The Masters is a week like no other, I’m sure we will all agree. I’ve been lucky enough to have attended the event a few times over the years and it provides a unique experience in many ways.
The one thing that stands out about Augusta is the greens. The greens are undulating and challenging. Here’s an interesting fact. The average slope on the PGA tour is 1.5%, whereas the average slope at Augusta is 2.5%. So there is significantly more slope than normal. When you combine this with faster than average greens the players are faced with the challenge of having to predict so much more break than what they are used to.
It’s also not uncommon for the green speed to drastically change overnight. The greens have a sub air system underneath so they can regulate the moisture and very easily dry the greens out and change how they play.
The green speed can be 10/11 stimp in practice but then come tournament rounds the speed can be 13/14 stimp. This makes preparation difficult and really challenges the player to be able to adapt.
The other unique thing about Augusta’s greens is the pull of Rae’s Creek. The caddies say the ball always breaks to Rae’s Creek.
Now I know that landmarks or oceans don’t have any gravitational pull that effect break. Break is determined by slope. The slope of the land will decide how much the ball breaks.
However, what is noticeable at Augusta is the fact that the lie of the land generally falls to Raes Creek. There are certain scenarios then where the slope on a green could be opposing the general lie of the land. When this is the case it’s easy for that slope to look stronger than it is. This can give the effect that the ball doesn’t want to behave as it should and is pulled by Raes Creek. The reality is that it’s an optical illusion. But it’s an interesting phenomenon nonetheless and shows you how difficult it can be to hole putts
That’s why very often you see players who have played the event on many occasions often perform well due to memory. The memory of knowing what certain putts do year after year can be a big help. But guess what….Augusta even have that covered too….yes each year you will always find slight tweaks to the contours of the greens, It’s a moving goal post! However a playing field the players never tire of competing on!