ANWA offers peek at new changes at Augusta National
29 Mar 2022
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, Augusta National Golf Club

Thirteenth Hole at Augusta National
Thirteenth Hole at Augusta National

Augusta National used to come through our television screens in very controlled doses. Over the years, golf fans have been given more and more access - between streaming and The Masters excellent website, golf fans can gorge themselves on Augusta National during The Masters.

Another addition to the Augusta National content is the outstanding Augusta National Women’s Amateur which will conclude on Saturday, April 2 when 30 women compete for the trophy on the hallowed course.

The first two rounds of the ANWA are held at Champions Retreat. Then a hard cut of 30 players is made (imagine a being in a playoff to play Augusta National). Those 30 qualifiers play a practice round at Augusta National before playing the final round.

Of course, seeing Augusta National a few weeks early is a treat. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur also provides viewers two opportunities - they get a preview of the course and any possible changes and they can watch players with a different skill set hit familiar shots under pressure.

It’s rather refreshing to watch these highly-skilled women take on the course in a different way and shoot great scores under immense pressure.

According to The Masters media guide, holes 11, 15, and 18 have experienced "significant changes", meaning ANWA’s TV coverage will be the first time fans see those changes.

Let’s look at some of the alterations they made at Augusta National this winter.

Eleventh Hole (White Dogwood) - "Masters tees moved back 15 yards and to the golfer’s left. Fairway recontoured and several trees removed on right side."

For the women’s amateur, the new tee box on 11 isn’t going to impact them. However, a number of trees on the right side of the hole have been removed. This is not a surprise as many have been calling for the corridor to be widened over the years to bring in more strategic play.

The trees on the right forced players up the left side of the hole, which took away the strategy of playing to different parts of the fairway depending on a pin placement. Now with more space to the right, players can choose right or left depending on where the pin is located.

During last year’s ANWA round at Augusta, the pin on 11 was placed on the back right quadrant of the green. Watching the final pair of Ingrid Lindblad and Rose Zhang play the hole gives a good view of what an approach looks like from the center and the left side of the fairway.

The eleventh fairway has also been recontoured, which is a vague description. In all likelihood this will impact the pros more than the women amateurs. It seems likely that the added length will bring a new part of the fairway that wasn’t contoured to receive tee shots. Additionally, Augusta has some extreme slopes, and they wouldn’t want to move a tee back without giving players a stance that at least allows them to hit an effective approach shot.

Fifteenth Hole (Firethorn) - "Masters tees moved back 20 yards and fairway recontoured."

The fifteenth hole has been lengthened by 20 yards, which will not affect the ANWA field, as the listed course length of 6365 yards is the same as last year. However, this fairway has also been contoured. Again, vagaries are often Augusta National’s strong suit when it comes to these changes. But if the hole is lengthed, it might mean the lay-up area has been softened as more players might have to lay up on the par five.

The interesting part about watching the women amateurs play the fifteenth hole this year is they might be hitting similar clubs into the green as the pros a few weeks later given that the men will be pushed backward 20 yards.

On the AmateurGolf.com podcast Rachel Heck said the second shot into 15 was one that she counldn’t wait to hit again. She hit a five-wood into the green and made a birdie while in contention to win.

Eighteenth Hole (Holly) - "Thirteen yards added to the back of the Masters tees without necessitating a change in length to the hole."

Finally, the eighteenth hole has had thirteen yards added to the back of the tee box. However, the yardage on the scorecard does not need to be altered for this change.

The hope is to bring the fairway bunker back into play for the pros. This bunker played a huge role in the 2021 ANWA as it seemed like most of the field, especially the contenders in the final groups, hit their tee shots into the bunker and had to scramble in order to make a par.

Again, this change does not impact the scorecard, and it will be interesting to see if Augusta National decides to push the teeing ground back for the women so fewer players find that trap. It was playing firm and fast last year, and it seemed almost impossible for the players to keep the ball on the eighteenth fairway and many balls tumbled into that treacherous bunker.

For many in the United States, The Masters is the unofficial start to golf season. The gleaming course and chirping birds ring in spring every April. The ANWA is that lovely early hint of spring, be sure to tune in and watch the best amateur women in the world take on Augusta National.

ABOUT THE Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA)

54-hole stroke-play tournament that will include a 72 player international field. The field will include winners of other recognized tournaments while also utilizing the Women's World Amateur Golf Rankings.

The first two rounds will be played at Champions Retreat Golf Club before the field is cut to the low 30 and ties for the final round at Augusta National.

The tournament will be played the week before the Masters, concluding on Saturday.

View Complete Tournament Information

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