Most avid golf fans feel like they know the contours of Augusta National’s infamous greens. Although most of us have never played the course (save for a lucky few), watching the pros tackle it each spring gives us some familiarity with the slopes of the putting surfaces. But until you experience them for yourself, the diabolical nature of the greens can never be fully understood.
That was certainly the case for forming MLB star Mark Grace. As he explained on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, his first time at Augusta National was marked by a rude awakening to just how tough the greens really are.
As Grace tells it, he hit the green in regulation at the par-4 1st hole and faced about 30 feet for his birdie try. He read the putt to be about a cup outside the left, but his caddy saw things a little differently.
“[My caddie] says, ‘Mr. Grace, if you putt that ball a cup out, you’re going off the green,” Grace said. “I’m like, ‘Well Johnny, are you sure about that?’ He looks at me with this stern look and he says, ‘Mr. Grace, I’ve been here an awful long time.’”
As it turned out, Grace’s caddy that day had looped for 1967 Master champ Gabe Brewer the year he slipped on the green jacket. Simply put, the man knew his stuff.
“He goes, ‘Mr. Grace, you have to putt this ball up here.’” he said. “I have to turn my back to the hole. And the very first hole I’m playing at Augusta National and I’ve heard about these greens, but now I’m going to have to experience them.”
Grace ended up heeding his caddy’s advice, and sure enough, the ball trundled right down to within tap-in distance of the hole.
“I said, ‘Johnny, I’m never going to argue with you again,’ Grace said.
To hammer home the point, Grace’s caddy dropped another ball and told him to putt with the initial read a cup outside the hole. Grace put a good stroke on the ball, rolled it toward the cup … and then watched as the ball rolled off the green 40 yards down the fairway.
“And then he made me go get that ball!” Grace laughed. “If I’d have known that, I never would have dropped another ball and putted it a cup out.”
Check out the entire episode below.