All courses should have at least one – all players look forward to playing them – the biggest difference is what is now defined as reachable. I’ve broken my personal rule with my first selection and picked a hole that I have not played, but like you, I’ve seen around 100 times in detail. My opener to the series is the 13th at Augusta National. So what makes this hole arguably the best short five in golf?
The tee shot has to be shaped from right to left to get around the corner for a chance to go for the green. The golfers who hit the ball straight always find themselves in the trees on the far side of the dogleg. So players must turn the ball over to find the heavily canted landing area and open up the next choice. Only a player able to control a strong draw can flirt with the creek, hard against the inside of the dogleg, to leave a flat lie and the perfect angle into the green.
A player who finds the fairway now faces one of the tougher shots in all of golf. The shot calls for a left to right approach since the creek crosses diagonally in front of the green and down the entire right side. The safe play is to the front left since there is recovery from this area, chasing any other pin becomes a gamble that you won’t find the creek. This is an important time to mention that the creek, and the potential recovery from the creek, which encourages more players to try the shot than should. The last item is the stance in the fairway. The approach is hit from a right to left lie for a majority of the play to the green, so players are trying to cut a ball from a hook lie. Even the lay-up area has the same cant which creates the risk of hitting you approach fat into the creek.
Finally, perfection continues right to the green itself. The swale and bunkers long means a downhill shot with the creek looming in the background – finding yourself in this position becomes a play for par. The green itself is severely sloped so that only putts are made on the two flatter areas of the green – both are tight to the creek and the shaved bank that leads into it. The old green was even more dynamic with better and bolder contours that were removed for faster green speeds strictly for the Masters.
The hole is very short, offers many Birdies and Eagles during the Masters, but inevitably a bogie or double bogie for one of the main contenders coming in. A perfect short par five.
A discussion of the 6th at Western Gailes: http://thecaddyshack.blogspot.com/2007/01/hole-series-reachable-par-five-6-at.html