Work along Augusta National Golf Club’s western edge of its course has started, and plans call for an extensive landscaping program in addition to changes to the fifth hole.
According to site plans that were revised April 6 with the Augusta Planning and Development Department, more than 600 new trees, plants and bushes will be planted in the area. New storm sewer pipe is being installed as well.
Bulldozers and other heavy equipment went into action about a week after the 2018 Masters Tournament ended. The work is along Old Berckmans Road, which has been closed to through traffic since 2015.
According to preliminary site plans filed Jan. 30, and labeled “#5 Renovations,” the tee box for tournament play on the 455-yard, par-4 hole would be pushed back across Old Berckmans Road. The new tee would alleviate congestion at the fourth green and current fifth tee, which are just a few yards apart.
Augusta National has not announced any changes to the fifth hole. According to the preliminary plans, filed by Augusta firm Cranston Engineering Group P.C., a total of 23.1 acres would be affected.
The approximate start date for the project is listed as May 1, and the approximate end date is Nov. 1. Augusta National closes each year in late May and reopens in October, and typically no work on the course is done until it closes for the season.
Augusta National’s fifth hole has long been considered a prime target for renovations. Club and tournament chairman Fred Ridley didn’t specify any changes in his news conference this year, but said the club intends to “maintain the design philosophy” that course architects Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie devised.
“And with the shot values that they thought were important, we have done what we felt was appropriate through the years to maintain that philosophy,” Ridley said.
The buffer between the course and the area used for parking will be improved aesthetically. According to a plant schedule listed in the revised plans, several different types of trees and plants will be added. They include 19 mega hardwoods, eight mega pines, 13 hardwoods and 77 pine trees. Nearly 200 bushes will be planted, along with 83 holly plants and 77 tea olive plants.
A number of existing trees and plants will be saved, according to the plans, and a retaining wall will be built around the new tee box area.