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GolfWRX members have plenty of ideas about how to improve Augusta National

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From the reversal of the front and back nines in 1935, through the teebox adjustments of 2006, the Augusta National has been in a near-constant state of adjustment and improvement,

As the only course where a major championship is contested every year, and as the most popular/widely viewed and mythologized of the majors, even casual golf fans have an appreciation for the track.

And of course, keener observers have strong opinions about everything from the 1999 lengthening of the second cut to the 2002 and 2004 changes, as well as future adjustments.

In this spirit, forum stalwart cardoustie, has his list of potential improvements ready, should Charman Fred Ridley call.

“#3. Slightly forward tee – or extend current tee – so more guys would go for it. Use either Saturday or Sunday.
#6. Bring back the pond and/or creek that used to front the green, re-shape and shift the front trap to get the H2O closer to the putting surface
#10. Push the massive old greenside bunker closer to the green so short shots run back down the hill into it
#11. Massive pine or trap right middle of 11 green to make bail outs more difficult. Likely trap so the fans on hole #12 grandstands can see the action. Pond used to go more in front of this green
#12. Add 10 yards … sacrilege I know but get the big boys hitting one more iron here
#13. I understand they spent ~ $20mm for land to extend this tee back further. Personally, I don’t like the way the Rae’s Creek tributary ends in the middle of the fairway. That visual could be improved upon and dare I say another bridge perhaps
#14. Bring back the Alister MacKenzie bunkering on the right side of the fairway. Call it restoration work
#16. Find a way to add a tee 15-30 yards back
#17. Perhaps replace Ike’s tree but shift it a little left and farther off the tee”

One_putt_blunder says

“Get rid of the perfectly sculpted bunker edges and bring back the Alister Mackenzie jagged edge style.”

QMany says

“I liked the idea of shortening #7 and even making it driveable par four, even if just for one day.”

ChillyDipper says

“Take away the rough so the course plays as it intends. Move the Sunday pin on 16 to the upper tier. Agree with making #3 driveable again.”

Stu_man says

“Remove 80% of the trees and widen the corridors. Remove the first cut of rough to bring the pine straw back in play. Play it firm and fast as it was intended.”

Knock it close says

‘Widen 7, cut down the trees on the right on 11. Get rid of any rough and cut down a bunch of trees elsewhere. Get more run out of the fws. Make it so when guys hit it offline it keeps going so the angles at ANGC really come into play, this would encourage more aggressive play which would lead to more birdies and bogeys.”

“The Masters is at its peak when it favors the bold, nothing worse than a Masters with a bunch of pars. I want birdies, eagles, and others. That’s why I don’t like 11, with the trees right the approach is so long that everyone just bails short right because they are scared to chase anything on with the mounds.”

These are just a few of the excellent replies from the first page of this thread, which, only four days old, is already three pages long.

Check out the thread, or let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. RG

    Apr 2, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    You cannot make it any better, you can only make it different than it is today. Augusta National is about as close to perfection as you’re going to get.

  2. KS

    Apr 2, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Anyone who suggests making #7 a “driveable” par 4…”maybe even for just one day” certainly has never seen Augusta National in person, or the #7 hole and the green perched up on a slanting plateau and surrounded by rather deep bunkers. Lengthening it actually made it much more interesting and challenging in this modern era. Making this hole a driveable par-4 just because they’ve become trendy would be the height of sacrilege to Bobby Jones, MacKenzie, and Augusta National in general. Besides, they already have two driveable par 4s right on the front nine — #3 (a longer one) and #4 (a shorter one). Ha!

    • Josh

      Apr 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      Agreed. And whoever doesn’t like 11… every good course has a really tough par 4 that is more like a 4.5

  3. James T

    Apr 2, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Jordan Spieth might suggest they fill in the pond in front of the 12th green.

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19th Hole

That’s one way to grow the game: First Nude Golf Day held in Australia

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Ready your shaft and balls jokes, golf fans, it’s time for the tale of the the first Wandering Bears Nude Golf Day at (you can’t make this stuff up) Humpty Doo Golf Club in Australia.

According to a Northern Territory News report, Bruce Jensen and Julie Jarvie of Brujul Nude Retreat organized the event. They agreed to steer clear of the seventh and eight holes because those are next to the clubhouse and, presumably, the membership loaned the course out to the nudists for the day but they didn’t particularly want to see a flesh parade while chowing down in the grill room.

The event attracted about 30 swingers of the golf club. Jensen promises there will be more golfers sans clothes at next year’s event.

And here are a couple of quotes from participants in the event, presented without comment because, well, what can you really say?

“There’s plenty of sun block. And the sausage sizzle got people going a bit.”

“Everything is swinging when you play golf nude.”

It’s unclear whether “sausage sizzle” was a literal or figurative term…

So, while some of us are bellyaching about the state of the game, Jensen, Jarvie, the Wandering Bears, and the Humpty Doo Golf Club are doing something about it…albeit something that 99.9 percent of golfers would never consider.

But seriously. Good on you, participants in/organizers of Nude Golf Day. We always talk about playing golf the way that suits you — nine holes, teeing it forward, on a simulator, etc. — and these folks are truly doing it.

