One of the most iconic holes at Augusta National will look slightly different for the 2023 Masters. The par-5 13th, commonly known as Azalea, will play 545 yards at this year’s tournament. That’s an increase of 35 yards up from its prior length of 510 yards.
A famous risk-reward hole that has played a role in green jackets being won and lost, the consistent distance gains made by players throughout the years have reduced the risk portion of Azalea.
Extending the 13th has been a move rumored for years, of course. Talk of it heated up after Augusta National purchased land from the adjacent Augusta Country Club that allowed it to push its the 13th tee box back.
With Rae’s Creek running in front of the putting surface, historically, those golfers who were bold enough to take on the second shot from uneven lie in the fairway were often rewarded with an eagle opportunity late in their round. However, in recent years, competitors have been able to cut the corner off the tee and leave themselves with middle to short irons into the green for their second shots. This led to No. 13 consistently playing as one of the easiest holes on the golf course, holding a scoring average of 4.83 in 2022.
With this added yardage, long irons and fairway woods will likely be needed, thus the risk quotient will be increased at No. 13.
Augusta National made a similar change to the par-5 15th ahead of the 2022 Masters, and as a result, zero eagles were made on that hole for the first time since 1966.
In April, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley was asked whether one of the most famous holes in golf would ever change.
“That’s something that certainly we have considered and will continue to consider,” Ridley said. “Admittedly, and I’ve said this before, the 13th hole does not have the same challenges that it has historically. I can just remember as a young guy watching the Masters, you know, some of the triumphs and tragedies. And while we still have those, the fact that players are hitting middle to short irons into that hole is not really how it was designed.
“My reluctance to date has been that it’s such an iconic hole. … So that probably, you know, has been sort of a counter to doing anything. At some point in time, it’s something that we likely will do. We just don’t have anything to say about it right now. “
With added yardage on No. 13, this upcoming Masters will set the record for the longest ever in tournament history with a second-nine yardage of 3,780 and an 18-hole yardage of 7,545.
The modification 13th is not the only change being made on the property before this year’s tournament. Holes Nos. 1-5 on the par-3 course were also redesigned.