Green-reading expert reveals the fascinating way Augusta National tricks players’ eyes

GOLF DIGEST - Masters 2024

by Luke Kerr-Dineen

Ralph Bauer discusses the unique challenges posed by the slopes at Augusta National Golf Club.

In summary, Augusta National’s slopes challenge players’ perception, and the lack of traditional reference points adds to the difficulty of reading greens accurately

Ralph Bauer knows all about that. Bauer is a putting coach from Canada who works with a slate of PGA Tour players, and developed the increasingly popular Tour Read™ Golf app, which just launched a new putting course within it. [Ralph Bauer’s Putting Fundamentals course is now included in the app.]

Read the full article here: 

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/green-reading-expert-augusta-national-green-slopes-explained

Topographical view of the 3rd Green at Augusta National

Here are the key points from the article:

  1. Slopes at Augusta National: The slopes on this iconic golf course are more severe than they appear on television. Players, coaches, and caddies face the challenge of deciphering these slopes accurately while navigating the course.

  2. The Power of Inference: Our brains use inference to judge slope severity based on surrounding cues. For example, houses are cut into slopes, appearing level, and provide a reference point for determining what is truly level.

  3. Augusta’s Lack of Reference Points: Unlike other courses, Augusta National lacks horizon lines, houses, hospitality tents, and grandstands. Even the bridges are curved. This absence of reference points creates optical illusions, making it harder to assess slopes.

  4. Tree-Covered Terrain: Augusta has many trees, but they blend into a backdrop of other trees at varying angles and heights. This complexity further confounds players trying to judge slopes.

  5. Illusions and Misjudgments: Sometimes a sloping green may appear less severe due to the more extreme hills around it. Conversely, two slopes surrounding a flat green can make it seem like it slopes in a different direction.

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