After several years of rumors that the par-5 13th hole would be stretched like a rubber band to prevent players from blasting driver over the trees on the left and turning the par-5 into driver-wedge, Augusta National finally built a new back tee that will measure 545 yards in April, adding 35 yards to the iconic hole at the Masters Tournament.
The 13th ranks as one of the great risk-reward holes in golf. Going for it should be a “momentous decision,” in the words of Bobby Jones, who assisted Alister MacKenzie in its design. It originally measured 480 yards when the Masters debuted in 1934 and played to 510 yards for the 2022 Masters. But that distance is shorter than many par-4s in major championship golf these days.
In recent years, powerful players such as Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy have been able to blast balls over the trees that protect the dogleg-left hole, sometimes hitting it far enough around the corner to leave a short iron or even a wedge for the second shot to the green. The 13th played as the third-easiest hole on the course at the 2022 Masters, only more difficult than the two front-nine par-5s.
In 2017, Augusta National purchased a swath of land from Augusta Country Club, land that was actually part of a hole on the neighboriMastng course. Augusta Country Club was forced to reroute its layout to accommodate the land sale. In his 2022 news conference, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said there was no timetable to use the land for a new tee but also hinted that changes to 13 could be coming.
It is Finished…
Augusta National has finally extended the 13th hole.
No. 13 – Azalea – Par: 5
1934 yardage: 480
2022 yardage: 510
2023 yardage: ???
— Eureka Earth® (@EurekaEarthPlus) November 22, 2022
“There’s a great quote from Bobby Jones dealing specifically with the 13th hole, which has been lengthened over time, and he said that the decision to go for the green in two should be a momentous one,” Ridley said. “And I would have to say that our observations of these great players hitting middle and even short irons into that hole is not a momentous decision.”
He added: “From our perspective, we will always do what’s necessary to maintain the integrity of our golf course.”
We asked more than two dozen pros – including past Masters champions, major winners, former World No. 1s and a World Golf Hall of Famer – if you were in charge, would you have changed the 13th hole?