What say you, GolfWRX members, anyone plan to wander fairways in the buff with the Wandering Bears next year?

(image c/o Clive Hyde)

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Rickie Fowler sings the praises of slow greens. What do you think?

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Following his opening-round 64 at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open yesterday, Rickie Fowler had some interesting remarks about his enjoyment of slower greens.

Writing for Golfweek, Geoff Shackelford mentioned Guillane “is playing firm and fast tee-to-fringe, the greens themselves are kept much slower than the typical European Tour course due to the possibility of high winds.”

Rickie Fowler, a past winner of the tournament, suggested slower greens may actually show who the better putters are.

“I think it’s kind of nice because (you) actually get to hit the putt, you’re not just trying to hit it to a spot and letting it work to the hole unless you have a downhill, downwind putt,” he said. ‘“You have to use your imagination as far as creativity and trying to judge how much the wind will affect it. At the end of the day, you just have to hit solid putts.”’

“Slower greens may accentuate a mis-hit putt more. Whereas if you have a downhill putt in the States you kind of just have to hit it to get it going. Here, you mis-hit it a little bit uphill, into the wind and it can be a pretty big difference.”

While Shackelford, advocate for rolling back the ball and against “firm and fast” that he is, saw great important in Fowler’s remarks, he’s not at all wrong to highlight them

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Is it worth reading anything into Fowler’s remarks? Clearly, with current ball distances, pros would be shooting fish in a barrel with their approach shots on greens that stimp at nine or 10, right?

Let us know what you think!

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19th Hole

It’s a boom time for Phil Mickelson stories

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A few tasty morsels are being served for fans of the game’s greatest left-hander today.

Coming on the heels of Alan Shipnuck’s superb ride along with Phil (as in, riding in Mickelson’s souped-up golf cart) the other day, Lefty had plenty of note to say at the Scottish Open (per John Huggan). 

Question: Do you think the backlash has been over the top?

“You have to be accountable for yourself,” said Mickelson. “I do a lot of dumb stuff. I had that rules deal at Greenbrier last week. And last year at Greenbrier I picked up my ball in the middle of the fairway, marked it and cleaned it. I have these like just moments where I’m in a ‘cloud.’ I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I’m just going through the motions and not really aware of the moment. I’ve done that a bunch in my career. I keep doing stuff like that. That’s the way my mind works.”

Next question: “One of the confusing things for people is that you said after the round at the U.S. Open on Saturday that you thought about doing it a lot of times before, and that indicated that maybe it was premeditated what you did?”

“Not only was I not great on the course, I was not great after the round, either…So it was just not a great day, and it was my birthday. I tend to do dumb stuff on my birthday. The way I show anger is not the traditionally accepted way, throwing clubs and berating the fans and marshals. I tend to be a little more passive aggressive in my actions, and that was kind of what I was doing.”

And if that weren’t good enough, Golf.com filed a roundup of some great Mickelson stories, courtesy of his fellow Tour pros and others.

Keegan Bradley

“I have a Phil story from Muirfield Village, at the 2013 Presidents Cup. We were doing really well, playing alternate shot, and we were dormie, 6 up with whatever left to play. And I had about a 5-foot putt on 13 to win the match — and it 360ed the hole. Lipped out. I got up on the next hole, it’s my tee and just a 3-iron, but I was rattled — I hit this 3-iron 100 yards right. So they win that hole. And then we get to the next hole, a par 5, and we get up there and I’ve got 5 feet for birdie; Graham DeLaet has about 25 feet for his birdie.”

“So all Graham has to do is miss his putt and we win the match. And Phil looks over at Graham and goes, ‘Pick it up, it’s good.’ And I looked over at Phil and I’m like, Are you kidding me? Now, if I miss the putt, we lose the hole. So I was pissed. But then, sure enough, I made the putt, we won the match. Now it’s funny — but if I’d missed the putt it wouldn’t have been funny. Now he says he knew I was rattled and he wanted me to make that putt to win the match. So, typical Phil, trying to teach lessons. But it was wild. I mean, a 25-footer!”

Xander Schauffele

“This year, I played all four rounds at the Waste Management with Phil, and it was incredible. I feel like I got the full Phil experience. But the coolest moment I’ve had with him was when I was on the Web.com Tour. I played a pickup round with Phil and Charley Hoffman at The Grand, my home course in San Diego, and [laughs] there’s so much banter between those guys. This was sort of my introduction into what the top dogs do. So we’re on the second hole, and I think Charley was already up on him. You know, they always gamble a certain amount of money.

“Phil’s about to tee off, and he’s pretending to struggle. He was like, ‘Oh, gosh, it’s so hard to swing.’ I was like, what’s going on? And Phil goes, ‘Here Charley, you mind holding onto this?’ And he pulls this wad of cash out of his back pocket! The whole day, I was sitting in the cart, just lookin’ around, like, ‘I’m not gonna say anything here; I’m just gonna let these guys battle it out.’ And it was so much fun. Phil showed how competitive and fun he can make golf.”

Check out the rest of the anecdotes here.

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