From the moment Bobby Jones laid eyes on the 365-acre property in Augusta, Georgia called Fruitland Nurseries, he knew he had found the site to fulfil his dream of building his own golf course.
“Perfect,” Jones said. “And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course on it.”
With that, alongside Clifford Roberts, an option was taken on the property for $70,000, Alister MacKenzie was hired as architect, the course opened for play in 1933 and the rest, as they say, is history.
The layout measured 6,800 yards when the first official Masters Tournament – named The Invitational until Roberts had his wish to change it to The Masters in 1940 – took place in 1934. And since that day, Augusta National has evolved through the years to match golf’s technological revolution and continues to provide an acid test for a would-be Green Jacket winner.
For the 2022 tournament, the Cathedral in the Pines has been extended to 7,510 yards, with the par-4 11th hole pushed out by 15-yards to 520-yards, while the par-5 15th has been stretched by 20-yards to 550-yards.
The lengthening of the furthest most hole from the stately Georgian clubhouse, the 11th, has no doubt been undertaken to bring the pond guarding the green more into play, while the par-5 15th, averaging 4.77 strokes at last year’s Masters, has historically been the second easiest hole on the course behind the par-5 13th.
There’s also been changes to the closing hole, the par-4 18th with the tees extended back 13 yards, though the official length at the last remains set at 465-yards. So whatever about the colourful azaleas, the crystal clear creeks, and the hallowed turf of Augusta, don’t be fooled; the course packs an almighty punch, and whoever finds his way into the Butler Cabin on Sunday will be worthy of his seat.
Four-time Champion Arnold Palmer on Augusta:
“Like the golf course itself, change at Augusta National takes the shape of a steady and quiet evolution, but the overall effect is one of gracious permanence that always makes coming here feel a little like coming home.”
HOW AUGUSTA HAS ‘GROWN’ OVER THE YEARS stats to go with above
- 1940: 6,800 yards (6,218 m)
- 1950: 6,900 yards (6,309 m)
- 1960: 6,980 yards (6,383 m)
- 1970: 6,980 yards (6,383 m)
- 1980: 7,040 yards (6,437 m)
- 1990: 6,905 yards (6,314 m)
- 2000: 6,985 yards (6,387 m)
- 2010: 7,435 yards (6,799 m)
- 2020: 7,475 yards (6,835 m)
- 2022: 7,510 yards (6,867 m)