Welcome to Masters week, the BEST week of the year in golf. I’m going to post some photos, with commentary, from my trips to the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club. Sure I may post photos of Amen Corner, holes 12 and 13, but everyone posts those. I’m going to try and feature some shots most people don’t see on TV to give some better perspective to the golf course and the Masters.
Hole #1 – Tea Olive - Par-4 – 455 Yards
“Tea Olive” is a long par-4, uphill dogleg right of 455 yards. Tea Olive gets its only decent airtime when the honorary starters are teeing off in the morning early on Thursday. TV viewers only see the tee box. The hole starts in front of the clubhouse and by the practice green. The fairway dips down, then goes back up in elevation. The biggest hitters can sometimes reach flat ground at the top of the dip. Errant tee shots left or right will have tree trouble.
Right of the lowest part of the dip is where the big Masters scoreboard is. That’s the scoreboard with “Masters” across the top and the flags. That is also one of the main entries into the course. The largest merchandise store as well as food and beverages are located farther right of the main scoreboard.
Why did Rory McIlory struggle so much on #1 last year? The fact is that it is a tough hole. The green is like an upside down soup bowl. #1 green is hard to hit with collection areas rolling off to almost all sides. Any shots long, short or off to either side will roll off. If players miss the green on #1 they will be faced with a very tough up-and-down. If a player manages to hit the green with a less-than-accurate approach, two-putting will be difficult.
There is a grandstand behind #1 green which is where I took the photo above. Next to #1 green (left of the green as it is approached) is #9 tee. A little farther in the same direction #8 green can be reached as well as #2 tee.
The first hole can set the tone for a player’s round and it is non an easy go. TV viewers may never see the action on hole #1, which is a shame.