What is Par at Augusta?

I would like opinions on what the actual Par is at Augusta National…I know the what the card says but when the players are hitting midirons into #13 and #15 thats a par 4 to me…I’d also say that #2 and #8 are par 4 1/2’s, so I’m going with a par of 69. Not to take anything away from the players but the “REAL” scores are not correctly reflected.My score card says there are only a couple of players under par. Your thoughts please…

Par is 72. They have lengthened it considerably. 13 and 15 have ALWAYS been par 4.5s. It is part of the risk reward element of the back 9. August at least has adjusted to the equipment factor. I think the severity of the greens makes the course tougher in many ways. Ben Hogan would have had 40 putts around there! I am going to duck and cover! :laughing:

Yes they have lengthened the course and now they are hitting 15 green with a 5 iron…funny it seems as though a whole shot is missing…shouldn’t there be a 3 wood shot between the tee ball and the 5 iron approach? or am I missing something here? By the way I’ll put money that Mr. Hogan was not constantly hitting from out of the trees as these guys were, perhaps they’re having some alignment problems or could it be that they do not know where the ball is going?Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean to take anything away from the guys for getting a good SCORE…but thrashing at it from the bush is kinda like… well…hacking. Here ya go check this out…in 1969 I believe George Knudson finished second at the Masters…that week he hit 70 of 72 greens in reg. I’ll bet he wasn’t hitting it onto those greens from the trees!!! and the boys then were going into 10 and 11 with long irons and woods…are you ducking and covering in the trees…that pine straw can be mighty comfy for napping…LOL Paulsy

The problem is the USGA is playing to the masses, just like in Ancient Rome with the Colosseum bloodsports. Do you think the fans out there screaming “get in the hole!!!” want to see a Ben Hogan hit every fairway and green? Boring!!! They want excitement… let them thrash it a mile, end up in the car park and hit a miracle shot onto the green… one reason Phil is so popular…

Don’t let Seve hear you saying that!

Knudson hit all those greens and finished 2nd? What a waste!Nicklaus has been hitting irons into those par 5s since the 60s! Don’t forget Phil’s 5 iron is really a 3 iron from another time. I watched the Snead/Hogan match up for the first time the other day. Those are the widest fairways and largest greens I have ever seen! I was disappointed. I do not think that is the best example we have of Hogan’s precision

There is no doubt they play a game few here or anywhere are familiar with but they are good at it. To hit it as straight as they do given clubhead speed, faster fairways I think is underated. I think the irons they have to hit given the speed and undulation of the greens (not just Augusta) requires great skill.

Paulsygolf, I agree with you about the current ratings of 13 and 15, they should just be renamed par 4’s, where under certain circumstances some players will need to layup if they don’t manage to get a good drive in. From what I’ve heard there were par 4’s like this in the past anyway, where you’d need to hit a good drive to get to the hole in 2.

Now an obvious question would be do we really care what par is? I don’t think too many people are saying “wow, can you believe he shot -16?” Most people are talking about some big shots he made, or some shots others missed. We don’t look back and reflect on how Phil is better than Palmer by 10 shots because Palmer won a Masters with -6. And even some dim-witted commentator did bring up anything like that, he’s an idiot. We have different technology, completely different course where most holes get tweaked several times a decade, and a different approach around golf learning. Lag may complain about the modern clubs and swings, but his online course was not even possible before broadband internet, so he’s part of the new age, whether he likes it or not.

I also did a little analysis on the effect of these “short” par 5’s at the Masters. Phil made -13 of his -16 on the par 5’s. Tiger had -15 for -11 total, Couples had -12 for -9 total, and Kim and Choi managed to break par on the rest of the course, getting something like -8 and -9 on the 5’s from memory. It sounds bad. Guys finishing in the top 5 or 6 can’t break par on the 3’s and 4’s for the week. But I picked a few random Masters of the past and looked at the winners, and saw a similar trend. In 1951 Hogan shot -11 on the 5’s for -8 total, and won. Zoeller shot -10 in the late 70’s. Nicklaus made -11 of a -17 total one year, and even Palmer made -6 in par 5’s the year he won it with -6 total. So apart from the astonishing effort by Nicklaus, the par 5’s have always been a feast, regardless of how players got to the green. Of course it’s a little worse again now with mid irons being played as a 2nd shot, but it’s not like any one player has an unfair advantage, just like in 1951. The guys that had the advantage hit more fairways and greens, had shorter irons into greens, putted and chipped better, etc.

