Amen Corner: Golf's Famous Stretch at Augusta National

By Kellie Noszka

Tiger Woods plays Augusta's 12th hole

In the far reaches of the Augusta National Golf Club is a picturesque stretch of holes divinely named Amen Corner. Don’t be fooled by the splendor; Amen Corner has brought misery to some of the world’s greatest golfers.

How Did Amen Corner Get Its Name?

Author Herbert Warren Wind was so impressed by the trio of holes – more specifically, the shot into the 11th green, the full 12th hole and the tee shot on 13 – that he felt they needed their own moniker. In a 1958 issue of Sports Illustrated, Wind called the stretch Amen Corner, which was brought to mind by the jazz song “Shoutin’ in That Amen Corner.”

Wind told Golf Digest in 1984 that he wanted to come up with an appropriate name where “the critical action took place.” The name stuck and is still used over 60 years later, now referring to the full 11th, 12th and 13th holes.

The Holes of Amen Corner

Amen Corner is commonly considered the hardest stretch at Augusta and follows the most difficult hole on the course, the par-4, 495-yard 10th that plays to a scoring average of 4.31 during the Masters, according to Masters.com. Survive the 10th hole and there is no reprieve; it’s out of the fire and into Amen Corner.

No. 11 – White Dogwood – par-4, 505 yards

How do you follow an extremely long, extremely challenging par-4? At Augusta, you chase it with another beast of a par-4. The 11th hole is the second most difficult hole on the course, with an all-time Masters average score of 4.29. Reaching the green in two is quite the challenge because of the wind, a large pond to the left of the green, water behind the hole and a bunker on the right of the green.

No. 12 – Golden Bell – par-3, 155 yards

The 12th hole is the shortest and arguably the most iconic hole at Augusta. Here you will find Hogan’s Bridge (named after Ben Hogan), possibly the most recognizable non-golf element at the Masters. The picturesque stone-faced bridge crosses Rae’s Creek and is the pathway to the 12th green.

Despite being the shortest hole on the course, No. 12 is particularly difficult because of tricky winds, a narrow green, three bunkers and Rae’s Creek in front. The 12th hole is ranked the fourth most difficult, with a Masters scoring average of 3.28.

No. 13 – Azalea – par-5, 510 yards

The final hole of Amen Corner has historically been the second easiest hole at the Masters with an average score of 4.79. With a strong drive over the trees on the left and the right wind conditions, it is possible to reach the green in two. This is a risk vs. reward hole, though, as the elevated green is protected by a tributary to Rae’s Creek in front and four bunkers in back. Expect to see as many double-bogeys here as eagles.

Hole 13 features the Nelson Bridge, named for golf legend Byron Nelson, which takes golfers from the 13th tee to the 13th fairway.

The hole was originally 480 yards long at the first Masters in 1934 and has bounced back and forth to shorter and longer distances. It was recently lengthened to 510 yards, but advancements in golf equipment have taken the bite out of the once treacherous hole as today’s players can fly the trees instead of playing around them.

Amen Corner Meltdowns

Many golfers have met their demise at Amen Corner, where a good round can quickly balloon with just a few mishits. Perhaps the most significant in recent memory was the collapse of Jordan Spieth in 2016.

Spieth, then the defending champion, was playing well through three and half rounds at Augusta and held a five-stroke lead heading into the final nine. After bogeys on both No. 10 and No. 11, Spieth hit two balls into Rae’s Creek at No. 12. He finished with a quadruple-bogey on the hole and saw his tournament chances implode. A final push on the closing holes wasn’t enough and Spieth finished tied for second behind champion Danny Willett of England.

Two of the three highest scores ever on a hole at the Masters occurred in Amen Corner. Tom Weiskopf hit five balls into the water on No. 12 and finished with a 13 on the hole in 1980. In 1978, Tommy Nakajima made a 13 on the 13th hole.

Tiger Woods was the most recent Amen Corner victim. Woods carded a septuple-bogey 10 on No. 12 in the final round of the 2020 Masters, the highest score he has ever recorded on a hole as a professional.

Image: Patrick Smith/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

About the Author

Kellie Noszka is a freelance writer and former sports reporter for the Cincinnati Post. She was a golf caddie for 10 years and earned an Evans Scholarship to The Ohio State University. Kellie developed a deep appreciation for the game of golf at an early age.