Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley addresses changes to holes 11 and 15

April 7th, 11:41 AM EDT

(AUGUSTA, Ga) - Augusta National Golf Club is nothing if not an example of time-honored tradition, and experience, experts say, is the key to success at Augusta National Golf Club. Being familiar with the course may be as advantageous as any other single single factor when competing to win a Masters Tournament. For this reason, Augusta National Golf Club assesses and makes changes periodically, and things will look a little different when golfers begin play at Augusta National Golf Course on Thursday.

Chairman Fred Ridley said that several of the fairways were widened ahead of the 2022 tournament. He adds that the change makes for a little less of the second cut, making off-line shots still run a bit farther. He says those shots could still end up in a trouble spot for players.  But the real project this year was on hole numbers 11 and 15.

"And those two holes really, they had to go together because in lengthening the 15th tee, the only way we could do that was to change the grade on 11; otherwise, we would have had to build a retaining wall to move the tee back on 15, and we really didn't want to do that. So we lowered the 15th tee three or four feet, brought the members tee on 11 up four or five feet, which made that slope a lot more gentle," Ridley said.

He says they also removed some trees from the fairway, but put new trees farther down range that may not block a shot, but should create some challenges for golfers.

The Masters Tournament is the only major tournament played on the same course every year. Making enhancements to the course, says Ridley, "will improve the strategy of these holes, as well as the excitement of the competition and the viewing experience of our Patrons."

Ridley also remarked that the changes help to "uphold the integrity of the design philosophies of [Augusta National Golf Club's founding designers] Bobby Jones and Dr. Alister MacKenzie." So while the golfers with experience playing Augusta will notice some changes to a couple of the more challenging holes this year, it's all in the name of tradition.

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