The question that has been asked and debated a lot here and elsewhere is have those advantages shifted a bit with modern equipment and course design. Yes they have. If you aren’t hitting 300y drives, but are driving it straighter, you no longer have an advantage. Those holes are still playing long if you are only hitting 260y, so you are probably not in contention any more if you don’t have the length.

I remember seeing Mickelson the other day with a 7-iron approach and thinking, finally, a par 4 without a wedge approach. Then I saw it was his 2nd to a par 5.

But I am in two minds about this one.

I find the most interesting part of the coverage the recovery shots and ruling situations which don’t usually happen with fairway golf.

But that’s as a spectator. As a golfer I find it a flaw with the game.

Should a player such as Tiger shooting +4 on the par 3’s, even on the 4’s and -15 on the 5’s deserve to come 4th at a Major?

The high weight of putting already is bad enough, now length and putting are making everything else in the game not too important.

Seve missed fairways but it was different - I never got the feeling he was taking advantage of a flaw in the game.

I have played Augusta National a couple of times. IMO it is one of the most wide open driving courses I have ever played for a course with a fair amount of trees. Those of you that have been to the tournament will probably agree with that as well. If you can’t put it in the fairway there you’ve got problems with your swing.

As far as Hogan’s driving ability compared to Tiger’s - I read Bob Toski’s comments a couple of years ago in one of the golf magazines when asked to comment on Tiger’s shotmaking prowess compared to Hogan’s. Toski said “Well let’s put it like this, you’re likely to see Tiger drive it 40 yds. off line a couple times a round. Hell, you were lucky if you saw Hogan hit it 40 yds. off line a couple of times in a year!” And remember, Toski I believe was leading money winner on the tour in 1954 - right during Hogan’s peak years.


They were hitting 3 irons into 11, a 4 par that plays at 4.5 on avg., on Thursday. Think the shortest iron I remember seeing on the live stream that day was Dustin Johnson hitting a 5 iron.

Good interview here…


Most tour events are par 68’s. You could argue Augusta is also a par 68. I saw every par five reachable with an iron… even #8.

But of course it is the same for everyone… you could do away with par actually, and just play the course with no pre destined numbers representing par… who cares really…

However… what we have… and this is my argument… is that the modern game has eliminated the long iron shot off the fairway for the most part… and this not only is the most difficult shot it golf, but it should also be a significant measuring stick of a players abilities. Trying to eliminate this from the game has really hurt the game in my opinion.

Second… the size of the heads is another problem… because it is dumbing down the game… especially for the pros, because they can simply swing out of their shoes at the ball and not have a care about hitting the sweetspot. Had the ruling bodies of the game limited head size… that would have been the answer…because with a small head, and a long light shaft… it gets very risky taking a big cut at it… but with the frying pan head… no risk…

Limiting both head size, and shaft length say at 44 inches would still give the manufactures plenty to play around with…
I don’t think light shafts do any good or light weight heads… the problem is they now go lightweight head and shaft… LONG shaft… huge head… so guys can get tremendous speed with no risk of skying the ball, hitting it dead off the toe or heel and so forth. The golf swings of the tour players don’t have to be as precise, and it shows… they don’t hit the ball as good as the guys from the past. We should be seeing another Hogan, or even a few of them and we are not… because a great swing will not develop from players using lightweight gear and the frying pans… and then add in the golf courses being too wide open… and the rough not being tall enough, and you have the modern game. 15% added distance and we need 15% longer courses…

6900 x 1.15 = 7935 so basically an 8000 yard golf course.

Until I see that… and see guys shoot 16 under on an 8000 tree yard tight course… I won’t be impressed.
If everyone wants the longer gear… then they must also be willing to accept the longer course.
They have lengthened golf courses, but not enough… not nearly enough.

If the pros have to learn to hit long irons again… then we might start to see better golf swings again.

