Difficult fifth hole gets a little longer, tougher
Tucked away on the far end of Augusta National is the toughest par 4 on the front nine.
For this Masters, it has become a little tougher.
The fifth hole, a slight dogleg to the left, was untouched for 30 years until the club extended the two bunkers left of the fairway some 80 yards toward the green to bring them into play. Fifteen years later, the championship tee was moved back some 40 yards, stretching the par 4 to 495 yards for this year’s Masters.
“Significantly different,” Brandt Snedeker said with just enough of a smile that “different” did not mean it was any easier. “It used to be a 3wood for the long guys, then a short- to mid-iron. It was a par hole. You might make a few birdies. You’re not making a huge number there. But you’re hitting a lot longer clubs in. And that’s going to be a little different.”
For years, No. 5 got plenty of respect and not enough attention.
The respect was understandable. The scoring average over the years of 4.26 was the highest of par 4s before making the turn.
“Make four pars there and you’re gaining two shots on the field,” Jordan Spieth said.
The lack of attention is all about location, the hole being somewhat isolated. For the well-connected, it’s the quickest way to get to Berckmans Place, the high-end hospitality area at the Masters. For others, it was a route to the par-3 sixth hole.
And for Jack Nicklaus, it was another occasion to get his name in the Masters record book. Facing two of the more difficult pin positions, Nicklaus holed out for eagle twice – in the same tournament in 1995.
Alister Mackenzie and Bobby Jones patterned the hole after No. 17 at St. Andrews, the famous Road Hole, even though “Magnolia” has no road behind the green or any bunker in front of the green.
Chad Campbell hits out of a bunker at the fifth hole during the Masters in 2009. The par 4 hole has been lengthened 40 yards to 495 yards.