Augusta National: A history of course changes, Part 3
Bobby Jones gets credit as co-designer of Augusta National with Alister MacKenzie, but even the famous amateur would argue that his role was overstated.
“There was never any question that he (MacKenzie) was the architect and I his advisor and consultant,” Jones wrote in his last book, “Golf Is My Game.” “No man learns to design a course simply by playing golf.”
Still, Jones had a great hand in shaping the course. He was the main influence on the course because MacKenzie died before the Masters was even played.
“We want to make the bogies easy if frankly sought, pars readily obtainable by standard good play, and birdies, except on the par-5s, dearly bought.” - Bobby Jones
He and Clifford Roberts flipped the nines before the 1935 Masters, and Jones collaborated with Robert Trent Jones to add water features on Nos. 11 and 16.
Jones and MacKenzie drew on the Old Course at St. Andrews for their inspiration in creating Augusta National. Both loathed penal designs, and they loved giving golfers multiple options.
Case in point: bunkers. The course originally had fewer than 30 and now has only 44, and they have been adjusted through the years.
Jones always believed Augusta National was a second-shot course, and the recent renovations to the course have reflected that.
One of the more prominent additions was a double bunker added to the fairway landing area on No. 18 in 1967. That was aimed at preventing Jack Nicklaus from blasting it up the left side away from the trouble on the right.
In the 2002 renovation project, several fairway bunkers were tinkered with, including those on Nos. 1 and 8.
And for this year, the bunkers protecting the left side of the fifth fairway were shifted toward the tee to bring them into play again.
The water features on Augusta National’s second nine, namely Rae’s Creek and its tributary, have caused plenty of trouble through the years.
“The difference between a sand trap and water hazard is the difference between a car crash and an airplane crash,” Jones once said. “You have a chance of recovering from a car crash.”
That doesn’t mean the bunkers haven’t also wreaked havoc. Arnold Palmer was on his way to becoming the first repeat champion in 1961 when his second shot at No. 18 found the greenside bunker. Palmer blasted long, then failed to get up and down. He lost to Gary Player by one.
This Date At The Masters
The date with the unluckiest number proved most fortunate for two of the tournament’s most frequent champions.
Tiger Woods, 21, won the first of his four Masters victories on April 13, 1997, with a record-setting round, becoming the youngest winner.
The oldest winner, Jack Nicklaus, 46, won his sixth green coat on the same date in 1986.
1942: Byron Nelson defeated Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff to win the final Masters played before it was shut down for World War II.
1969: George Archer shot a final-round 72 for a one-shot win over Billy Casper, George Knudson and Tom Weiskopf.
1970: Billy Casper held off Gene Littler in an 18-hole playoff to win his only green jacket.
1975: Jack Nicklaus rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt at No. 16 to knock off Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf for his fifth Masters triumph.
1980: Seve Ballesteros became the youngest Masters champion and the first from Europe with his four-shot victory.
2003: Mike Weir of Canada became the first left-handed golfer to win the Masters when he defeated Len Mattiace in a sudden-death playoff.
2008: Trevor Immelman of South Africa dominated the first three rounds as he posted a three-shot victory.
2014: Bubba Watson became the tournament’s 17th multiple winner when he donned the green jacket for the second time in three years.