Augusta National Golf Club appears to be literally unpaving the way for a longer fifth hole at the home of the Masters.
Plans filed Jan. 30 with the Augusta Planning and Development Department show a lengthening of the par 4 by some 20 or 30 yards, pushing the tee box across where Old Berckmans Road currently sits off club property. That road has been closed to traffic since 2015, and the filed plan calls for a re-routing of the road to curve around the new tee box.
In addition to making the fifth hole, one of the toughest at Augusta National, longer, the new tee box would alleviate competitor congestion at the fourth green and current fifth tee.
According to the Augusta Chronicle, the club said through a spokesman the plans do not mean the work will happen. The filing does allow the club to explore the option, however. An approximate start date of May 1, 2018, was indicated in the filing. That could have the new fifth tee ready for the 2019 Masters.
Former Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said last year that the club controlled the approximately 23 acres needed to make this change and would explore the possibility.
Such a change would be the first voluntary lengthening of the course since six holes were lengthened in 2006.
The fifth hole, known as “Magnolia,” is typically a fairway wood to stay short of the left side bunkers — a carry of them is 310 yards — and mid- or short iron for modern players. The green complex is one of the more difficult surfaces to read on the course.