Augusta Country Club now more visible from Augusta National
As morning fog lifted over Augusta National’s clubhouse, the tree line to the right of No. 10 became visible. Gradually, beyond gaps in the towering pine trees, a different set of green fairways appeared.
“That’s a new look right there,” said Larry Mize, who grew up playing at Augusta Country Club. “I noticed it when I got to the clubhouse and also yesterday while playing No. 10.”
For decades, the view from Augusta National’s clubhouse toward its neighboring club was heavily impeded — and vice versa. That changed in 2018.
After a land deal between the two clubs in 2017, Augusta Country Club underwent a regrassing and bunker renovation project through most of last year, while holes Nos. 8 and 9 received an architectural change. During the project, which forced Augusta Country Club to close its course for 5 1/2 months, trees were removed from No. 8, in turn leaving a more unobstructed view of both courses.
“Taking out trees to the left of No. 8 at Augusta Country Club really opened it up,” Mize said. “But, look, these are two great clubs. Two tremendous clubs. So this is OK. This isn’t a bad thing.”
In addition to Mize, former Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw also noticed the more open look.
“It’s different,” said Crenshaw, who won the Masters in 1984 and 1995. “For most places, you have to thin them out occasionally, remove some foliage, to allow sunlight to get to certain parts of the course.”
Augusta National has yet to comment publicly on what it intends to do with its acquired land, but Crenshaw believes No. 13 tee box will eventually be impacted. The 510-yard par 5 typically plays as one of the easiest holes at the Masters Tournament.
“Let me say this — Augusta National has done everything in its power to keep up with the modern game of golf,” Crenshaw said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job. I haven’t been told what the plans are for No. 13, but I’m sure there is one. Just take No. 5 tee box, for example. I wish everyone could see it because it really is incredible. It looks like it’s been in that spot forever.”
The redesign of Augusta Country Club’s Nos. 8 and 9 was paid for by Augusta National after it purchased the land from its neighbor. On Aug. 4, 2017, Augusta Country Club president Jay B. Forrester said the sale had been completed after "many months of collaborative and cooperative dialogue.'' He also noted that "this transaction will improve our golf course and put Augusta Country Club in even greater financial position for many years.’'
Charles Howell grew up playing at Augusta County Club and said he would peer through the fence along No. 9 fairway and glance toward Amen Corner. The redesign has now enlarged the gap.
“As kids we always liked playing the ninth hole because we could see 12 green and 13 tee of Augusta National,” Howell said. “I never got the courage to sneak over to putt, but it was always really cool as a kid to see it right there.”