Each year, golf fans tune into the Masters to see the best players in the world take on the challenge that is Augusta National Golf Club. Being the only men’s major played on the same course every year, the Masters host course takes on added significance because fans feel they know Augusta National and every nook and cranny of the course.
However, Augusta National Golf Club changes more often than fans think. Often times, though, the changes are minor and would go unnoticed by most observers unless pointed out.
Going into the 2019 Masters, there are two notable changes at Augusta National Golf Club — one every fan will notice, and the other a bit more subtle.
Changes to Augusta National Golf Club for 2019 Masters
Lengthened, re-worked fifth hole
The big change to Augusta National Golf Club for the 2019 Masters is the lengthening of the par-4 fifth hole. The fifth hole is now 40 yards longer than 2018, playing 495 yards. The club purchased additional land and re-routed the unused Berckmans Road to push back the tee shot to match the modern driving distances of Masters contestants.
The two fairway bunkers on the left side of the hole are more in play, too, by bringing them closer to the new tournament tee box. Players are now compelled to hit driver on the uphill tee shot, with the bunkers located exactly how far the top players can fly their driver. The bunkers are shallower than they had been in recent memory, making them not quite as penalizing for a player looking to advance the ball with a longer club as close as they can to the green.
The strategy for the hole is to take on the bunkers on the left for a better approach angle.
The green complex has been changed slightly, too, offering up a new back-left hole location. The rest of the hole plays similarly, but players will now be coming into the fifth green with their approach shot using mid-irons and long irons. The lengthening marks the first significant change to the hole since broader changes were made to the course in 2003.
Added putting surface space on 18th green
The other change of note to the course is the reclamation of the green complex behind the back-right bunker on the 18th green. The addition of more space behind that bunker on the closing hole will allow Augusta National Golf Club to add a hole location into the rotation that will challenge the players to take on that bunker to make birdie. A change like this wouldn’t be made without the intention of actually using the space, so look for an unfamiliar hole location at No. 18.