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Posted April 9, 2019, 9:44 am
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Augusta National is friendly for spectator viewing

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    The mounds on No. 8, part of Alister MacKenzie's original design for Augusta National, were removed in 1956 by Clifford Roberts to improve viewing for patrons. They were restored in 1979. [Andrew Davis Tucker/The Augusta Chronicle]

Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones are the co-designers of Augusta National, but Clifford Roberts should get some credit for some of the changes he implemented.

The longtime chairman was never a golf course architect, but he always tried to improve the Masters Tournament for its patrons.

“We realized that, in order to build a tournament of stature that could survive Bob’s eventual separation from the event, it needed to be operated in a better fashion and made more enjoyable than any other.”
Clifford Roberts, on the decision with Bobby Jones to create Augusta National and the Masters

Chief among those updates was the use of mounds to enhance spectator viewing.

The 18th green and its surrounds are prime examples as the main stage for the last hole of the tournament.

“He wanted the maximum number of spectators to have a clear view of the drama, and over the years he repeatedly shaped the surrounding terrain in order to accommodate them,” David Owen wrote in “The Making of the Masters.”

Roberts’ influence can also be seen at the par-5 8th hole. Jones didn’t agree with Roberts’ decision in 1956 to take out the mounds around the green, leaving a nondescript hourglass-shaped green. But Roberts wanted them removed to improve viewing for patrons.

Before his death in 1977, Roberts signed off on restoring the mounds at No. 8. Former Masters champion Byron Nelson and Joe Finger did the work in the summer of 1979, and a new observation stand was erected to solve the problem of spectator viewing.

Photos: Tuesday at the Masters

Roberts also wanted a short course for Augusta National, and in 1958 the Par-3 Course was built. George Cobb was the principal architect, with plenty of input from Roberts.