For years, it has been rumored that major changes would be coming to Augusta National’s iconic 13th hole. This past August, aerial photos taken by Eureka Earth confirmed that work had begun on the famous par 5, and that it would play significantly longer once the project was completed.
While we don’t know the exact yardage the hole will play this April, we do know that the work is finished thanks to more overhead shots from Eureka Earth that hit social media early Tuesday morning. Let’s just say that walk to the 13th tee is going to be much, much longer for those coming off 12 having just made bogey or worse:
We’re no mathematicians, but it’s fair to assume the hole has been extended by a distance between 40 and 50 yards, which would make “Azalea” play somewhere in the 550- to 560-yard range. It doesn’t sound like much for the best players in the world, but it will put driver back in their hands and, more importantly, negate the ability to take it over the trees and overpower the hole, which is what the big hitters were doing in recent years. It was not uncommon to see 8-iron, 9-iron and even pitching wedge being hit into the green on the second shot for the bombers. And in some cases, driver was not required to reach it in two at all.
The potential drawback, of course, is that now it could play as a three-shotter that yields more birdies and less eagles, which is what happened when the club lengthened the 15th hole ahead of the 2022 Masters. The 15th, once home to countless tournament-altering and earth-shaking eagles, yielded exactly zero eagles in last year’s tournament, while still playing as the fourth-easiest hole of the week. In the quest to make the hole longer and harder, it’s possible the club achieved only the former and robbed it of some serious back-nine excitement in the process. The other side of that argument, which also applies to the 13th, is that the risk-reward is that much greater now that players have a longer club in their hand on the second shot.
We debated all of that on this week’s episode of The Loop podcast, featuring myself, Alex Myers and our course nerd/guru Stephen Hennessey. Please have a listen to our full discussion below, and like and subscribe to The Loop wherever you get your podcasts.