Many aspects of the Masters make the tournament great but Amen Corner must be the most famous part of Augusta National. Amen Corner is on the southeast corner of the golf course and consists of holes 11,12, and 13. The Masters loves to advertise these three holes for a good reason – they are masterpieces in the golf world.
You get a little bit of everything on this famous stretch. A par-3, par-4, and a par-5. Water around all three of the greens. Incredible backdrops. Add it all together and you get a great scene for drama at the best golf tournament of the year.
Everything starts on Hole 11 which is consistently one of the hardest holes on the course in terms of scoring. It was the toughest last year at the Masters, surrendering the fewest number of birdies (13) out of any hole.
After a tight tee shot, White Dogwood dog legs to the right and concludes on a thin green sidelined by Rae’s Creek. This hole is very tough to land your approach shot within striking distance so settling for a par isn’t a bad thing.
After the treacherous 11th, the scene then shifts to one of the best-looking par-3s in golf. The 12th at Augusta National is nicknamed Golden Bell and is one that needs to be photographed, framed and placed on your office wall.
This is just a short par-3 that only requires a wedge or a high-iron for the professionals. The test on this hole is the green’s location, which is in between water and sand. The water in front of the hole causes golfers fits, and recently ruined Jordan Spieth’s chances at his second green jacket back in 2016.
The final hole on Amen Corner is the 13th hole nicknamed Azalea. The par-5 offers players a chance at redemption after going through 11 and 12. This hole is historically the easiest hole on the course in terms of scoring and was the easiest scoring hole at last year’s Masters.
As a dramatic dogleg to the left, Azalea’s green can usually be reached in two shots if the players hit a decent shot off the tee. This hole surrendered 128 birdies last year, with 249 out of 280 opportunities producing a par or better.
Recent Impact of Amen Corner
Amen Corner proves to be crucial when determining the winner of the green jacket. Out of the last ten Masters champions, nine have been under par on Amen Corner. Sergio Garcia is the only golfer since 2009 to win while shooting over par on the stretch (+1).
Sergio is also the only champion in the last ten years to shoot over par (+1) on Amen Corner in the final round. All other nine champions since 2009 have been even or under par on the three holes on Sunday.
This proves that it is all about being cool, calm, and collected on this three-hole sequence during the final round.
Spieth’s Epic Collapse at Amen Corner
Back in 2016, defending champion Jordan Spieth headed into Amen corner with a four-shot lead. After a bogey on the 11th, Spieth found the water twice on the short 12th en route to a triple bogey.
He did rebound with a birdie on 13 but it was too little too late for Jordan. Spieth ended up shooting four-over-par on Amen Corner in the final round. Danny Willett took full advantage of the stretch going par-par-eagle to steal the lead. Willett would go on to win the tournament.
Jordan Spieth was involved in another incident at Amen Corner in 2014 although not as dramatic as his 2016 collapse. Bubba Watson led Spieth by one stroke heading into the 12th hole, which Spieth ended up bogeying next to Watson’s par.
Bubba then birdied the 13th to create a two-shot swing and a three-shot lead. He was able to hold the lead until the conclusion of the tournament, grabbing his second green jacket in four years.
Rory McIlroy at Amen
After seeing his four-shot lead evaporate on the front nine on Sunday at the 2011 Masters, Rory McIlroy finally saw the wheels come off at Amen. Still up a stroke heading into the back nine, Rory bogeyed 11 and double-bogeyed 12 to end his chances at a green jacket.
The eventual winner in 2011, Charl Schwartzel, played Amen corner the way a champion plays it. He went par-par-par on his way to his first ever green jacket.
Related: Charl Schwartzel wins the Masters
Tiger Woods, Angel Cabrera, and Luke Donald also let Amen Corner get the best of them that day. All three players shot over par on holes 11-13 after being within a shot of the lead heading into them.
Amen Corner Strategy
As you can see from past Masters, going for it all on Amen Corner isn’t always the way to go. Sometimes it may be necessary but if you risk it all you might ruin your chance for glory.
After Amen Corner, there are only five holes left on the course to make up ground. Hole 15 might be the best opportunity to birdie, or even eagle, after 13. 15 is the only hole that historically plays under par.
The other four include three decently long par-4s and a dangerous par-3 pin placed next to water. So, make sure to take Amen Corner seriously when coming down the stretch.
Check out The Masters Hole-by-Hole Guide for a full preview of all 18 holes!
Safe or Sorry
The best way I see to take down Amen Corner as a contender is to play 11 and 12 safer, and go for it on 13. Hitting a safe approach shot on 11 should give you a great look at par on the most challenging hole at Augusta. You might even have a shot at birdie.
The twelfth green is very thin and sloped downwards towards Rae’s creek at the front edge. Might be smart to hit a half-club up here to avoid the water at all costs. Going deep into the sand behind the green will not be a par-breaker for the professionals. I suggest playing this one safe as well and trying for par.
The thirteenth is the easiest hole at Augusta year in and year out as it is only a 510-yard par-5. Most players can label two solid shots and reach the green with ease. But if it is Sunday and you have a lead, it might be worth laying up, then going up and down for birdie.
With hole fifteen still on the docket for players, aiming for even par or better on Amen is recommended. Playing Amen Corner one under par or even par should give the leader a great opportunity to win. You’d rather shoot even par by playing it safe than risk a little and blow your chances at a green jacket.
What will we see this year during the Masters? A golfer go for glory and claim the green jacket or another collapse that will leave fans speechless? Who will host the Masters Champions dinner next year? All we know for sure is that Amen Corner will play a pivotal role in deciding who the 2019 Masters champion is.