There will be more room at Amen Corner after Augusta National completed a purchase of land behind the 12th green, which will allow the club to perhaps lengthen the 13th hole.
The Augusta Chronicle first reported the purchase, noting a letter neighboring Augusta Country Club sent to its members about the sale. The Donald Ross-designed course that dates to 1899 will see its ninth hole moved and paid for by Augusta National because of the sale.
Amen Corner is the convergence of the 11th green, 12th hole and 13th tee. It is the farthest point from the Augusta National clubhouse but within view of those who play the Augusta Country Club course.
The two sides have been in negotiations over the land for several years, with Golfweek last year reporting a sales figure of $27 million that the two Augusta, Georgia, clubs were haggling over.
In an Aug. 4 letter to members, Augusta Country Club president Jay B. Forrester said the sale had been completed after "many months of collaborative and cooperative dialogue.'' He also noted that "this transaction will improve our golf course and put Augusta Country Club in even greater financial position for many years.''
No sales price was announced and the sale has yet to be recorded in public records. Augusta National has not commented on the purchase.
But the home of the Masters will have more room and privacy while allowing for the possibility of lengthening the 13th hole from its present 510 yards. Although still one of the game's great risk-reward par-5 holes, it typically plays as the easiest during the tournament; players, because of technology, are often hitting mid- to short irons in the green from a severely sloping fairway. The land purchase would allow Augusta to move the tee back considerably if it chose to, giving an option for a 550-yard hole and a much more difficult tee shot.
Prior to the 2016 Masters, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne was asked about the rumored purchase, and he acknowledged that the club had been looking at making changes to the hole.
"We create plans looking into the future, when we believe that the shot value of certain shots, principally, has been impacted by how far the ball is now traveling,'' Payne said. "As a consequence, 13 is one of those holes we are studying. We have made no decision whatsoever. Plans are underway to be considered, and I said, that is one of the many holes that we now have under consideration.''
Augusta National has already undergone significant change. Some 17 years ago, the course measured just under 7,000 yards. It was lengthened to over 7,250 in the early 2000s and now is more than 7,500. Holes such as the first, seventh, 11th, 15th and 18th have all had significant increases. The 13th has been lengthened three times, the most recent in 2000 when 25 yards were added.