5 Gear Changes Players Will Likely Make At Augusta

Augusta National presents some unique challenges to Masters competitors, so how do they combat those with their equipment?

Photo montage of the Masters
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I don’t know about you, but I feel like I know Augusta National as well as any golf course on the planet and I’ve never even set foot on the premises! The world-famous Georgia masterpiece presents some of the most unique challenges in professional golf, from the lightning-fast, undulating greens to the sharp doglegs and massive elevation changes. Because of the questions the course poses to the players, we often see some fairly significant equipment tweaks leading up to The Masters. Here are five to watch out for...

Adding a draw bias tee club (for a right-hander)

Photo of Rory McIlroy hitting from the 10th tee

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There are a few holes at Augusta National that become an awful lot easier for a right-handed golfer if they can turn the ball over with a draw flight. The par 5 2nd hole is one, the 9th, 10th, and 13th can also play an awful lot shorter with a right-to-left shot matching the shape of the hole. Even on the relatively straight 14th hole, a draw can help players hold the fairway that slopes pretty aggressively left to right. As such, many players try to add some more right-to-left bias at the top end of the bag.

They either do this by adjusting the weight settings or face angle on their driver or by doing the same on their 3 wood as - in the modern game - many right-handed players feel that it is a lot easier to draw the ball with a little more loft. Either way, a lot of the field will be looking for ways to encourage a draw flight at that end of the bag.

Adding a high-lofted fairway or hybrid

Photo of Sungjae Im hitting a fairway wood

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We’ve seen the par 5s play such a pivotal role in the outcome of so many Masters tournaments over the years and with the event on the line over the closing stretch, two of those (the 13th and 15th) require long carries over water onto firm fast greens. As such, many players who usually carry a 2 or 3 iron will switch this out in favor of one of the best hybrids or best fairway woods to provide more launch, peak height, and crucially a steeper descent angle. The right shot on those holes on a Sunday afternoon could be the difference so the players will need to be ready.

Brand new wedges

Photo of Cam Smith looking at his wedges

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Tour pros generally differ greatly in how often they switch out their wedges. Some might only freshen them up once or twice a season, whereas others ask their manufacturers for new wedges almost every tournament they play. During Masters week, however, one of the most requested and built items on the tour trucks are wedges. With the premium on spin control and accuracy when hitting into those firm, undulating greens, players need to know that their spin levels are optimal with brand-new, fresh, sharp grooves. When facing a downhill pitch to a green running away from you at Augusta, you’d better be sure you’ve got as much spin as is possibly available!

Less loft on putters

Scottie Scheffler with Olson Putter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is a slightly less common change, but still one a few players will make. Thanks to ball roll analysis from launch monitors such as Quintic Ball Roll, we know that the best putters require some loft to get the ball launching above the grass and prevent snagging or bobbling. However, the amount of loft required will vary depending on the length and quality of the greens being putted. With Augusta National boasting some of the quickest, shortest-cut greens in golf, the need for loft is diminished and can actually be harmful. Too much loft can cause a ball to launch too high and bounce a little which will affect distance control, as such a number of players may tweak their putter loft down a little before the tournament starts.

Carrying more golf balls!

With a watery grave lurking on so many of the famous back 9 holes, such as the 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th, players would do well to ensure they have enough ammunition to complete their rounds! We can probably all remember many a tournament challenge being derailed by the H20 protecting Augusta National. Just ask Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy or Greg Norman to name but a few!

Joe Ferguson
Staff Writer


Joe has worked in the golf industry for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles. After a successful amateur career being involved in England squads at every age group, Joe completed his PGA degree qualification in 2014 as one of the top ten graduates in his training year and subsequently went on to become Head PGA Professional at Ryder Cup venue The Celtic Manor Resort. Equipment has always been a huge passion of Joe’s, and during his time at Celtic Manor, he headed up the National Fitting Centres for both Titleist and Taylormade.  He’s excited to bring his knowledge of hardware to Golf Monthly in the form of equipment reviews and buying advice. 

Joe lives in North Devon and still plays sporadically on the PGA West region circuit. His best round in recent years came earlier in 2023 where he managed a 9 under par 63 at Trevose GC in a Devon & Cornwall PGA Tournament.

Joe's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Ping G430 Max 10K 9 degree - Fujikura Ventus Red 6X 45.75"

Fairway wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Tour - Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Pro White shaft 70TX 43.25"

Irons: Callaway Apex CB 24'  3-11 - Project X LS 6.5 shafts

Wedges: PXG Sugar Daddy 54 and 60 degree - Project X LS 6.0 shafts

Putter: Odyssey Toe Up #9

Ball: TaylorMade 2024 TP5x