With no Instagram posts from Augusta National — not even a random post-Daniel Field takeoff photo — the Masters Media Guide provides our first look at the extended 5th hole.
The addition of 40 yards will get most of the attention, but the question fans of Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie’s design most want to know: has the original Road hole-inspired strategy been restored?
To recap: Bobby Jones described the hole as a reverse of the Road with a carry over the left bunkers and flirtation with the lefthand forest shortening the hole and opening up an ideal angle to most hole locations. The fairway bunkers Jones-MacKenzie answer to the Roads’ Station Master’s Garden.
(Here’s an old Golf World piece I wrote on the ties to St. Andrews and in particular, this hole.)
So as today’s modern heptathletes finally stopped downing Jagermeister shots and moved to cauliflower smoothies, the club pushed forward the fairway bunkers in response. They also planted pines and essentially created a pinched landing area to offset the surge of athleticism. The left risk/reward option of Jones’s day was erased in an attempt to maintain certain distances for the approach.
Going from 455 to 495 in 2019 and our first look at the depiction suggests fairway bunkers have been repositioned. That’s backed by the description of a 315 yard carry in 2018 and a 313 yard carry in 2019. This is very exciting news, though until we see what kind of tree planting and earthwork took place, we should reserve judgement about the potential for a strategic revival.