Augusta National reveals course, property changes ahead of Masters
Martin Miller/Augusta National
How’s this for a Friday afternoon news dump?
On the eve of Masters week, Augusta National officially announced a slew of long-rumored changes to its golf course and surrounding property, including the addition of a new, significantly lengthened tee box on the famed 13th hole.
In announcing the changes, the club also released the first photos of the updated property, which come to us courtesy of the photographer Martin Miller. The new photos show a drastically tightened tee shot on the 13th and the inclusion of a newly renovated Par-3 Course, which was both rerouted and rethought in order to improve spectator access and enjoyment during tournament week.
In the story announcing the changes, the club offered the following context on No. 13, which has been lengthened by 35 yards and the tee box raised by eight yards over 2022.
“To maintain what is one of most intimate settings on the golf course, substantial work was done to install trees and ornamentals around the teeing area,” the club said. “It is one of the few spots on the course where players and caddies are set apart from the patrons. Also, new and improved television camera positions were added.”
Per the announcement, the club installed “heating and cooling elements” to the 13th tee to “improve agronomics,” and that the entire hole underwent a sandcapping process to “promote firm and fast conditions when elements allow for it.”
Overall, the changes promise to turn the 13th back into something closer to the true 2.5-shot golf hole first envisioned by course architect Alister Mackenzie and club founder Bobby Jones in the 1930s. In recent years, scoring averages on the hole have plummeted as advances in club technology have allowed players to cut off the hole’s dogleg, allowing a short-iron or wedge second shot on the par-5. Now, Augusta National says, “the potential for a player to take a drive over the left corner of the dogleg has been reduced.”
The other notable change announced by the club on Friday centers around the Par-3 Course, site of the annual Masters Par-3 Contest. The course, which was first designed by Jones acolyte George Cobb in the late 1950s, has been altered significantly to improve the spectator experience in 2023.
“A primary goal of the renovation was to make for wider corridors for patrons to move around and to open the viewing options where multiple greens can be seen from one location,” the club said.
In order to accomplish this, Augusta National shaping teams rerouted and removed trees from the Par-3 Course’s first five holes, “opening viewing options and capacity.”
Perhaps the most notable changes to the par-3 can be found on the course’s new greens, which were resurfaced and recontoured in 2023. The new greens feature an “alternative variety” of bentgrass — different from the club’s traditional A-1 bentgrass — that will serve as a “testing ground” for the grass’ possible future inclusion at the big club.
Augusta National has used the Par-3 Course as an R&D vehicle before. In the late 1970s, grounds crews tested bentgrass greens for the first time on the property at the Par-3 Course, laying the (literal) groundwork for the main course’s transition from Bermuda to bentgrass greens in 1981.
As part of the renovation, Augusta National built a larger building that encompasses “merchandise, concessions and restrooms” near the Par-3 Course’s 5th hole.
The 87th Masters Tournament will be contested beginning next Thursday, April 6. The Par-3 Contest will be held on Wednesday, April 5 beginning at noon ET.