It’s official: Augusta National WILL be longer for this year’s Masters.
According to the official media guide for the 86th edition of the tournament – taking place from April 7-10 – the course will measure 7,510 yards.
That makes it 35 yards longer than it was last year when Hideki Matsuyama became the first golfer from Japan to win the Green Jacket.
The additional length comes from the lengthening of two holes. The par-4 11th has been increased by 15 yards, with 20 yards added to the par-5 15th. Both are largely the result of new tees being built.
Interestingly, the par-5 13th hole will play the same yardage (510) as it did last year. It had been speculated that The Masters tournament committee might increase the length of the hole, which, along with the 15th is the joint easiest in Masters history. Both have played more than a quarter of a stroke under-par since statistics were first gathered in 1942.
The decision to change the 11th is perhaps equally surprising. The scene of one of the toughest second shots on the golf course, the hole is, alongside the tenth, the joint toughest in Masters history, playing an average of 0.30 shots over-par.
The tee on the 11th has been moved 15 yards further back and to the golfer’s left. The fairway has also been recontoured, with several trees removed down the right-hand side.
The 15th tee, meantime, has been moved 20 yards further back, which will bring the risk-reward element of going for the water-fronted green in two back into play. Likewise, its fairway has also been recontoured. This is the first significant change to the length of 15 since 2006, when an additional 25 to 30 yards were added, again by pushing the tee back.
A reported 13 extra yards have also been added to the back of the tee box on 18, without necessitating a change in the length of the hole.
Whilst significant, this year’s changes pale in comparison to 2002 when, in an attempt to ‘Tiger-proof’ the course, Augusta National officials unveiled an extra 285 yards’ worth of course changes.