Augusta National’s par-5 changes make this club key at the 2022 Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Every major lends itself to different kinds of equipment changes. It’s why pros suddenly start seeking out new wedges with sharp grooves for the firm-and-fast U.S. Open greens, or driving irons begin showing up in droves ahead of a windy Open Championship.

Each April at Augusta, we see the uptick around a different style of club: High-lofted fairway woods.

It’s no coincidence why.

The four par-5s stretch 575, 570, 510 and 550 yards — making them reachable for most players in the field. The later two holes have also been the subject of some of the course’s most notable changes since last year, as the team over at The Fried Egg describe here: The 13th green has been “re-contoured” and softened, which will allow tournament officials to plot new hole locations.

The green has remained the same on the 15th hole, but the hole has been lengthened by 20 yards. Rather than having a longer iron into the green, it leaves pros with the prospect of trying to hold the green — which drops off both front and back — with something longer.

“That’s a hard, hard green to hit with a 5- or 6-iron, and it’s really hard to hit with a 3-wood or 5-wood,” Justin Thomas said on Tuesday. “This year you’re going to have the potential of guys hitting good drives and being 240, 250 yards away and not being able to go for it because of a tough situation, club, wind, or you’re going to have guys that maybe try to force it from 260 or 270 and could potentially make a big number.”

Both changes place a higher premium than usual on players’ fairway woods. After all, they could end up hitting one on four of Augusta’s pivotal holes if they harbor any hopes of reaching them in two.

Pros could be hitting a fairway wood into the 15th this year. Getty Images

2020 champ Dustin Johnson is one of the most notable players making changes this week, with the former subbing-in a TaylorMade Stealth 4-hybrid in place of his 3-iron. He hits both clubs the same distance, but his hybrid launches higher.

“With today’s ball technology and club technology, players have to go with higher loft in order get that optimal landing angle into the green,” GOLF’s Managing Editor for Equipment, Jonathan Wall, said on the Masters Edition of the Fully Equipped podcast. “Something that gets that high apex and steep descent angle will be the only way players can and something and get it to stop on the green.”

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.