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More changes underway at Augusta

Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson had the bulldozers out last month.

At about the same time Johnson abandoned the finesse approach and mowed down Martha Burk, the chairperson of a women's group trying to force admission of a female member, he ordered the lengthening of Augusta National's 435-yard fifth hole.

The lengthening of the membership is on hold.

The lengthening of the course continues.

Although Johnson has not officially commented on the latest reshaping of Augusta National, aerial photos and spies don't lie. The fifth hole is the 13th to be adjusted for the Masters, with guidance from noted architect Tom Fazio, since Johnson became chairman four years ago.

As Johnson hinted last April, the No. 5 tee has been pushed back about 15 yards toward the fourth green. More important, the bunker complex on the left has been moved about 90 yards forward and the fairway shifted to the right, creating a more pronounced dogleg left.

The carry over the fairway bunkers used to be only about 230 yards. Now it will be about 315. If a player lays back, he will be hitting a much longer club into the severely sloped green.

Unofficially, the course now will measure 7,285 yards.

Even before the changes, the fifth hole was the fourth most difficult all-time with a stroke average of 4.25.

The locker room and parts of the clubhouse also are being renovated.


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