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How To Play Augusta's Back Nine On Masters Sunday

The challenge posed by Augusta National is one that pushes the world's best golfers to their limits and so, to fully appreciate the skill level and course management required to survive Masters Sunday, we've turned to the winning caddie from back in 2016 - Jonathan Smart.

Back in 2018, we were lucky enough to pick the brains of a Masters-winning caddie and, luckily, Jonathan was more than happy to give our Hole19 community the benefit of his experience.

Check out his back nine notes which are brought to life perfectly using the Augusta National course map on the Hole19 app.

Hole10 (Camellia)
Yardage: 495 yards, Par 4
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Jonathan says...

This is the start of probably the most famous back 9 in golf and the first 3 of those are quite the test.

The tee shot is severely downhill and sharply right to left. The way I think we should play this hole is to play to the corner then we don’t have to try and do anything clever trying to get it around the trees.

For the second we want to lay up around 30 short of the green this will leave us with a simple pitch up the green which allows us to get to any pin.

The whole green slopes from back right to front left so if we can leave ourselves under the hole we can try and start off and make a putt for par. Making 5 here isn’t going to be the end of the world.

Hole11 (White Dogwood)
Yardage: 505 yards, Par 5

Jonathan says...

Probably one of the best looking tee shots on the course, but equally one of the toughest. Once we get our tee shot away, we need to assess what club we are going to go in with and whether we can carry the two knuckles guarding the front of the green. If we can, then I think we need to be playing just right of the green again setting up a chance to make an up and down for par.

Don’t worry if you think we aren’t going for the green; the birdie chances are coming.

Hole12 (Golden Bell)
Yardage: 155 yards, Par 3

Jonathan says...

As I’m sure you have watched over the years, this short par 3 can cause quite the problems.

The toughest part of this hole is getting the right wind and picking the right club. The best target is to aim down the line of the bunkers; this is where your biggest margin is.

Hole13 (Azalea)
Yardage: 510 yards, Par 5

Jonathan says...

Now it’s time to try and make a birdie. Keep it simple and play the tee shot just to the corner; we don’t need to risk taking this green on in two. With the layup, we can get this as close as you like as it will leave you a simple pitch up the green to a right pin position. Use the slope to get the ball feeding into the hole.

Hole14 (Chinese Fir)
Yardage: 440 yards, Par 4

Jonathan says...

Slightly deceiving tee shot. You actually have a lot more room on the right than you think.

With the second shot, it always plays longer than you think and being over the green is better than short. Usually on Sunday they put the pin middle left in a nice bowl, giving us a chance to get it close. Aim about 7yrds left of the flag, and it should feed in nicely to the hole.

Hole15 (Firethorn)
Yardage: 530 yards, Par 5

Jonathan says...

This is just going to be a three-shot par 5 for us. However, we need to be clever where we lay up for our third shot.

If the pin is anywhere on the right, we need to try and keep it left which is a little flatter down there and leaves you shooting up the green. If the pin is left, we need to be down the right so we can use the slope in the middle of the green to feed it down to the hole.

Making par to a left flag is a great score on this hole.

Hole16 (Redbud)
Yardage: 170 yards, Par 3

Jonathan says...

Traditional Sunday pin is just past middle of the green to the left.

This is all about club selection. We can aim up the middle of the green, and if we have the right club, we can use the slope to feed it down to the hole as I’m sure you have seen over the years.

Hole17 (Nandina)
Yardage: 440 yards, Par 4

Jonathan says...

The start of a strong closing two holes. Important to find the fairway here otherwise you are generally stuck behind trees and will struggle to hit the green.

Once your tee shot is away, we need to try and feed it up the left side of the green since the pin is generally located on the right side, or closer to the middle. This will require an up and down or a great 2-putt.

Hole18 (Holly)
Yardage: 465, Par 4

Jonathan says...

Aim at the bunkers and commit. Very intimidating tee shot here and one that has no bail out.

Sunday pin is always front left but is very accessible. Aim for the right edge of the green, and we are going to try and feed it up the right side and let the slopes do the rest for us. If we miss it in the right bunker, it’s not the end of the world to this pin.


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