Ranking the 18 Holes of Augusta National

Sam Murphy
Editor in Chief
Jordan W
Founder/el Jefe

"First I figured out where the sharp action was, where the guys who had a plan were, the guys who grinded." - Bobby Axelrod (Billions)

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It’s back folks! After months of teasing the sensual piano tune and various commercials, Master week has finally returned to its regular spot here in the second weekend of April. The azaleas will be in full bloom, the green of the course will pop, patrons will be back and the fake bird calls will ring through living rooms all weekend.

We all know the course by now, but Jordan and I wanted to go a little more in depth as we approach one of the best weekends in golf. So, without further adieu, Augusta National’s holes ranked 18 to 1.

*All photos via masters.com 

18. No. 17 — Nandina

While no hole at Augusta National is truly forgettable, 17 serves as more of a break for viewers as it is sandwiched between the drama-filled 15 and 16 and the finishing 18th. It’s a very straightforward hole and most players just try to get out of here with a par heading into 18.

17. No. 14 — Chinese Fir

Similarly to 17, Chinese Fir is a victim of circumstance as it falls directly between Amen Corner and 15 and 16. It’s another break hole while there is typically drama going on all around it.

16. No. 1 — Tea Olive

Even as one of the more iconic opening holes in all of golf, Tea Olive is literally a straightforward hole. It’s a solid opening hole — not too difficult, not too easy — and while it has shown it can give players trouble before, it’s typically the calm before the storm.

15. No. 4 — Flowering Crab Apple

The first of the par-3’s both on the course and to appear in the rankings, the fourth can be a tricky spot in every round. Measuring 240 yards and playing the longest of the par-3’s, very rarely does it offer the opportunity to gain a shot. It’s very much a “take your par and move on” type of hole and typically doesn’t offer much drama.

14. No. 6 — Juniper

The second par-3 on the front nine, Juniper isn’t the most challenging on the course, but the large, undulating green tests golfers differently each round. The traditional back-right pin location for the final round rests in the middle of the upper section (which rises so much, people say an elephant is buried under the sixth green).

13. No. 5 — Magnolia

Magnolia demands an accurate drive off the tee to avoid the bunkers shown above down the left-hand side of the fairway. Similar to a lot of the front nine, it doesn’t offer many dramatic moments, but can certainly get leaders in trouble if they find those deep bunkers.

12. No. 9 — Carolina Cherry

Carolina Cherry closes out the front nine as a gettable par-4. Golfers typically have a downhill lie hitting into the three-tiered green with a massive false-front. If players can land it on the second tier on Sundays, it should put them in a good spot to close out the front with a birdie.

11. No. 8 — Yellow Jasmine

Yellow Jasmine is the first of the par-5’s to enter the rankings. It’s by no fault of its own that it comes in this low, but in comparison to the other par-5’s on the course, it is certainly the most forgettable. It offers a good birdie opportunity heading to the back nine, but it’s a straight, uphill hole.

10. No. 7 — Pampas

Pampas is one of the most demanding par-4’s on the course, even with its straightforward nature. It has a very narrow fairway, lined by trees down both sides. Then, almost the entire green is protected by deep bunkers, which demand an accurate approach shot. It’s a volatile hole and can give up birdies or doubles, depending on how it’s played.

9. No. 3 — Flowering Peach

One of, if not the best risk/reward holes on the course. Flowering Peach measures a short 350 yards for a par-4, so it is always interesting to see if golfers will play it safe with an iron or try to throw it up close to the green with driver. Course-designer Alister MacKenzie believed it to be a perfectly designed golf hole, and it still gives players fits to this day.

8. No. 18 — Holly

Another demanding par-4, Holly serves as one of the best finishing scenes in all of golf. The drive must go straight down one of the narrowest parts of the course, with the approaches going up the hill toward the Butler Cabin into a two-tiered green. The history and drama add a little to the ranking, but that’s part of it.

7. No. 2 — Pink Dogwood

The first par-5 on the course serves up the perfect opportunity to jump-start a round. It’s reachable in two for most players nowadays, with the second shot coming down the hill into a massive green. As long as players keep it in the fairway and out of the bunkers, it’s an easy birdie to get things going.

6. No. 10 — Camellia

Historically the toughest hole on the course, Camellia is really where the pressure starts to intensify on Sunday afternoons. It can lose the tournament, — like Rory in 2011 playing from backyards — or win it — like Bubba’s shot from the pine straw in the playoff in 2012. And even though it rarely comes into play, the MacKenzie bunker is one of the most iconic in golf.

5. No. 16 — Redbud

Whether it be skipping balls across the water in the practice rounds, hole-in-ones early on Sunday afternoon, or the most recognizable shot in the history of golf, Redbud delivers year-in and year-out. The water rarely comes into play for the actual tournament, but birdies can be had if experienced players throw the ball on the top of the ridge and watch it trickle down next to the hole on Sunday.

4. No. 15 — Firethorn

If we were strictly ranking names on this list, Firethorn would take the cake with ease. However, it is one of the most drama-filled holes on the course, as the last par-5 is the last true scoring opportunity heading into the clubhouse. It is reachable for most players now and there are typically a lot of very important eagle looks late on Sunday afternoons.

3. No. 11 — White Dogwood

We FINALLY arrive at Amen Corner! Is anyone truly surprised that these three holes round out the rankings? White Dogwood is the beginning of the famous Amen Corner and offers some great birdie looks for those who execute on their first two shots. The green slopes downhill right to left toward the pond, so players must be careful to land softly on their approach shots.

2. No. 13 — Azalea

Certainly the most famous par-5 on the course, Azalea is reachable if players correctly play their tee shots into the hard dogleg left fairway. Most approach shots are above players feet, but they typically don’t need more than a mid-to-long iron into the green for an eagle look. It also provided one of the most memorable shots in Masters history when Phil landed it on the green from the pine straw on the way to his third green jacket.

1. No. 12 — Golden Bell

We’ve finally arrived at the best hole on the course and one of the most iconic in all of golf. For players it may be infamy (Jack Nicklaus literally said it’s the most terrifying hole in major championship golf), but each year, this hole provides incredible drama. CBS has truly mastered — no pun intended — the art of not knowing whether shots will hit the green or fall back into the water to crush players’ hopes and dreams. Just in the last few years, Spieth went in the drink twice in an all-time collapse and Tiger propelled his comeback win by safely making it across Rae’s Creek while all of his competition went for a swim.

Let us know on Twitter which hole comes in as your favorite over @brkdwn_sports!