Golf Asia


12 YDS 155 PAR 3


Few par 3s strike fear into players quite like Golden Bell. At 155 yards, it isn’t much more than a flick with a wedge for most players, but that’s on a rare calm day. Often the wind is swirling and there’s a long list of players who have been caught out on what is the shortest hole at Augusta. Even Tiger managed to take a septuple-bogey 10 in 2020, his worst-ever score on a single hole on the PGA Tour. The 12th officially ranks as the fourth most difficult hole in Masters history (3.28 stroke average), and while you can’t win the tournament with your tee shot, you can certainly lose it – along with your golf ball. Just ask Jordan Spieth or Francesco Molinari...


It’s just tough because there’s not much depth to the green and there’s swirling winds. You obviously can’t miss short but then if you miss long, four or five comes into play. You want to take it over the bunker because it’s the safest place to either side. But that’s also where the narrowest landing spot is. The green depth on both sides is probably 10 paces which, in swirling winds with the spin that an 8 or 9-iron generates, can throw it off from landing in the middle to the front edge or the back edge.


I’ve hit wedge to the front left pin. I’ve also hit 6-iron to that hole. There’s no other hole that’s like that. It’s amazing what pressure and the angle of the green will do. I’ve hit the ball in the water, I’ve hit the ball in the bunker, I’ve hit in the bushes. I’ve been everywhere on that hole. It’s one of those confoundin­g holes that you just really can’t explain.


The 12th is a hole that sets up much better for the shot dispersion of a left-handed golfer than it does a righthande­d player. If I aim at the right centre of the green and I pull it, it’s still going to carry the water. If I come out of it, it’s going to go a little shorter left but still get on the green. So I view 12 as the place where I’ve got to start getting aggressive. I actually view it as a birdie hole. Whereas a right-handed player, if they come out of it, it’s short right. It’s going to hit the bank and go in the water. And if they pull it, it’s going to go long left into that back bank, and it’s a very hard up-anddown from there. Twelve is where most people have to be defensive, but that’s where I think it’s go time. The possibilit­y of such a huge discrepanc­y in score makes that hole so great.

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