A guide to the first hole at Augusta National, including tips from two-time Masters champion and 37-time Masters competitor Bernhard Langer
Bernhard Langer Augusta National Course Guide: Hole 1
Augusta National Hole 1 Par 4 445 yards
The first hole at Augusta National frequently ranks as one of the harder holes on the golf course during the Masters. Players often take 3-wood off the tee to avoid a fairway bunker that lurks on the right side of the hole, some 285 yards from the tee.
The fairway is narrow, the approach plays uphill and the green in surrounded by run-off areas, so par is always deemed a good score here. The hole ranks as the 6th hardest in the all-time rankings with a stroke average of 4.23
Related: How fast are the greens at Augusta National?
In 2011, Charl Schwartzel chipped in from an unlikely position to the right of the green for birdie, before holing his second for eagle at the par-4 3rd. He went on to claim the Green Jacket.
That same year, Rory McIlroy hit a sublime 3-wood off the first tee, leaving himself just a wedge for his second shot. He tweaked it slightly and failed to get up and down, though, leading to an opening bogey. He stumbled to a final-round 80 and finished 10 shots behind Schwartzel.
Langer: “The first priority is to avoid the right-hand fairway bunker, and then wind direction dictates how much club you need to reach the green. You must avoid going long or left and ideally you want to set-up an uphill putt.”
Best ever score: 2 Worst ever score: 8
Memorable moment: In 1975, Lee Elder became the first-ever black golfer to play in the Masters, paving the way for the likes of Calvin Peete and Tiger Woods.
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Worst moment: Sam Snead is more likely to feature in the category above for most holes, but in 1961 he more than earned his place in this one. Not taking into account that the previous group weren't yet out of range, Snead unleashed a drive that almost hit one of the players, Tommy Bolt. Snead was left in no doubt as to what Bolt, nicknamed "Terrible Tommy", thought about his error.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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