2001: Top-secret changes revealed

As many as four work crews are busy at Augusta National Golf Club making significant changes on seven holes. The work involves adding seven new tees, reshaping fairway bunkers on three holes and reconfiguring fairway contours on three holes, Golfweek has learned.

The work is nearing completion and will leave plenty of time for turfgrass recovery for the 2002 Masters.

In a separate plan, officials from Augusta National have made inquires to representatives from adjoining Augusta Country Club. The immediate object of interest is a one-acre parcel along the right side of Augusta Country Club’s 387-yard, par-4 ninth hole. Access to this plot of land would enable Augusta National officials to add about 30 yards to its 485-yard, par-5 13th hole.

At the 2001 Masters, Augusta National chairman William “Hootie” Johnson announced that some significant changes were forthcoming, but would not comment on details. The work is being overseen by architect Tom Fazio. No club official or anyone associated with the work would comment about the renovations.

The par-72, 6,985-yard course, designed by Alister MacKenzie and Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, has undergone considerable modification since its opening in 1933. In recent years, trees have been used to narrow landing areas on what originally was designed to play as a ground game-oriented layout with vast contours and putting surfaces in the midst of a parkland setting. Light rough was brought back in 1999 after a long hiatus. In 1981, the Bermudagrass greens were converted to bentgrass for the 1982 Masters.

While par will be unaffected, the course could gain as much as an estimated 115 yards, bringing it to 7,100 yards. Several fairways are being regraded to reduce ground roll and make the course play even longer.

The plans appear to include historic restoration of the bunker shape on the eighth fairway.

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