A New Practice Facility Only Fit for The Masters
By Stephanie Wei under General

One of the big changes at Augusta National this year is the addition of a new practice area and players are going all gaga over it. I caught a glimpse of it on Sunday with the Golf Channel’s footage of Tiger Woods making his big entrance on the grounds. But what should we expect?

Geoff Ogilvy reported via his Twitter feed in mid-March:

The new range and practice area is one of the coolest things I have seen.

New practice area is where the parking lots were. Undulating, real looking greens and fully mature trees. Looks like its been there forever.

Last week Ian Poulter tweeted that the practice area is “the best I have ever seen.” He added:

A totally new range 350 yard+ 2 fairways fade & draw, awesome pitching greens, replica 2nd green to hit to, big putting green, perfect 10/10.

Hunter Mahan’s caddie, John Wood (be sure to check out his Tiger anecdote) told me a nice touch was that the greens and pins on the range that actually look like the ones on the golf course. He also echoed some of what Ogilvy said about the facility seeming like it’d been there for 100 years already. More from his field report:

One thing that I thought was really cool was that the closest green on the range (about 75 yards out) is shaped and built exactly like the second green on the course.  Built meaning it’s an actual USGA spec green.  It should react to approach shots exactly like the greens on the course.
Most of the time when greens are “mown” on a driving range it’s just the same grass as the rest of the range, just cut shorter.

This green will give you an early idea of what the greens will be like on the course before you go play.  Those little touches like that are things no one but Augusta does.

There is also a new putting green, and two wonderfully shaped practice areas for chipping and wedge shots to the left of the range.

But John added that he will miss the setting of the old range, “It was just so small and comfortable and unique, surrounded by Magnolia Lane and the ‘Patrons’ right behind you.”

Well, I’m sure we’ll be seeing and hearing much more about the new facilities this week. I haven’t seen pictures aside from the ones with Tiger in them. If you’re out there during the practice rounds, I’m very jealous, but please take some photos and send them to me.