How do you determine the wind on Augusta National’s 12th hole?

Jordan Spieth tees off on the 12th hole during the 2023 Masters.

Jordan Spieth tees off on the 12th hole during the 2023 Masters.

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Before he became a household name in the golf-broadcast world, Frank Nobilo was a player with an impressive resume, with a total of 14 worldwide wins, including one on the PGA Tour and five on the DP World Tour.

Nobilo also logged five career top-10s at the majors, including a career-high 4th-place finish at the 1996 Masters. He played in the Masters a total of four times, giving him a valuable insider’s perspective on the course and the pressure players face during the tournament.

On this week’s episode of Subpar, Nobilo discussed a number of Masters-related topics with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz, including how to handle the sometimes diabolical par-3 12th hole.

The wind can be a major factor on 12, and when it comes to figuring out the wind direction on the tee shot, Nobilo has a short answer on his process … you can’t.

“Even when I played, I heard different things,” Nobilo said. “Tom Watson said, ‘Look at the flag on the 11,’ and then you’d see the flag going this way on 11, and then the flag’s going this way on 12. So you go, well, you should use the flag on 11 because the breeze comes over the hill.

“But to give people at home an example, when I go out and get ready, I’ll walk down the 11th, especially on a windy day. Because one of two things is happening: you either hear the wind and can’t feel it or you can feel it and can’t hear it, because it’s weird how it comes in over there. It’s like a little eddy effect.”

Nobilo said a change in the wind helped pave the way to Tiger Woods’ road to victory at the Masters in 2019.

Frank Nobilo walks during a practice round at Augusta National.
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“I know it’s five years removed since Tiger Woods’ last Masters, when they played early on the Sunday, because normally the weather sort of settles a bit later in the afternoon. They’re now coming around this here at around 11 o’clock, and that’s when it’s starting to get a little warmer,” Nobilo said. “So the breeze is getting a little more fickle. And I remember talking to Faldo, we had a back and forth. I said, you’re not gonna believe it, the breeze is changing. Like, literally, within five or 10 minutes when those final two groups were coming. And then everything happened. Koepka hit in the water, Poulter hit it in the water, Finau hit it in the water, Molinari hit it in the water. And and the rest was history.

“So yeah, you can overthink it, to answer your question, but there’s just a few things that affect it,” Nobilo continued. “The size of those pine trees behind the green, they’re so tall, they’re like a skyscraper effect, and if the ball gets above them or, or the height with them, anything can happen. The players normally that hit it down a little bit and just sort of, you know, two-thirds the height of those trees seem to do a little better.

“And sadly, you have to be conservative. Three will never, ever hurt you on 12.”

For more from Nobilo, including what it’s like to prepare for the Masters broadcast and the embarrassing moment he suffered during his first Masters, check out the full episode below. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on