Niptucks at Augusta National


One of the highlights of spring, somewhere just south of Spring Training and St. Patrick’s Day, arrived in our mailbox this week. The 2010 Masters media guide covers some 406 pages, but the good stuff starts early on page 24 under the heading “significant hole changes.”

It often seems that each year the powers that be at Augusta National tinker with some of the masterpiece, although some years are more active than others. This year appears to be one of the more quiet off-seasons on record.

There are five “significant” changes listed, with the most compelling tinker coming at the second hole (where the front of the green was widened by 8 feet) and new real-estate at the front of the fifth and 13th tee boxes. The overall impact of the latter – along with an additional 10 yards added to the front of the seventh tee in 2009, a wonderfully short 330-yard par 4 from the member’s tee that has been stretched to 450 yards for the tournament – could be a shorter Augusta National.

Some traditions, however, never change. The drive down Magnolia Lane (about 330 yards) is still the shortest on property.