The 2023 Masters Media Guide is out and with it comes the announcement of one of the worst-kept secrets in golf.
The iconic par-5 13th has a new tournament tee and the media guide confirms it will be 35 yards longer than last year at 545 yards.
The existence and construction of the new tee had been chronicled through last summer and this fall by the Twitter account Eureka Earth, which had taken aerial photos of the new tee.
During construction, images of what appeared to be a hydronic system being installed underneath the new tee came out. Such a system could potentially be used to regulate the temperature of the turf, perhaps to prevent frost delays on chilly April mornings in Georgia, although no mention of the system was made in the media guide.
Just a year ago, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said there was “no timetable” for extending what had become a short par-5 by modern standards at 510 yards.
Bobby Jones had intended for it to be a “momentous decision” to go for the green in two, but the modern athlete and equipment have negated that. In recent years, pros have been able to reach the green with just a fairway wood and mid-iron, and some players have even blasted drivers over the trees on the left, covering the tributary to Rae’s Creek, which runs along the left side of the fairway and in front of the green. Since 1942, it has played as the easiest hole on the course at the Masters.
The hole has played its previous yardage of 510 since 2002, following the “Tiger-proofing” of the course in response to Tiger Woods’ 1997 Masters domination. In 2017, Augusta National purchased land from neighboring Augusta Country Club behind the 13th hole.
That land had sat unused until now as Chapman Court was rerouted around the new property lines and Augusta Country Club rebuilt its 8th and 9th holes as part of the sale.
When the course reopened for play this past fall after its typical summer closure, Eureka Earth captured photos of the new tee completed. It also appeared the previous tournament tee has been eliminated.
The new tee could prove controversial as some believe the hole no longer plays how it was intended to in the modern game, while others believe it should have been left as is. It is the second major change to the back nine par-5s at Augusta National in as many years. A new tee was added in 2022 on the 15th hole to lengthen that hole by 20 yards to 550 yards.
Also last year, the par-4 11th was extended to 520 yards, meaning the scorecard yardage was longer than the par-5 13th.
There were no other announced changes to the course for this year, but the club did announce the redesign of the first five holes of its par-3 course as well.