I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly excited.
Because it’s almost time for the Masters!
As far as I’m concerned, the longest wait in golf does not happen on a par-3 on a backed-up course early on a Saturday morning, nor before a short birdie putt, but during the seeming eternity that begins as soon as the last putt drops in the PGA Championship. But now that wait is nearly over — thank goodness.
Of course, there is another wait associated with the Masters: a lifetime, since most of us will never get to tee it up at Masters host Augusta National Golf Club. I know — major bummer.
But there’s good news, especially if you’re planning a trip to Myrtle Beach. While you likely can’t play Augusta, you can tee it up at International World Tour Golf Links, whose 18 holes each replicate a famous hole elsewhere in the world. Four of them are replicas of holes at Augusta National. Here are their rundowns, along with suggestions of famous Masters shots you can re-create on them:
Championship Nine – Hole 4
Replica of: Augusta National, hole 11, a long par-4 with a green that slopes from right to left — with a pond lurking.
You can re-create: Larry Mize’s famous chip-in on the second playoff hole that dashed Greg Norman’s early-career hopes for the green jacket that would always elude him. Mize found himself about 20 yards long and right of the green, needing to pitch over a mound to a green that slopes toward a pond. The ball rolled into the cup and Mize, an Augusta, Georgia, native, leaped in the air, creating an all-time memorable moment.
Championship Nine – Hole 5
Replica of: Augusta National, hole 12, one of the world’s great short par-3s, with a shallow, wide, angled green guarded by bunkers long, and in front by a bunker and the famous Rae’s Creek.
You can re-create: Phil Mickelson’s rally-starting birdie from his maiden Masters (and major championship) triumph in 2004. Most golf fans remember his winning putt from the 18th, but it was a birdie on the 12th that started the drama, as Mickelson came home in five-under-par 31 to edge Ernie Els by a single shot.
Alternatively, you could re-create the up-and-down par that resulted from Fred Couples’ lucky tee shot in 1992, which stopped on the bank above Rae’s Creek instead of rolling into the water. Couples would go on to win his lone green jacket that same day.
Championship Nine – Hole 6
Replica of: Augusta National, hole 13, a dogleg-left, risk-reward par-5 with a tributary of Rae’s Creek winding along the left edge of the fairway before crossing in front of the two-tiered green.
You can re-create: Phil Mickelson’s spellbinding six-iron from the trees left of the fairway in 2010. Instead of laying up, Mickelson defied caddie Jim “Bones” McKay and hit one of the best shots in the tournament’s history — through the trees, over the stream, to just 5 feet from the hole. Even though he missed the eagle putt, Mickelson had gathered enough momentum — as well as adulation from the crowd — to propel himself to a three-shot victory over Englishman Lee Westwood.
Open Nine – Hole 7
Replica of: Augusta National, hole 16, a gorgeous par-3 with a two-tiered green, bordered by a pond on the left.
You can re-create: Jack Nicklaus’ sublime tee shot from his emotional, legendary victory — his 18th major championship triumph — in 1986. With the pin tucked on the lower level of the green near the water, Nicklaus hit a perfect, high shot that danced down the slope to a little over a foot from the hole.
For fans of the Masters, International World Tour Golf Links is a must-visit golf course in Myrtle Beach. Be sure to add it to your itinerary when you book your next trip at MyrtleBeachGolf.com, and you can make your own memories on some of golf’s most famous holes.