemingly insignificant factoid has cemented Augusta National into the minds and hearts of golfers and golf fans worldwide.
The course has ranked as Number 1 in Golf Digest’s annual rankings and has ranked in the top ten based on course architecture in Golfweek Magazine’s list of best classic courses in the U.S.
Historians note designers Jones and MacKenzie were heavily influenced by the Old Course at St. Andrews. Their design relied on the “ground game” or the art of running shots to their desired location. Since the late 30’s the design has been altered to make the course less vulnerable to the technology changes we’ve witnessed. Greens have been moved. Tee boxes have been redirected. Trees have been added, along with a secondary rough.
The Masters is now played at 7,435 yards. At its inception, the course played at 6,800 yards. The 10th hole for example was once benign and extremely vulnerable at 400 yards played downhill. The green was moved 50 yards to the top of the hill the hole lies on. The hole now play at 495 yards. It historicglly ranks as the toughest hole on the course during Masters competition. The changes have been the work of some 15 different designers. That in and of itself is impressive.hest hole
It’s notable that the majority of the lengthening and tightening have occurred since Tiger Woods demolished the field in 1997 and, in one classic moment, altered the game of golf forever.
Augusta National is instantly recognizable for its dogwoods and azaleas. Nearly every hole is framed with the color and vitality these trees and shrubs provide. You’d be hard pressed to find a more memory-provoking vista than the beauty of Amen Corner. In 1958, the late author and sportswriter Herbert Warren Wind gave a 3 hole stretch of shots (the second shot at the 11th, all of the 12th, and the first two shots at the 13th hole) the nickname. It was his way of adding a jazz-like, catchy flavor to the lore of the Masters. The nickname has stuck. Fittingly, Amen Corner has been the scene of some of the most significant moments on the tournament’s history.
Even presidents have lent their name to the aura of the club. In the 1950’s, club member, then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower had issue with a tall, loblolly pine tree situated 210 yards off the 17th tee. He hit is so many times he urged it be cut down at a 1956 club meeting. Then chairman Clifford Roberts adjourned the meeting immediately rather than deny the presidents’ request. The tree was nicknamed the Eisenhower Tree and remained a scourge to lesser golfers until an ice storm in 2014 severely damaged it, leading to its removal. Ike must be smiling in heaven!
Amen Corner is further enhanced by Rae’s Creek, named after former property owner John Rae, who died in 1789. Golfers cross the creek via 2 footbridges named after the legendary golfers Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. The Hogan Bridge delivers golfers to the 12th green, and the Nelson Bridge starts the golfers up the 13th fairway.
Membership at Augusta National is limited and by invitation only. There are only about 300 current members. It costs less than $30,000 to join with annual dues of $10,000. The course is open from October to May. The former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, became its first female member in 2012. Jack Nicklaus is the only golfer who is a member.
You can walk the grounds during the Masters if you can get a ticket. The club doles out tickets, which cost $115, via a lottery. The rest of the tickets are heirlooms, like Red Sox tickets. They pass from generation to generation. You can only play with a member. So, if you know Warren Buffet you are in.
Otherwise, enjoy the commercial free telecast on CBS TV. It’s the best in sports.