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Where many courses favour an easy handshake hole to welcome you (think th 128yard wide fairway at St Andrews), Augusta immediately presents one of the more difficult par-4 holes on the course.

A fairway bunker greets you at the dogleg, perfectly placed to capture errant drives, whilst the fairway thins and quickly transforms to trees to disrupt anyone long enough to carry the sand.

The approach shot is uphill to a green built to reject balls into quick run-off areas. And, as always at Augusta, you need to set up an uphill putt on a course where greens can run lightning-fast. Make a four here, and most of the field would walk away with a smile on their face.

From hell to heaven; a reachable par 5 for the entire field. Whilst the yardage appears daunting, the downslope of the fairway combined with the heavily downhill second shot means that (for once) an accurate tee shot is far more useful than a long one.

Players who can hit a draw will find their ball scuttling down the hill, significantly shortening the approach shot.

After finding the fairway and avoiding blocking the line of sight to the green, most will be looking at a long iron into one of the more scorable holes on the rolling green hills of Augusta National.

Just avoid the huge fairway bunkers short if you want an eagle putt.

Louis Oosthuizen famously holed out for a two here back in 2012. That shot was a 250 yard 4-iron from the diminutive South African, running it perfectly up the green to find the bottom of the cup.

Course management at its finest. Most will lay up (though the fairway bunkers make that no certainty of success), looking to attack with their second shot into the elevated green.

A few may launch driver in the hopes of catching a good lie and a shorter approach to the pin, which brings in its own set of variables, as Bryson DeChambeau will tell you after losing his drive in the rough and re-teeing back in 2020.

The real star of the show here is the green. Shallow, slick and sloped the whole length from right to left, putting a premium on distance control. Too firm and you'll roll through the back; too short and, well, it's a lottery down there, and one you'll rarely win.

After the test of precision with the short clubs on hole 3 comes the hardest hole on the front 9.

Here, a well-struck long iron that finds the well-protected green is no guarantee of a three. Whilst at some point before Sunday the field will be asked to carry the large bunker short right to access the tricky back right hole position, the jewel in the crown of hole 4 at Augusta lies in its Sunday set-up.

The traditional hole position on Sunday, perched between the bunkers at the front left of the green, makes this hole play on average closer to a par 4 than a par 3.

Good shots will have to land effectively on the pin to stay close, as running short will leave the ball beneath the green with a healthy chip shot back up to the putting surface.

Four holes in, and the course is already starting to make its case as one of the most difficult venues in world golf.

Long. Dogleg. Blind approach shots. Tumultuous green. Are we starting to get the idea here? The true secret to unlocking the fifth hole is shortening the approach shot, and as such, expect to see players going after this one.

With the green as tricky as anything you're going to see at Augusta, players who can shorten the approach can use spin to hold their position on the green.

Expect the world's best landing close only to watch their ball race away from the hole. Another instance where par is perfectly acceptable... and on to the sixth, we go.

The second real birdie opportunity of the round. A hole where the story is in the green. With three of the four pin positions reasonably accessible, the field will be looking to claw back any lost shots as they pass through the first third of their round.

The green here is multi-tiered and increases in difficulty from front left to back right. Two time Masters champion (and perennial cut maker) Bernhard Langer says of number 6 "A great par three, but perhaps too severe with the top-right corner pin position. I need to stop a long-iron tee shot on an area that is roughly 10 yards deep and eight yards wide."

So basically impossible for us mere mortals, but keep an eye out for who can manage to take advantage of that back pin during the tournament, as you're likely watching one of the shots of the day.

A hole where success one day can turn to catastrophe the next. A straight narrow tee shot to set up a short iron (or wedge for some) approach into the tilted green, which runs down towards those hitting their approach.

Expect to see some pinpoint shots attacking this green as the field takes advantage of hitting into a green that will actually assist the ball in stopping for once and where two of the four pin positions allow the balls to feed down toward the hole.

However, falling short into the bunkers has seen even the hardiest of professionals thinking birdie, and making bogey. Or falling left. Or right. Or going long.

It is a green well-defended against those who don't give it the respect it deserves.

Potentially the most interesting golf hole on the course, and it only features one bunker in the fairway. Half the field will be laying back and trying to attack accessible flags with chips and short pitches. The other half will be taking this hole on in two.

With a long thin green protected by large mounding, a fairway bunker that forces drives away from the optimal line in, and trees in play with every shot, this is a challenge that only a few will overcome.

Those who give this a go will be playing a draw (or hook in some cases) around trees that lie just left of the green. The trees may block out some longer hitters as the dogleg, combined with the uphill approach, push drives down and to the left.

After achieving this, the mounding acts as a funnel keeping balls on the green, but it's important to not run through the back.

Anyone who bails out right of the green will find a blind shot, over the famous mounds, into a green that runs away from them.

With a possible variation of over 30 yards in length, this hole will play very different day-to-day.

One of the friendlier driving holes on the course, a draw is required, leaving most players a short iron or wedge from a downhill lie, and that's where the real challenge starts.

The green slopes from left to right and is severely tiered to force accurate approaches to each pin. Anything short can run off the front edge and scamper down the fairway up to 50 yards before finally coming to rest, leaving a tricky pitch where accuracy is paramount.

However, this hole has seen some magic as recent as 2019, with Tiger Woods facing a putt from the top tier, from what would have been 12 feet on level terrain. Showing his incredible imagination, he ran it toward the collar of the green and down the tiers at a snail's pace some 50 feet before coming to rest just inches short for a tap in par on his way to victory.

We hope you enjoyed our journey through Augusta's front nine. Check out Tour caddie Jonathan Smart's assessment of the tournament-defining back nine here.


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