Thursday, April 11, 2019

At The Masters: Augusta National - A Gardener's Delight

Ahhh, the Masters at Augusta National. It is a revered sanctuary to this amateur golfer's heart and mind. I've been once and that was enough. As a claustrophobic, I love it on television. I don't have to scramble and dodge to see my favorite golfers and I can make my own pimento cheese sandwiches and drink mint juleps without bumping elbows and stepping on toes.

But every year I recall the garden that is Augusta National, one that can make a good walk unspoiled, no matter how you play. The colors, the botanical aromas, the rippling waters and the immense green of the manicured grass, that I did enjoy, and would again without the densely packed, but mannered crowds.

The Augusta National Golf Course was formerly a plant nursery and each hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated. Several of the holes on the first nine have been renamed.

First Nine (Masters’ folks don’t like the term “front nine.”)

First Tee: Tea Olive; Second: Pink Dogwood; Third: Flowering Peach; Fourth: Flowering Crab Apple;

Magnolia



Fifth: Magnolia; Sixth: Juniper; Seventh: Pampas; Eighth: Yellow Jasmine; Ninth: Carolina Cherry.

Second Nine

Tenth hole: Camellia; Eleventh: White Dogwood; Twelfth: Golden Bell; Thirteenth: Azalea; Fourteenth: Chinese Fir; Fifteenth: Firethorn; Sixteenth: Redbud; Seventeenth: Nandina; Eighteenth: Holly.

Azalea

Unlike most other private or public golf courses in the United States, Augusta National has never been rated. During the 1990 Masters Tournament, a team of USGA raters, organized by Golf Digest, evaluated the course and gave it an unofficial rating of 76.2. It was re-evaluated in 2009 and given an unofficial rating of 78.1.

The golf course architecture website GolfClubAtlas.com has said, “Augusta National has gone through more changes since its inception than any of the world’s twenty or so greatest courses. To call it a MacKenzie course is false advertising as his features are essentially long gone and his routing is all that is left.” The architects, it is said, was strongly influenced by the Old Course at St Andrews, and intended that the ground game be central to the course.

However, almost from Augusta’s opening, Roberts sought to make changes to minimize the ground game, and effectively got free rein to do so because MacKenzie died shortly after the course’s opening and Jones went into inactivity due to World War II and then a crippling illness. The authors add, “With the ground game gone, the course was especially vulnerable to changes in technology, and this brought on a slew of changes from at least 15 different ‘architects’.
Source: Wikipedia.


Enjoy the Game!



Gerrie Ferris Finger




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