By Matt Hombach
It is one of the most hallowed spots in all of golf and perhaps all of sports. Amen Corner at Augusta National -- the picturesque and challenging stretch of three holes on the back nine -- is where many golfers have been catapulted into Masters lore, and many more have had their dreams of a green jacket disappear in the still waters of Rae's Creek.
While only the top pro golfers, Augusta National members and their privileged guests actually get to play these holes, most golfers feel an intimate connection with Amen Corner. Memories of watching great Masters moments unfold against this legendary backdrop leave many pining for the chance to tee it up among Augusta's dogwoods, azaleas and perfectly manicured greens and fairways.
At Renditions Golf Course in Davidsonville golfers have the chance to test their game on an exact replica of Amen Corner, along with many other replica holes from major championship courses.
|Renditions Golf Course, Hole No. 7|
"The stretch of holes in our version of Amen Corner is the most popular on the course and they get even more attention during Masters Week," said Bill Fritz, first assistant professional at Renditions.
The course painstakingly recreated the famous stretch of holes, matching the yardage, layout of greens, bunkering, twin stone bridges and even the big white scoreboard behind the 11th green. All that's missing are the pimento cheese sandwiches served at Augusta's concession stands -- until now.
Renditions kicked their Masters Week festivities up a notch this year, adding the famous finger sandwiches to the menu in their grill room. Staff members also donned the familiar white caddy bibs, complete with tournament favorites' names emblazoned on the back in green block lettering. Yellow pin flags were placed on each green to add a finishing touch.
|Renditions Golf Course, Hole No. 8|
“I think the neatest thing is how the slopes and terrain are matched to the real Amen Corner,” said Fritz. “When you tee off on the replica of No. 11, all you can see is the mound in the center of the fairway, just like at Augusta. Then you get to the top of that mound, and it just opens up and all of Amen Corner is there below you.”
Renditions is owned by Landscapes, a national company providing management and construction services to a number of courses throughout the country. The company also does landscaping and grounds work at Augusta National, according to Fritz, which assisted in producing the replica.
While much of the work the company does at the home of the Masters is top secret, Landscapes did have access to the blueprints for the landscaping in and around Amen Corner, and took that into account when creating the replica holes at Renditions.
“We offer golfers something they can’t get anywhere else.” said Fritz. “To watch those holes year after year on TV during the Masters, and then to be able to come out and play detailed replicas that match the look and feel of the real thing, is a special experience that golfers really seem to appreciate.”
Joe Rahmis, head pro -- The Woodlands and Diamond Ridge
KEEP IT SIMPLE FROM THE SAND
Armed with the right fundamentals, golfers of any skill level can successfully find their way out of a greenside bunker and onto the putting surface.
When addressing the ball, play it toward the center of your stance. Initially, place your feet parallel to the target line you have chosen.
Next, move your left foot back about 45 degrees to open your stance. While it is a good idea to anchor your feet in the sand by pivoting them back and forth, be sure you aren’t “building a stance,” which is against USGA rules.
Place more of your weight on your left foot (about 60 percent on your left, 40 on your right). Your backswing should also be shallower than on a normal shot. Take the club back, with the face open, shoulder high and then swing through, letting the momentum and weight of the club do the work. Don't jab at the sand. Don't muscle it. Don't hit the ball. Hit the sand behind the ball.
A good rule of thumb is hit two to three inches behind the ball. If you want to hit a high shot, hit closer to the ball. Hit farther back in the sand and the ball will come out lower, roll more and travel farther.
Beyond the basic fundamentals of bunker play, practice is the other key. Work on bunker shots whenever possible. Many area courses have practice bunkers. Take advantage of them and improve your scores by getting up and down from the sand.
Mark Your Calendar
Upcoming Tournaments in Maryland
DC Golf Tour Two-Person BB
Maryland National Golf Course
Open to men, women and juniors who average around a score of 95. Sign up as a single, a twosome, or a foursome.
2nd Annual Betty T. Wooten Breast Cancer Golf Tournament
Woodmore Golf and Country Club
Supports breast cancer awareness and prevention
University of Maryland Golf Course
Raise money to support esophageal cancer awareness only one month before the course hosts the Nationwide Tour. Scramble format
Maryland Two-Man Team Championship
Argyle Country Club
Maryland Senior Two-Man Team Championship
Woodholme Country Club
Baltimore Two-Man Team Championship
Mount Pleasant Golf Course
Inaugural Seahawks Challenge
Renditions Golf Course
Benefits the South River High School Sports Boosters
Issue 148: April 2010