It’s part of Au­gusta’s charm

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

How to play a sec­ond-shot course like Au­gusta.

"A dif­fer­ence of 10 or 15 me­tres might mean ev­ery­thing."

Au­gusta Na­tional is the quin­tes­sence of a sec­ond-shot golf course.Wide fair­ways pre­vent you from feel­ing like you’re in a straight­jacket off the tee, but that doesn’t mean you can mind­lessly whale away.The per­cep­tive player recog­nises that his abil­ity to at­tack the flag with the ap­proach is largely de­ter­mined by the drive – much more than on an av­er­age course.A dif­fer­ence in position of just 10 or 15 me­tres in the fair­way might mean ev­ery­thing. On a sec­ond-shot course, you use the tee shot to truly cre­ate your sec­ond.

This type of de­sign hap­pens to be my favourite. To me, hit­ting driver is the most fun part of the game.A sec­ond-shot course en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to let it fly all day. Low-hand­i­caps are en­gaged by the spec­trum of con­ser­va­tive-to-ag­gres­sive choices off ev­ery tee. Be­gin­ners take com­fort in the rel­a­tive ease of start­ing with a ball in play.

Il­lus­trated here is Au­gusta’s par-4 ninth, which runs back to the club­house. It’s a per­fect ex­am­ple of the sec­ond-shot phi­los­o­phy, though we could have an­a­lysed al­most any par 4 on the prop­erty. – with max adler


Here’s a snag that might ex­ist some­where at your course, too. The ninth tee box at Au­gusta is nes­tled in a pro­tected perch. You don’t sense the wind much, so you have to re­mem­ber to pay at­ten­tion to its strength and di­rec­tion as you’re walk­ing up the eighth.


Maybe you pre­fer to hit a fade, or you just like the idea of mak­ing sure you don’t take your­self out of the hole early. Ei­ther way, there’s plenty of room along the right. The trade­off is a longer sec­ond shot, which is a real cost be­cause of this tiny green. Come up just a few paces short with your ap­proach, and the ball might roll 60 or 70 me­tres back down the hill. Go long, and you’ll face a del­i­cate chip back across the green that could wind up in the same place. The con­so­la­tion is, if you push the drive way right, there are win­dows in those trees. A well-judged punch from that pine straw can hold the green.


On first glance, this wide fair­way seems to say “hit it any­where”. But a tee shot that’s worked right to left makes this 420-me­tre hole play shorter and eas­ier. A re­ally big drive that reaches the downs­lope with speed can roll all the way to the bot­tom. Now you’ve got a short-iron ap­proach from the only flat spot in the fair­way. Go­ing into this small, three-tiered green, ev­ery me­tre closer makes a dif­fer­ence. Of course, the risk is com­men­su­rate with the re­ward. Over­cook a drive into the left trees, and you’ll find that the an­gle of the green, along with the bunkers, make it im­pos­si­ble to hold.

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