Monday, May 20, 2024

What are the most difficult holes at the Masters? Ranking Augusta National’s toughest holes

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Augusta National Golf Club is not the toughest golf course, but it is one of the most iconic. That’s not to say that the course doesn’t have its difficult parts though. After all, there is a stretch of parts of three holes on the course referred to as “Amen Corner”, because you just have to pray to get through that unforgiving patch unscathed for any hope of winning the tournament.

These holes have dashed numerous hopes and dreams over the years. However, performing well on these holes often gives golfers opportunity to catch up in later rounds. These will undoubtedly prove to be the most pivotal fairways and greens to hit at Augusta this weekend, and everyone should be glued to their screens when their favorite golfers tee up for them.

Here are the five toughest holes at the 2024 Masters.

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Honorable Mention: 16th hole – Par 3, 170 yards

The 16th hole at Augusta can be either the toughest or easiest hole on the course depending on where the pin is placed. Given that the 16th hole has a two-tiered green, when the cup is placed on the higher level, a pinpoint tee shot is needed or else golfers will be left with a near impossible uphill putt for birdie. And any putt left short would almost certainly result in a bogey. On the other hand though, if the cup is on the lower tier, the 16th hole becomes a haven for birdies.

Sure, the hole has a pond to the left that has dashed some championship hopes, but this is also the same hole that has witnessed 24 of the 34 hole-in-ones all-time during the Masters. While it can be a pain, it very often is the opposite. Oh, by the way, the hole will be on the much easier lower-level setup on the final day of the 2024 Masters.

Score to Par in Masters history: +0.139

5) 5th hole: Par 4, 495 yards

An uphill dogleg left, the 5th hole at Augusta boasts two devastating fairway bunkers, needing a carry of 315 yards to clear them. Not only are the bunkers placed in horrible spots though, but they are also incredibly deep. Getting to the green in two strokes from that sand is near impossible.

If that wasn’t enough, there is also a bunker on the back side of the green. That may not sound too bad, but when you realize that the green slopes back to front, you realize that shooting toward the back of the green is often the best play so the ball can roll back toward the hole. However, any shot long beyond the green is in danger of ending up on the beach.

Score to Par in Masters history: +0.266

4) 12th hole: Par 3, 155 yards

Another Par 3 and the most unforgiving hole of the “Amen Corner”, Golden Bell offers very little wiggle room short or long of the green. Shoot it long and you could end up in either of the far side bunkers or in the woods. Shoot it short and you could end up rolling down the slope into the pond. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Furthermore, the layout near the tee box puts the golfer in the middle of a valley of trees, making wind direction very difficult to determine prior to teeing off. This hole is so tough that even Tiger Woods shot a 10 here back in 2020. Any hole that can make the GOAT hit double-digits is quite the doozy.

Score to Par in Masters history: +0.270

3) 4th hole: Par 3, 240 yards

Although this hole started as a 190-yard, Par 3, it’s extension has been the bane of many a golfer’s existence. Not only does the wind play an enormous factor on this hole, but any miss left is sure to end up in either the deep rough or bunker, meaning a par is near-impossible. This hole has absolutely zero room for error, and has produced numerous bogeys and double bogeys over the years.

Score to Par in Masters history: +0.284

2) 10th hole: Par 4, 495 yards

This is the hole that famously destroyed Rory McIlroy in 2011. It has destroyed many others along the way as well. A perfect tee shot is needed for any hope at a birdie on this hole. Any shot too far left in an effort to get closer to the green could wind up in the fairway bunker. The hole doesn’t get any easier after the tee shot though as another bunker to the right of the green is waiting to swallow whole any golfer with a large ego.

Score to Par in Masters history: +0.299

1) 11th hole: Par 4, 520 yards

Although this hole may be slightly easier than in years past ever since a few trees to the right of the fairway were removed prior to 2022, it is still devastating. In 2002, the club moved the hole back from 445 yards to an insane 490 and eventually 520, all while maintaining Par 4 status. Since this is such a long hole, numerous golfers tend to overextend on their second shots in an effort to reach the green in regulation. However, this can be very costly considering the pond on the left side of the green.

This hole is the start of “Amen Corner” for a reason. While the 12th and 13th holes don’t offer much reprieve, it’s always a pleasant start to the dreaded trio when pros can walk away with a par.

Score to Par in Masters history: +0.303

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