Amen Corner Augusta: The Three Signature Holes At The Masters

First christened at Augusta National in the late 1950s, Amen Corner is one of the most famous three-hole stretches in all of golf

A general view of the 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the most commonly heard phrases relating to The Masters is 'Amen Corner'... But what actually is it? If you thought that Amen Corner was the term for the whole of the 11th, 12th and 13th holes around the lowest point of Augusta National Golf Club, you're only almost right!

Although that is what the term now universally means, when it was first penned by renowned golf writer, Herbert Warren Wind in a Sports Illustrated article in 1958, it was designed to add extra clout and excitement to the spell from the approach shot on 11 through to the tee-shot on 13. In others words, all the action you can readily watch from the same spot on the 12th hole.

Inspiration for the phrase came from a 1930s jazz record entitled “Shoutin’ in that Amen Corner”, which Wind remembered from the 1930s. Whatever Amen Corner now means, there’s little doubt that in almost every Masters, some of the most telling action will unfold around one of the toughest par 4s on the course in the 11th hole, the devilishly tricky 12th - “Golden Bell” – and the ingenious par-5 13th where Kipling’s ‘two imposters’ of triumph and disaster lurk in equal measure.

The list of who’s messed up around Amen Corner though the years is too long to recount here, although we will mention a few. It was, of course, here in 1996 that Greg Norman finally relinquished his lead over Nick Faldo, missing a short putt on 11 and then rolling back into the water on 12 for an untimely double.

faldo and norman at the masters

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Three years earlier, Dan Forsman, had gone two better – or worse – with a quadruple bogey, finding water from the tee on 12 and then again with a wedge from the fairway while vying for the lead. But both pale into insignificance compared to Tom Weiskopf, who hit five in the water here in 1980 en route to a 13, the highest individual hole score relative to par in Masters history.

Those nearby at the time would have done well to invoke the ‘Don't’ speak to Tom right now’ rule! Others have responded to the mental pressure of the 12th tee shot by hitting a stone-cold shank, among them Jack Nicklaus in 1995, and more recently Peter Hanson, 2012’s Saturday night leader, who didn’t even trouble Rae’s Creek with his!

rory mcilroy augusta

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However, as Amen Corner disasters go, it’s hard to beat Rory McIlroy’s in 2011. Having made a complete hash of 10, he was probably not in the right frame of mind for the challenges of Amen Corner, but responded well with two good shots into 11… followed by three putts from no great distance. Worse was to come on 12, where a decent iron shot created a bounce-back birdie chance. He walked off with a double-bogey after taking four putts to finally get the ball underground!

One smother-hooked drive on 13 later, and his race was well and truly run, one of the most high-profile victims of Amen Corner from a cast of thousands.

spieth augusta

Spieth finding the water at the 12th hole in 2016

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Then, in 2016, we witnessed defending champion Jordan Spieth find Rae's Creek on 12 off the tee before completely fatting another one straight into it. He made seven after bogeying the 11th, derailing his hopes of a second Green Jacket. 

In 2019, the 12th proved pivotal during the tournament as several players at the top of the leaderboard found the water. This included Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau and Ian Poulter, whereas Tiger Woods found the green and went on to win the tournament. 

What is clear is the tournament is never 100% over until the leaders get through Amen Corner on Sunday's final round. What is also clear is history has taught us that someone, sometime, will again fall victim to Amen Corner.

amen corner

(Image credit: Getty Images)


The term 'Amen Corner' refers to hole numbers 11, 12, and 13 at Augusta National Golf Club and was first coined more than 60 years ago by Herbert Warren Wind in the April 21, 1958 edition of Sports Illustrated. 

He wrote that it was composed of the second half of hole No. 11, hole No. 12, and the first half of hole No. 13. Wind was searching for an appropriate name for the location where the critical action had taken place that year.

Nowadays, many people say that any golfer passing through it must say a little prayer before teeing up on the 11th to escape without too much damage to their scorecard.

Amen Corner Hole-By-Hole Guide


A general view of the 11th hole at Augusta National Golf Club

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  • Lowest score: 2 (six times)
  • Highest score: 9 (five times)
  • Scoring average: 4.303 (1)

The start of Amen Corner is another hole which has been changed dramatically. It used be a shorter, more severe dogleg, but it has been lengthened and straightened in a series of changes.

The pond to the left of the green was a stream, but it was dammed before the 1951 Masters. The name of the hole also has been lengthened – it used to be called simply Dogwood. Ahead of the 2022 Masters, the 11th tee was moved back 15 yards and to the left, and some trees down the right side of the fairway were removed. It now measures 520 yards.


The 12th at Augusta National

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  • Lowest score: 1 (three times)
  • Highest score: 13 (Tom Weiskopf, 1980)
  • Scoring average: 3.270 (4)

This hole used to be called Three Pines, after the trio of pine trees by the tee. However, they all died, so now the hole is named Golden Bell, after the deciduous flowering shrub behind the green.

This hole remains largely as it ever was, however, the bunkering has changed behind the green and the shape and size of the putting surface has been tinkered with while the creek has also been widened. It's one of the most famous golf holes in the world and much tougher than it looks, as wind plays a big factor when the ball gets above the trees.

HOLE 13 - AZALEA - PAR 5 - 545 YARDS

A side-on view of the 13th green and approach at Augusta National Golf Club

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  • Lowest score: 2 (Jeff Maggert, 1994)
  • Highest score: 13 (Tommy Nakajima, 1978)
  • Scoring average: 4.775 (18)

These flowers provide a lot of colour at Augusta National and from tee to green on this hole there are approximately 1,600 Azaleas on this hole. The 13th has historically been the best scoring hole, making it the "easiest" on the property.

For the 2023 Masters, the 13th hole was finally lengthened following a number of big-hitting players driving it over the corner of the dogleg. The tee was pushed back 35 yards, with the hole now measuring 545 yards.

Sam Tremlett
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A golfer for most of his life, Sam is Golf Monthly's E-commerce Editor.

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Fairway Wood: Ping G430 Max (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees) 

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