Masters tournament

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Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament take pride in being the only one of golf's four majors that is held at the same venue year after year.

But that doesn't mean the course and tournament remain static. Subtle changes are made each year to the layout designed by Alister Mackenzie and Bobby Jones, and that is the case for the 2009 Masters.

Augusta National and Masters Chairman Billy Payne announced that the tee box on No. 1 would be reduced by 7 yards to "improve patron circulation between the tee and practice putting green" and that the official yardage on the par-4 hole would be 10 yards shorter.

Two other tees, Nos. 7 and 15, also were altered and could mean the holes will play shorter during the tournament. The total yardage of the course is now 7,435 yards for tournament play.

The club also said greens on Nos. 1, 5 and 6 were rebuilt for agronomic reasons and heating and cooling systems were installed.

Off the course, 4,500 more parking spaces located west of Berckmans Road will be available for the 2009 tournament. That's in addition to the 2,500 spaces used last year.

Mr. Payne said "significant progress" has been made on the practice facility that is scheduled to be ready for the 2010 Masters. Patrons will have to enter the course through Berckmans Road; no access will be granted along Washington Road.

Changes to the course and the tournament have been commonplace since Jones and Clifford Roberts co-founded the club in the early 1930s.

Jones, considered the greatest amateur golfer of all time, was fresh off his Grand Slam feat of 1930 when he discovered a 365-acre tract of land in Augusta. When he was shown the property known as Fruitland Nurseries, he knew he had found the right place.

"Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course on it," he said after viewing the property from where the practice putting green is located.

Patrons who attend the tournament can thank Jones and Roberts for their vision in making the Masters what it is today.

Under their guidance, Augusta National quickly became an important player in the golf world.

Tournament administration, architecture and TV coverage are just a few of the standards set by the Masters.

For those who don't have access to the tournament itself, there is an annual chance to get practice-round tickets. To receive an application for 2010 practice-round tickets, send your name, address, daytime phone and Social Security number to: Masters Tournament, Practice Rounds, P.O. Box 2047, Augusta, GA 30903.


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