I’ve always been interested in the design of par threes, especially those that seem simple to the eye but are tricky when you play them. The twelfth at Augusta National is that kind of hole. I’ve only played the course a few times, the first being at the 2005 Masters, but number twelve quickly became a favorite of mine.
I always seem to take a three on that hole, but the shot is so short that whenever I step onto the tee I feel like I have a chance to make a birdie. You only have an eight- or nine-iron in your hand, and it seems like a straightforward task, but with the wind swirling it’s an intimidating golf shot. It’s important to use your imagination and react to your instincts.
Twelve is the only hole at the Masters where the crowd can’t advance beyond the tee. So when you cross over Hogan Bridge and onto the green, suddenly it’s quiet, and you get a bit of an eerie feeling. You almost feel like you’re out of the tournament, because you can hear the breeze passing through the trees.
I like that this hole is different from every other at Augusta. I’m really fond of natural landscapes, and here you’ve got a lovely backdrop of trees. The shaved banks of Rae’s Creek make the hole look really appealing from the tee, and the shadows that the surrounding trees throw on the green are just amazing. It’s all very inviting. There’s a good reason twelve is one of the most famous holes in golf. It goes to show that you don’t have to make a hole long for it to be challenging and architecturally great.