It's probably the most recognisable course in the world , the back nine particularly so at Augusta National. However, some of the toughest holes on the course are on the front nine, with the opening hole proving to be the toughest all week during last year's tournament. Orginally the course was laid out the opposite way but the nines were switched in 1935 to provide a more exciting finish with Rae's Creek coming into play on what is now the back nine. It's safe to say that decision paid off.
1st: Tea Olive – Par 4, 445 yards
2017 rank (hardest to easiest): 1st (4.462) with 0 eagles, 18 birdies, 152 pars, 99 bogeys, 23 double bogeys or worse.
Statistically this has been Rory McIlroy’s worst hole at Augusta throughout his career. Right fairway bunker limits space with the drive while the approach plays straight uphill.
2nd: Pink Dogwood – Par 5, 575 yards
2017 rank: 17th (4.671) with 7 eagles, 117 birdies, 134 pars, 33 bogeys, 1 double bogey or worse.
Plays steeply downhill and doglegs to the left. While the drive requires a draw, the second requires a slight fade into the angled green. Louis Oosthuizen famously made albatross here in 2012.
3rd: Flowering Peach – Par 4, 350 yards
2017 rank: 8th (4.188) with 0 eagles, 40 birdies, 164 pars, 81 bogeys, seven double bogeys or worse.
A lot of players will try to get their tee shots as close as possible to this green but that leaves a tricky pitch up a huge false front. It’s one of those approach shots where you’re sometimes better off being further back with a less delicate shot.
4th: Flowering Crabapple – Par 3, 240 yards
2017 rank: 6th (3.302) with 0 eagles, 22 birdies, 191 pars, 77 bogeys, 2 double bogeys or worse.
Any player in the field will take four pars here for the week. A raised green with steep slopes on either side make it a tiny target for such a long Par 3. Landing in either of the two bunkers can sometimes be a saving grace.
5th: Magnolia – Par 4, 455 yards
2017 rank: 5th (4.212) with 1 eagle, 21 birdies, 188 pars, 79 bogeys, 3 double bogeys or worse.
Another dogleg left requires a big carry to get over the bunker located right at the turn. Players unable to make that carry of 300 yards or so will be faced with a long iron into a green sloping from front to back.
6th: Juniper – Par 3, 180 yards
2017 rank: 11th (3.154) with 0 eagle, 31 birdies, 188 pars, 70 bogeys and 3 double bogeys or worse.
The second of the Par 3s plays sharply downhill – so much so that the spectators sit on the slope with players hitting over their heads. This green slopes sharply to the right to up on the left side can be dead.
7th: Pampas – Par 4, 450 yards
2017 rank: 10th (4.158) with 2 eagles, 30 birdies, 186 pars, 68 bogeys, 6 double bogeys or worse.
The approach is the hard part here with five bunkers surrounding a green to which the approach plays steeply uphill, meaning it’s one of the hardest surfaces to find.
8th: Yellow Jasmine – Par 5, 570 yards
2017 rank: 16th (4.753) with 1 eagle, 90 birdies, 181 pars, 20 bogeys, 0 double bogeys or worse.
A dogleg right with the second shot playing straight uphill to a narrow green. A blind second shot is generally a whack up the right hand side, leaving a good chance to get up and down for birdie.
9th: Carolina Cherry – Par 4, 460 yards
2017 rank: 14th (4.017) with 0 eagles, 48 birdies, 195 pars, 45 bogeys, 4 double bogeys or worse.
Another hole that plays uphill to the green but, with the fairway sloping down, it makes the approach particularly difficult. Hitting off a downhill lie to a green way above which slopes severely back to front requires enough club or the ball will not hold the putting surface.
10th: Camelia – Par 4, 495 yards
2017 rank: 8th (4.188) with 0 eagles, 30 birdies, 184 pars, 71 bogeys, 7 double bogeys or worse.
The starting scene of Rory McIlroy’s meltdown in 2011 doesn’t yield many birdies throughout the week with the approach yet again playing uphill while the dappled shadows on the green can cause putting problems.
11th: White Dogwood – Par 4, 505 yards
2017 rank: 2nd (4.313) with 0 eagles, 14 birdies, 170 pars, 96 bogeys, 12 double bogeys or worse.
Always one of the toughest holes, a virtually dead straight tee shot is required off the tee to leave the correct angle into the green with the approach sloping steeply downhill and everything kicking left towards the water. Expect to see lots of bail outs to the right.
12th: Golden Bell – Par 3, 155 yards
2017 rank: 4th (3.233) with 0 eagles, 24 birdies, 196 pars, 57 bogeys, 15 double bogeys or worse.
From Fred Couples to Jordan Spieth and beyond this is one of the most famous Par 3s in the world. Long is not good, short is worse with the water. A slight fade over the front bunker to the heart of the green, two putts and get out. Sounds easy.
13th: Azalea – Par 5, 510 yards
2017 rank: 18th (4.63) with 6 eagles, 128 birdies, 131 pars, 22 bogeys, 5 double bogeys.
Perhaps the best hole on the course, a high draw is required around the corner with the tributary of Rae’s Creek along the left and trees up the right. A hanging lie is almost guaranteed for the second shot which must also carry the water.
14th: Chinese Fir – Par 4, 440 yards
2017 rank: 12th (4.134) with 0 eagles, 40 birdies, 181 pars, 63 bogeys, 8 double bogeys or worse.
This hole has reaped some valuable birdies over the years with Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia both picking up Sunday threes over the last two years. With no bunker the whole way up the hill it's the sloping green that acts as the main defence.
15th: Fire Thorn – Par 5, 530 yards
2017 rank: 15th (4.935) with 5 eagles, 85 birdies, 149 pars, 39 bogeys, 14 double bogeys or worse.
Another late birdie or even eagle chance is also as likely to cause catastrophe. The drive must avoid two trees on the right to open up a shot at the green in two where water lurks short and right. Garcia eagled this on the way to victory last year.
16th: Redbud – Par 3, 170 yards
2017 rank: 12th (3.11) with 1 eagle, 43 birdies, 175 pars, 69 bogeys, 4 double bogeys or worse.
Shane Lowry made a hole-in-one here in 2016, this hole can make-or-break a Sunday charge. Find the right part of the green with the tee shot and it'll funnel down holeside. Leave your ball above the hole and a two-putt is far from assured.
17th: Nandina – Par 4, 440 yards
2017 rank: 7th (4.192) with 0 eagles, 25 birdies, 192 pars, 60 bogeys, 6 double bogeys or worse.
One of the easier tee shots on the course leaves a short or medium iron to the green. However, it's the putting surface that again causes problems. Justin Rose three-putted here last year on Sunday to open the door for Garcia.
18th: Holly – Par 4, 465 yards
2017 rank: 6th (4.274) with 0 eagles, 37 birdies, 156 pars, 83 bogeys, 16 double bogeys or worse.
Where it all comes to a close. The narrow chute out of which you drive is quite deceptive as the fairway is pretty wide, providing you avoid the trees on the right and the famous Sandy Lyle bunker left. An uphill approach to the green can get a favourable kick off a front right hump. Long or left is dead.