I’ve seen old photos of Augusta now for as long as I’ve been watching the Masters, but I’ve never seen a nice tight complete SET of all 18 holes, as it is presented here by the kind genteelmen at Masters.com.
The pictures are amazing, in many ways. The tiny sapling pines, that are now majestic towers that sway in the wind. The oddball shapes of some greens. The fact that entire green complexes have been moved 20 or 30 yards (10 and 16). Or just how wild and unhewn the holes were back then.
(I doubt they wasted any blue dye for the muddy ponds and Rae’s Creek either!)
The big takeaway however, is that any golf course architecture snob who wails and moans when a classic golf course is changed or tweaked, is hopelessly lost in nostalgia and their own sense of “expert-dom.”
There was no designer more revered than the great Scot Alister MacKenzie, and yet his original vision for Augusta is now barely recognizable. So when the Old Course at St. Andrews has a bunker lowered 3 feet, and people start losing their collective shit about it, you just have to laugh.
The Old Course is FIVE HUNDRED YEARS OLD, and once had 22 holes! The back nine fairway routing was reversed a long time ago, leaving every score crushing fairway bunker invisible to the player on the tee. And the snobs get their plus-fours in a knot because of small changes in 2014?
Give me a break. Golf courses evolve. As does agronomy, maintenance equipment, players, and the ball itself.
So too has Augusta. Enjoy the slideshow. Marvel at how lovely the place has become.