Tuesday, 4 January 2011

10 Best Greens - 14th at Augusta National

The green from the front left

There is no green in golf quite like the 14th at Augusta National. Once again not a single bunker is needed to complicate the hole. The approach is all about finding a small receptive sliver of green on the upper plateau on the left side of the green. Find the right half of it and the ball will release down into the lower bowl. Find the left side and it will remain on the tiny plateau. The only issue with the approach is this area is less than 1,000 square feet.

The basic contours of the green
The main problem is the green slopes in three directions. The first third is a massive false front that will collect the ball, send it back down the slope and usually well right of where it started. This leaves an incredibly delicate recovery shot since the ball must head up the steep slope after which it either runs hard right or straight out the back depending on which side you play towards. What further complicates this is the only “safe” play must roll directly over the middle roll which is angled left to find that upper sliver you were originally aiming for on the approach in order to keep the ball on the upper plateau or direct it down the slope to the right. The margin for error is inches.

The left back has a small plateau on the left side, the middle of the green is a slope strong enough that it will chase everything straight right and into the lower bowl. The back right is the reason the green is so complicated. It falls out the back beginning at the highest point of the green in the middle. In other words, you can’t aim directly into this area, since all shots simply roll out the back, although at least the next shot is up hill.

From the back taken by Kye Goalby
This is all quite difficult already but the three mounds along the ridge line further complicate the recovery since each mound is approximately four feet above the front of the green and about one foot higher than the green behind. All putts must go over these mounds and be incredibly delicate since the ball must literally die on the top to be effective which means even the slightest miscalculation could send the ball in any direction including back to where you stand.

There is nothing more interesting or troubling than finding yourself down in the front having to putt over the central roll and just to the edge of the drop off, so the ball will barely make it over and begin down the slope in order to remain in the bottom right bowl. Anything less than perfection is at your feet, stuck up top and dead, or off the green leaving a short chip.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Ian for your comprehensive look at this green; I am contemplating reproducing it as my front yard. We'll see :-) What I did not expect was the dialog re the 9 other greens; very interesting that many of the best greens do not require a bunker like the 14th at Augusta National. I have played the 2 listd in Scotland which brought back mixed memories. :-) Congradualations on your partnership with Mike Weir.

    Scott Cameron