The Evolution of Augusta National
By mustang6560 on 3/21/11
Augusta National, home of The Masters, is anything but a static golf course. From the days of Robert Tyre Johnson Jr. (course co-designer) to the present, the club has always looked at different ways to improve the course to address "playability, agronomics, spectator convenience and, most recently, 21st-century club and ball technology."

To compare the changes over the years, Golf Digest hired a graphic designer to recreate each hole based on documented course changes.
Our challenge was to graphically document every architectural change at Augusta National in a manner never attempted before. To do it, we enlisted the talents of computer artist Chris O'Riley to prepare a succession of detailed diagrams based upon our 30-plus years of research.
They did a really good job with the diagrams. It's cool to see how much some of the holes changed from 1934 to present- for instance hole 3.

If perfection exists in golf, it's definitely Augusta National. Everything about the course is precisely engineered and constructed. Even the "forests" in between holes are not true forests in the sense that it implies a level of wilderness. I would bet the whole of Augusta National has less weeds growing than my front flower bed. To see how manicured Augusta National is, go to and search "Augusta National Golf Club" and change the "Road" to "Bird's Eye".

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[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
Wow that is really outstanding. I can't believe the width of the fairways back then compared to now!!!
bkuehn1952 says:
Certainly a degree of jealously and envy plays a part in the following observation.

A large contingent of old wealthy men have created an illusion. Nothing on that course is natural. They have created a course that is unsustainable without mountains of dollars. For one week a year they allow the the little people to catch a glimpse of their golfing Eden, then lock it away for the next 51 weeks.

I love the theater of "The Masters" but I have no use for the membership of Augusta National.

p.s. If I was next on the membership waiting list, I was just kidding. Really, you guys are great!
munk24 says:
@bkuehn,, be careful, remember what happened to Gary McCord, you may not be able to blog on Augusta any more if they hear about this :)
bducharm says:
I personally wish less changes would have occurred. I understand some changes had to because of the ball, etc., however the famous back 9 charges of the past (see Nicklaus, circa 1986) are just that - things of the past! I really enjoyed the possibilities of a back 9 charge, shooting 30!!! Not likely to happen!!!
mustang6560 says:
@munk- you'll have to fill me in on the details of what you're talking about
mustang6560 says:
mmontisano says:
i don't know. i wish they didn't tighten the fairways so much to allow more shot options into those ridiculous greens.

but i'm not sure the "Sunday back 9 charge" has been taken away. i mean, that's how Mickleson won last year, starting with that ludicrous 6 iron from the pine straw.

the year before that he shot a an incredibly low number on the front nine. if you know the course like Phil and Tiger, you can still mount a charge. but not for the Matteo Manasarro's of the world. Augusta is a veteran's course now. all of the winners seem to be over 30, after they've have years of practice on it.
cjgiant says:
I think it is from a book I am reading, but the Masters course has tended to favor those that can bomb the ball (or are generally aggressive), but are able to place irons in the right positions, and of course putt. This differs a little from the U.S. Open that favors accurate driving and putting (and as high a score they can get from a pro), or the British Open which favors all levels of shot-making (maybe not so much on the putting). Having these three "different" style of championships I think is what makes them each fun in their own right.

Any course has to change over time at least in some respects; the article mentions that some of the changes are to accommodate spectators. However, I do think a lot of the more recent changes are to still allow the long-ball to be hit given the size/power/skill of player and technology of their equipment.
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