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Robert T. Jones Jr.
April 06, 1959
The greatest golfer of them all writes a special hole-by-hole description of the course and gives his own strategy for mastering it
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April 06, 1959

The Master On The Masters

The greatest golfer of them all writes a special hole-by-hole description of the course and gives his own strategy for mastering it

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Robert T. Jones Jr. is a name that awakes the most vivid memories in the anthology of sport. His four victories in the U.S. Open, dating from the time he was but 21 years old, his three in the British Open and his five in the U.S. Amateur were an achievement that no amateur of future generations could have any reasonable hope of matching. The year of 1930 will remain fresh throughout most golfers' lifetimes because it was then that Jones won these three tournaments plus the British Amateur—for his unforgettable Grand Slam of golf.

Bob Jones is a particularly appealing figure in American life and sport because all that has happened since his retirement from regular competition in 1930 has maintained—even increased—his stature. He is presently a distinguished lawyer in his native city of Atlanta. He has also translated his warm affection for golf into a paternalism that has elevated the entire game.

The Augusta National golf course and the annual Masters Tournament, which is being held there for the 23rd time this week, were Bob Jones's own dream. It was he who originally laid out the course in collaboration with Alister Mackenzie, the distinguished golf-course architect. Even with such modern golfing celebrities as Ben Hogan and Sam Snead playing along the fairways, Bob Jones riding along the same lovely terrain in his cart (a back ailment makes it difficult for him to walk) is the most thrilling sight at the Masters. So it is with extraordinary pleasure that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED brings you Bob Jones's own description and appreciation of one of this country's truly championship courses, a course that he dearly loves.

For those who can only watch the playing of the Masters on television during the final two days, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, April 4 and 5, when it will be broadcast coast to coast by CBS, Mr. Jones has expanded his descriptions of the last four holes, they being the only ones on which the TV cameras will be focused. Illustrations of the holes were made by George W. Cobb, the eminent golf-course architect of Greenville, S.C.


Our over-all aim at the Augusta National has been to provide a golf course of considerable natural beauty, enjoyable for the average golfer and at the same time testing for the expert player striving to better par. We want to make the bogies easy if frankly sought, pars readily obtainable by standard good play, and birdies, except on the par 5s, dearly bought. Obviously, with a course as wide open as needed to accommodate the average golfer, we can only tighten it up by increasing the difficulty of play around the hole. This we attempt to do during the tournament by placing the flags in more difficult and exacting positions and by increasing the speed of the greens. Additionally, we try to maintain our greens at such firmness that they will not hold a misplayed shot. Generally speaking, the greens at Augusta are quite large, rolling, and with carefully contrived undulations, the effect of which is magnified as the speed of the surfaces is increased.


We are quite willing to have low scores made during the tournament. It is not our intention to rig the golf course so as to make it tricky. It is our feeling that there is something wrong with a golf course which will not yield a score in the 60s to a player who has played well enough to deserve it.

On the other hand, we do not believe that birdies should be made too easily. We think that to play two good shots to a par-4 hole and then to hole a 10-foot putt on a dead-level green is not enough. If the player is to beat par, we should like to ask him to hit a truly fine second shot right up against the flag or to hole a putt of more than a little difficulty. We therefore place the holes on tournament days in such locations on the greens as to require a really fine shot in order to get close. With the greens fast and undulating, the putts from medium distances are difficult, and the player who leaves his ball on the outer reaches has a real problem to get down in par figures.

The contours of the greens at Augusta have been very carefully designed. We have tried to provide each green with at least four areas which we describe as pin locations. This does not mean that the pin is always placed in one very definite spot within these areas, but each area provides an opportunity for cutting the hole where the contours are very gentle for a radius of four or five feet all around.

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