The BWD Major Tournament Hole of the Day: April 10, 2016. The 15th at Augusta National, Home of Masters Tournament

Tournament: Masters Tournament – Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, GA
Hole: 15th – Par 5, 530 Yards
Architect(s): Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie – 1933

Architectural Summary:

A reachable par 5, the 15th hole is a risk-reward hole which will provide competitors a scoring opportunity should they successfully carry the pond guarding the front of the green. On the uphill tee shot, many players will look to play a fade as the fairway gently slopes right-to-left, and they must also avoid the cluster of trees to the left which protrudes into the landing zone. A well hit drive will leave 220-240 yards into the narrow green where competitors will need to be precise with a 4-iron or hybrid should they decide to go for the green. Around 400 yards from the tee, the hole begins to play downhill to the pond short of the green with roughly 25 feet of elevation change. Competitors opting to lay-up will play to their preferred wedge distance, and then face a third shot with a tight lie from the downslope requiring an accurate wedge shot. In addition to the pond, a bunker protects the green along the right side. The severely sloped green measures 25 yards deep on the right and only 15 yards deep on the left. Competitors hitting their approach shots long will face a difficult chip back towards the water which can be troublesome. To score well on the final par 5 at Augusta National, players must find and hold the narrow green.

Statistical Analysis:

Historically, the fifteenth hole plays as the easiest hole on the course with a scoring average of 4.78. In 2015, the hole played -0.40 to par (9 eagles, 144 birdies, 117 pars, 29 bogeys, 4 double bogeys, and 1 “other”).

Fun Facts:

  • Gene Sarazen hit his “shot heard ‘round the world” on the 15th when he holed his approach with a 4-wood from 235 yards away for a double eagle in 1935. Sarazen’s 2 on the hole allowed him to tie Craig Wood for the round, prompting a 36-hole playoff which Sarazen won by five shots.
  • The 15th is named “Firethorn” after a small, thorny tree that is native to southern Europe. In April, the tree blooms with a multitude of small, creamy white flowers that eventually help form brilliant orange-red berries.
  • While statistically the easiest hole on the course, the hole has had players, including two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, score as high as 11.
    In his historic 1986 victory, Jack Nicklaus eagled the 15th hole after hitting a 4-iron from 202 yards to within 12 feet.