The BWD Major Tournament Hole of the Day: April 8, 2016. The 14th at Augusta National, Home of Masters Tournament

Tournament: Masters Tournament – Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, GA
Hole: 14th – Par 4, 440 Yards
Architect(s): Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie – 1933

Architectural Summary:

Playing 440 yards and slightly uphill, the fourteenth hole is Augusta National’s only one without a bunker. The hole’s large and boldly contoured green, however, provides plenty of defense and creates a plethora of strategic options for players to consider. Many opt to hit driver off the tee in order to minimize the approach distance of their second shot, but finding the fairway is critical. The landing area does not allow for unruly drives as the sloping fairway kicks stray shots into trees and trouble on the right. An ideal tee shot will be played with a right-to-left shape in order to combat the left-to-right slope of the landing area. The best angle of approach into the green is from the left side of the fairway as the front right portion of the green contains a very severe false front. A competitor who finds the fairway with his tee shot will be left with a mid-iron approach from a “hanging” lie into the green which is one of the trickiest and most difficult to read on the course. The ideal shot shape is once again right-to-left which is challenging for right-handed players from the left-to-right sloping fairway. Shots clearing the false front will find that the surface generally moves balls to the right. Competitors must be precise with their approach shots as the contours of the green can dramatically take balls either to or away from certain pin locations. The players that use the contours advantageously can get quite close to several pin locations, but anyone not doing so can easily be left with a very difficult, long putt.

Statistical Analysis:

Historically the 14th hole has played as the 8th toughest on the course with a scoring average of 4.17. In 2015, it played slightly easier than usual with a scoring average of 4.08 (1 Eagle, 37 Birdies, 208 Pars, 52 Bogeys, and 6 Doubles).

Fun Facts:

  • The hole, now named “Chinese Fir,” was once known as Spanish Dagger. Chinese Fir, an evergreen tree native to China, can be found along the left side of the 14th fairway.
  • In 2010, Phil Mickelson holed out for eagle during an eagle-eagle-birdie stretch on Saturday, which helped to propel him into the final grouping where he went on to win his third green jacket with a score of 272.
  • During the final round of the 2006 Masters, Fred Couples faced a 4-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole to pull within one shot of eventual champion Phil Mickelson. Couples instead three-putted the green, recording a bogey and finished in a tie for third place.