Isn't it great the club is hosting so many golf writers? After all, what else would I have to rant about? (Though I don't know if it even hit 66 degrees today...there is that).
Ron Green Jr. pens a slightly less press-release like column that Hootie will love.
For the third time in six years, Augusta National has undergone a dramatic renovation, continuing the perpetual pursuit of maintaining the rhythm and demands created by designers Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie.
What's with the rhythm references? When did Augusta National become Soul Train?
In 1932, Jones said this about Augusta National: "The perfect design should place a premium upon sound judgment as well as accurate striking, by rewarding the correct placing of each shot. Mere length is its own reward, but length without control ought to be punished."
Jones understood the game, its players and their equipment would evolve through the years, even if he didn't envision club heads the size of grapefruits and tee shots that routinely fly more than 300 yards.
Right. After all, how could he have envisioned that so many grown men would be so scared of upsetting someone's shopping rights, that they would jack around with his dream course just so that they wouldn't have to change a few rules to ensure that skill would reign supreme over hi-tech club fitting.
The changes have assured that the tough holes will remain difficult and erased any lingering perception that driving accuracy isn't critical at Augusta National. Long hitters still have a great advantage at Augusta National, but only if they can control their length.
Because Lord knows, that lingering perception served the tournament so poorly through the years, serving up all those lousy finishes and undeserving winners.
In all seriousness, let's go back to the Jones quote cited by Green. It's got to be part of the club talking points.
"The perfect design should place a premium upon sound judgment as well as accurate striking, by rewarding the correct placing of each shot. Mere length is its own reward, but length without control ought to be punished."
Look, I went to Pepperdine where thought is frowned upon and yet I can figure this out, so America's golf writers should be able to understand it too.
Rewarding the correct placing of each shot. This starts with fairway width in the Jones/MacKenzie strategic approach to course design. In trying to emulate the principles of the Old Course, they hoped players who adapted to the day's conditions and hole location would be significantly rewarded for thinking about and correctly placing their tee shot. The optimum angle would be the reward awaiting this wonderful combination and brains and accurately.
Bad placement, meant you couldn't attack a hole location or you had a more difficult approach shot.
But for this democratic principle to work, it had to start with width that set up options. Length with control would be rewarded. Length without control would be punished, assuming the ground was at all firm.
As outlined in this and other articles, the pinching of landing areas at 300-340 yards or the plugging of forest gaps appears designed to control the length of today's players. In other words, to force them to lay back. Big difference between that rather authoritarian mindset, versus the Jones-MacKenzie democratic/free market approach of allowing for length off the tee. (MacKenzie even advocated that holes widen out for longer tee shots.)
Narrowness designed to discourage the long drive eliminates the need for "sound judgment" and "correct placement" based on the day's hole location or conditions. It means there is only one way to play round after round.
Meaning that Augusta National is in grave danger of becoming precisely what Jones despised about golf in America:
Employing a comparison with our own best courses in America I have found that most of our courses, especially those inland, may be played correctly the same way round after round. The holes really are laid out scientifically; visibility is stressed; you can see what you have to do virtually all the time; and when once you learn how to do it, you can go right ahead, the next day, and the next day, and the day after that.