Tour Pros Get First Look At New 13th Hole At Augusta Ahead Of 2023 Masters

Kevin Kisner and Tony Finau among the first PGA Tour pros to give their verdicts on the lengthened 13th hole at Augusta

An aerial image of the lengthened 13th hole at Augusta National
(Image credit: (©12SEP2022 David Dobbins/EurekaEarth))

It’s been the talk of whatever off-season we have in golf, and now the first few pro golfers have taken a look and the newly-extended 13th hole at Augusta National ahead of next year’s Masters.

The par-five 13th hole called Azalea has been extended by 35 yards with a new tee box tucked away in the trees to try and toughen the test for the big-hitting golfer of today who can easily overpower the 510-yard hole.

It was the third-easiest hole at The Masters in 2022 and Augusta National chiefs wanted to toughen the test of the hole by adding the new tee.

Such is the position of the first Major of the season, with it being held at the same venue and also the first of golf’s big prizes to be contested, The Masters always gets more publicity than most, and any changes are always heavily scrutinised.

As such, players have already started to make their trips to the esteemed Georgia course to get the inside track on the changes to Augusta National.

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"You know, what?" Kevin Kisner told Golfweek, who lives under an hour away in South Carolina. "I was totally against it until I played it, and I don't think it's going to be that bad.”

Kisner was not alone in being critical of Augusta changing one of most iconic holes on the course, and he says now that there will be more lay-ups but that the bigger hitters could still reach in two with five or six irons rather than shorter clubs.

Billy Horschel is also a sceptic and thinks there’ll be far more lay-ups, while Tony Finau played Augusta recently and did manage to get on the green in two, which he predicts will require a five iron at the most.

Augusta National have remained tight-lipped on the changes, but chairman Fred Ridley did hint this year that they would be lengthening the hole to make it a much more risk-and-reward test as Bobby Jones would have intended.

"There's a great quote from Bobby Jones dealing specifically with the 13th hole, which has been lengthened over time, and he said that the decision to go for the green in two should be a momentous one," Ridley said.

"And I would have to say that our observations of these great players hitting middle and even short irons into that hole is not a momentous decision. From our perspective, we will always do what's necessary to maintain the integrity of our golf course."

Augusta purchased the land from neighbouring Augusta Country Club but there’s always been some mystery around what they’d do with it and when exactly it’d get done – but it seems now that the 2023 Masters will be the debut for this new test.

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Paul Higham
Contributor

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.