Masters 2023? What changes have been made to the course?
With the Masters fast approaching, the word on the greens is that there is something different about the course at Augusta this year, but what exactly? Let’s find out.
Though golf fans have guessed at it for years, Augusta National Golf Club has finally confirmed what many suspected for quite a few years: The 13th hole has been changed. What this means is that the iconic par 5 will now play much longer when the tournament commences next month.
The 2023 Masters sees change to “Azalea”
On Monday, the Augusta National Golf Club released its annual media guide ahead of the 2023 Masters and there was one specific point that most definitely caught the eye. “Azalea” one of the course’s most famous holes had seen its yardage increased by 35 yards, which brings it up to 545 yards in total in comparison to the 510 at which it stood just last year. Via aerial photos - see below - we’ve been able to see that the distance was achieved by moving back the tee. Understandably, this has added a greater degree of difficulty to what has traditionally been considered the course’s easiest hole to play.
To be clear, while the change is notable, it doesn’t make No. 13 a significantly long par 5. On the other hand, with the hard dogleg left, and the tributary of Rae’s Creek on guard duty over the green, that added 35 yards will create a situation where it becomes far more difficult to go for the green in two. Of course, we’re yet to see how the alteration will affect play at No. 13, but we do know that if history is any teacher, it’s always been a back nine that is a fan favorite, with golfers traditionally making big charges.
The course at Augusta has seen change before
In case you’re wondering, the course at Augusta has in fact been modified before and it was just last year to boot. Ahead of the 2022 Masters, Augusta National lengthened the other par 5 on its back nine, No. 15, by 20 yards. Many can attest to the fact that it led to not a single eagle being made on the hole during the tournament. Ultimately, Augusta remains the same but different and now stands at a total of 7,545 yards.