Ok, I thought it over a while. My conclusion is this…there is a risk in hitting a mid iron second shot to a par 5 hole. The risk is in the knowledge…the knowledge that your swing may not be good enough to hit the ball where you would like it to go.In 1951 my father walked 18 holes at Augusta during the Masters with Ben Hogan,on that day he hit 17 out of 18 greens…he had to chip…ONCE!!! If someone tells you that they have an amazing short game you can be sure to look elseware for their game flaws…we all have them.Someone do me a favour and look up % of fairways hit for the top ten finishers at this years event,I too enjoy watching recovery shots but I’m nore interested in the previous shot than the recovery.Augusta’s fairways are indeed some of the more generous and theres basically not a lot of rough to contend with but it is cool to watch the pine straw flying and the ball rattling around in the trees by the best player in the world. Shame on us for thinking golf should be something other than boring…who cares about the frickin tv ratings…show me 18 fairways and 18 greens and 18 birdie attempts and a real fan will not be bored.Wait,be still, if you listen reeeeaaalll careful, you can hear the flushers that have gone on snickering from beyond… Paulsy
ps I have some breaking news from a very reliable source,sure to please most…but not now…soon. and ya we need 8000 yard courses lag, but as kids we used to make up holes on the course for fun that were 8,9,1000 yds long…it was a blast!!

…just had to come back for a minute because I remembered a hilarious quote from my 80 year old father the other day, he says “you know what Paul,the new equipment does indeed help the average golfer hit the ball farther…farther off line…and that increases ball sales…and the same people make the balls and clubs…generates a lot more revenue I suppose” and then he broke out laughing…could it be we’ve all been had in the name of the God of profits? Get out your gold Visa card eveyone, the manufacturers need a top up…

I’ve read that you guys complain about today’s rough not being long enough, but I was reading Alister MacKenzie’s book Golf architecture: economy in course construction and green-keeping (you can read it on Google Books for free), and he says that roughs shouldn’t be long. He contends that long roughs ruin the flow of rounds and create bad golfers. Instead he prefers undulating fairways, multiple paths to the green (each with their own risk/reward), and hazards, to make the game more challenging. He says, “Narrow fairways bordered by long grass make bad golfers. They do so by destroying the harmony and continuity of the game, and in causing a stilted and cramped style by destroying all freedom of play. There is no defined line between the fairways in the great schools of golf like St. Andrews or Hoylake.” (pg. 47) I’m curious what you think about his opinion.

I agree…rub of the green will suffice.

good stuff here— from geoffshackelford.com/

It was no accident that last weekend’s Masters leader board was almost exclusively filled by players either exceptionally thoughtful or prodigiously talented or both."
Besides a nice rant about the modern ball (I always enjoy those), John Huggan makes a couple of worthwhile points when considering the play of Europeans at this year’s Masters.

In defense of the current band of better-than-average European players, coming up well short (so far at least) isn’t all their own faults. Tiger and Phil Mickelson apart, standing out from the pack isn’t easy these days. Look at both the PGA and European Tours. So far this year, only South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Ernie Els have won more than once on either. Parity is king. Of course, much of that all-too prevalent stalemate has been caused by the high level of quality control involved in the manufacture of today’s clubs and balls. For one thing, bigheaded metal drivers have made mastering what should be the hardest club in the bag almost routine for virtually every professional. So separating oneself from the rest is more difficult. The deserved edge previously enjoyed by the likes of Greg Norman and Nick Price – the best drivers of their generation – has been diminished greatly.

And this about Augusta National’s design and setup:

When those relatively unimaginative players – their senses dulled by all of the above – pitch up at a major championship venue like Augusta National (where short grass still prevails and many holes can be played in a variety of ways) they are suddenly faced with a test paper that is, to paraphrase the great Bobby Jones, “unfamiliar.” It was no accident that last weekend’s Masters leader board was almost exclusively filled by players either exceptionally thoughtful or prodigiously talented or both.

I agree with MacKenzie 100%, but I think he is talking about daily member play, and most golf events… but not necessarily all test such as the US Open.

Hogan, and the greats of the past had to hit it straight…

How would Tiger fair if he had to deal with this?

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Or any of the guys today… I suspect they would leave the frying pans in the kitchen, and spend more time working on their golf swings.

You don’t see that kind of “rough” anymore except during some of the Open Championships.

Captain Chaos

Thanks for the response Lag. I had a feeling that MacKenzie was mostly talking about daily play, not Major championships, but wanted to see if that’s what others thought as well. Awesome picture. Worth 1000 words.