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Posted April 6, 2018, 5:38 pm
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155-yard 12th hole among Augusta National's toughest

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    155-yard 12th hole among Augusta National's toughest
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    The 12th green is guarded by a creek and a bunker in front, and two more bunkers lie in wait in the back for those who overshoot. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Why is it that the shortest holes often produce the most fear for a golfer?

The 17th at TPC Sawgrass is surrounded by water.

The Postage Stamp at Troon has many a pot bunker.

And the 12th at Augusta National has Rae’s Creek and wind. Lots of wind.

When golfers reach the second leg of Amen Corner this weekend, they will take great care to select the right club.

At just 155 yards, it is by far the shortest hole on the course. If a shot comes up short, it often finds the creek that crosses in front or the bunker that guards the fat part of the green. Long is no bargain, either, with a pair of bunkers behind the green.

The swirling winds at Augusta National seem to pile up at Amen Corner, even though it is the lowest point on the course. Historically, the 12th hole is the fourth hardest.

LEARN MORE: Course Tour | No. 12 - Golden Bell

Just ask Jordan Spieth what he thinks of the hole named Golden Bell.

In 2016, the Texan was cruising to a second consecutive Masters win. It would have made him just the fourth golfer to win back-to-back green jackets.

Instead, with the hole cut in its traditional Sunday spot on the far right, Spieth pushed his tee shot right and found Rae’s Creek. He dropped and hit his third shot into the water. After another drop, he cleared the water and put his ball in one of the back bunkers. He had to get that up and down just to make a quadruple bogey 7.

Goodbye, green jacket.

Before the 2017 Masters, Spieth paid a visit to Augusta National to exorcise his demons. He rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt.

“I was like, there was no chance I was leaving this short,” he said a year ago. “I was pumped to hit the green, and then I hit my putt and it just about stopped short on the front lip and fell in for two. I probably gave like a big fist pump. I was walking around with my hands up, like the demon’s gone.”

Spieth is again in the hunt for the green jacket, but he isn’t getting too far ahead of himself.

“I know as well as anybody anything can happen at Augusta National,” he said Thursday.

Especially at the 12th.



No. 11 - White Dogwood

Par 4, 505 yards

The start of Amen Corner is the most difficult hole in recent years because of its added length. A slight fade off the tee is necessary to reach the fairway. The greenside pond is more of a factor, because players have longer shots into the green.


No. 12 - Golden Bell

Par 3, 155 yards

The shortest hole is a bear to play because of swirling winds. Its usually a medium- or short-iron shot to a narrow green that is protected by Raes Creek in front and azaleas behind.

No. 13 - Azalea

Par 5, 510 yards

The classic risk-reward hole became more challenging with a new tee added in 2002. A slight draw is required to get into position for the second shot to the par-5, but a tributary of the creek catches shots that come up short.


1935: Gene Sarazen holed his second shot at the par-5 15th for a double eagle to force a 36-hole playoff with Craig Wood. He used a 4-wood from 235 yards out.

1940: Jimmy Demaret finished with 71 to win by a then-record four shots.

1946: Herman Keiser edged Ben Hogan by one stroke to win the first Masters held after World War II.

1957: Doug Ford closed with 66, including a birdie after holing out from the bunker on No. 18, to beat Sam Snead by three shots.

1963: Jack Nicklaus won his first green jacket and became the tournament’s youngest winner.

1998: The Jack Nicklaus plaque was dedicated to the six-time champion. It is affixed to a drinking fountain between Nos. 16 and 17