After the course shut down for its annual summer closure in May, work began on the 13th hole, which played as the third easiest hole at the 2022 Masters. Photos in June showed the clearing of trees and the digging of irrigation trenches, seemingly preparing for the placement of a new tee.
Now, it appears new sod is down as the club gets ready to reopen for the fall. Check out the photo below from Eureka Earth, which often publishes flyover photos of Augusta National.
The hole has historically played around 500 yards from the tournament tees, which is adjacent to the 12th green. In recent years, pros have been able to reach the par-5 in two 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 front of the green.
The club bought the land behind the 13th tee from neighboring Augusta Country Club in 2017.
Using the highly scientific method of eyeballing the placement of the tee on Google Earth based on the Eureka Earth photos, we’re estimating the new 13th hole could play to about 540 to 550 yards. A 300-yard drive from the new tee may not be long enough to get an unobstructed angle at the green.
Bobby Jones intended for going for the 13th green to be a “momentous decision,” but these days, players are seemingly losing strokes on the field who don’t try to reach the putting surface under regulation.
Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said at this year’s Masters that there was still “no timetable” for changing the hole, but the club is famously tight-lipped when it comes to course changes.
While the club appeared to break ground on the 13th, as well as changes to its par-3 course, quickly this summer, there also appears to be some new technology going into the teeing ground.
Eureka Earth photos from August show what looks to be a hydronic system being used for the new tee.
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.
A lengthening of 13 could be the second major change to the back nine par-5s in as many years, as the 15th hole was lengthened from 530 yards to 550 yards for this year’s tournament. The 15th played significantly harder in 2022 than in previous years with the added yardage as players often found themselves blocked out by the trees on the left.
We likely shouldn’t expect to hear anything about any changes from Augusta National until next spring, but you be sure Eureka Earth will continue to keep an eye out.