Preface: While I have had the privilege to be a guest on the podcast in its early stage, and hope to continue to be a reoccurring guest in spot appearances, I am honored and thrilled to take my talents to the writing side of the Amateur Hour. If you have any recommendations or just want to tell me how average I am, feel free to hit the twitter, @laterza12. Lets get to it.
This week needs NO introduction, but I will give one anyways. A tradition unlike any other: The Masters. To explain how tough this tournament is, read this a few times: The Masters is the ONLY event on tour where no one has EVER shot in the 60s for all 4 rounds. Not a typo.
The most prestigious golf tournament started in 1934 as the first Augusta National Invitation Tournament, and winner Horton Smith took home a WHOPPING 1,500$. Now? Sergio Garcia, the reigning champ, took home a modest 1,980,000$ – which is NOT the highest paying tournament purse of the PGA season (belongs to the US Open). Between then and now, we have seen a slew of winners – Jack has 6 green jackets, Arnold and Tiger have 4, Phil has 3, and even the saltiest ex golfer alive, Nick Faldo, has 3. All this history, the big names, the pure course, makes this tournament the most hyped every year. And yet this year seems like the most buzz, maybe ever. Tiger is the main event, but the side stages are just as good – Phil and Bubba peaking at the right moment, Dustin hasn’t fallen down any stairs yet, and the young trio of JT, Spieth, and Rickie seem to be finding something in their games to make a run of their own.
The course itself is LONG: 7,435 yards. While the Bear gets into the course on a whole-scale, I want write about a few holes that whoever you are rooting for need to score on, and a few holes that par is something to write home about. Here we go:
MUST SCORE HOLES:
13: The 510-yard par 5 is an absolute must score for your golfers. Dog leg left, the green is protected by a creek in front, and 3 bunkers in the back. However, with a solid drive off the tee, getting here in 2 is very doable. Birdie here is very important for your late round momentum.
2: This par 5 is a little longer at 575 yards. However, a good tee shot on another dog leg left can set you up to take the risk to go for it in 2. Caution, however, as the green is protected by a pair of twin bunkers sitting in front of the green. A very nice way to start your round the right way with a birdie.
8: Re-occurring theme – score on the par 5’s. This one 570 yards, and holds a tricky fairway bunker down the right side of the fairway. Also pretty uphill, most people will see the green in 3, but if you can score here, it gives you cushion going into Amen Corner.
PAR IS GOOD:
1: Is it the nerves? Is it the uphill nature of the hole? The trees to left off the tee? The greenside bunker front left? Whatever it is, 1 seems to eat people up. Starting off with a par can do a lot to get the round going.
4: When us amateurs think about a par 3, we like our 9 iron for the 143-yard swift stroke where we can miss the green, chip on, and 2 putt our way to a bogey. When you step up to 4 at Augusta, you stare down a 240-yard BEAST. Winds make this hole tricky, and it is defended again by a pair of bunkers in front of the green. Hold your breath on this one.
10/11: If your golfer can come out of this even par, you’re in great shape for the rest of the round. But good luck. 10 is historically the toughest hole on the course. A 495-yard par 4 (lol). Something to note is the 60-yard-long bunker that is well in front of the green. However, there is another bunker right in front of the green that is a nightmare to get up and down from. If you survive that, you get rewarded by 11, which is a 505-yard (lmao) par 4. Water on the left side of the green, and a small bunker on the right, an accurate second shot is key here, which is set up by precision off the tee. The fairway is one of the widest on the course, which eases bombers’ minds off the tee.
Hopefully this small guide gives you a little insight on the course. I think I speak for the entire team: we are ready for Thursday. Cheers!