The BWD Major Tournament Hole of the Day: April 9, 2016. The 9th at Augusta National, Home of Masters Tournament

Tournament:             Masters Tournament – Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, GA
Hole:                           9th – Par 4, 460 Yards
Architect(s):               Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie – 1933

Architectural Summary:

The 460 yard ninth hole is a difficult close to the front nine. The par 4 plays downhill on the tee shot, but then uphill on the approach to a very sloped green. Finding the fairway off the tee is essential, and competitors will favor the right side of the hole for a better angle into the green.  Several bold contours in the fairway can help to further propel tee shots down the hill, but any tee shot finding the second cut or the trees, left or right, will not travel nearly as far and leave a very difficult second shot.  Angled front right to back left, the green is protected by two deep left greenside bunkers but is best known for its significant slope back to front. Measuring 41 paces deep and 18 paces wide, the green is further protected by a false front that will repel any balls coming up short further down the slope in front of the green. Going beyond the pin, however, leaves a very fast putt,  so many players will simply attempt to find the middle of the green all four days and be happy to finish the front nine with a two-putt par.

Statistical Analysis:

Historically, the ninth hole plays as the 7th hardest on the course with a scoring average of 4.20. The par 4 hole has never played under par in the history of the tournament, and the lowest yearly scoring average was recorded in 1968 when it played just barely over par (4.02). In 2015, the hole played to a scoring average of 4.09 (39 Birdies, 206 Pars, 53 Bogeys, and 6 Doubles).

Fun Facts:

  • The ninth hole is named “Carolina Cherry,” after a small native evergreen tree.  The tree blooms small but brilliant white flowers in April that are followed by black berries which are widely popular with many species of birds.
  • In 2005, Tiger Woods birdied the 9th hole three times en route to his fourth green jacket.
  • Six-time Masters Champion, Jack Nicklaus, birdied the 9th hole on Sunday in 1986 by hitting a 9-iron to twelve feet and then holing the putt.  Nicklaus went on to shoot 30 on the back nine to claim his sixth green jacket.