During the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur this past Saturday, I took a look at the changes the club has made in preparation for the 88th Masters. The headline: the course looks great. Firm and dialed.

But since this is the Fried Egg Golf website and not Twitter, here are some more detailed takeaways:

1.  The biggest (and only announced) change to the course since last year’s Masters is to the second tee, which has been moved back 10 yards and pressed against the tree line on the left. On Friday—perhaps in an effort to preempt ANWA-attending gumshoes such as myself—the official Masters Twitter account posted a photo of the view from the new tee.

And yep, that’s basically what I saw on Saturday. It’s really far back there. The huge bunker on the right side of the fairway is now more in play; in fact, it’s so centered in the sightline from the tee that it feels unavoidable, much like the bunkers on the left side of the 18th fairway. To get past the bunker and reach the downslope around the trees on the left, players will need to hit a long, sweeping hook—longer and more sweeping than in years past. As with the lengthening of Nos. 15 and 13 in 2022 and 2023, I expect the additional yardage on No. 2 to restore some risk and challenge that the hole has lost because of recent distance gains at the pro level. Still, the new second tee, like the 13th, looks forced and awkward. It continues to be a bummer that championship-hosting courses are paying the price for the governing bodies’ failures of equipment regulation over the past 25 years.

2. Last week, Sean Martin reported a few additional modifications made by Augusta National in the offseason. He noted that the back-middle portion of the second green has been expanded for more pin positions, and that the front-right bunker edges on both holes have been lowered so that players can’t use the upslope as a backstop on putts from behind a front pin. Would I have picked up on these changes if Smartin hadn’t found out about them? Absolutely not.

3. More noticeable was the revision to the sixth green (also originally reported by Sean Martin), where run-offs have been added behind the high back-right platform. This makes one of the most difficult pin positions on the course even harder. In past years, when players missed slightly long here, they usually faced a straightforward putt from the fringe. Now they’ll have a trickier recovery from below the putting surface. My only concern with this change is that it will lead to less attacking of the back-right pin and more hedging toward the middle of the green. This would mean fewer aggressive tee shots, more lag putts, and less excitement on one of Augusta National’s most exciting holes. Ultimately, though, I suspect that the alteration is subtle enough (and the long putt from the middle of the green to the back-right tier scary enough) that most players won’t bail out.

4. I was struck again by how well Augusta National’s routing accommodates the spectator experience. The property has three hubs: the area by the clubhouse, where the first tee, ninth green, 18th green, and 10th tee sit; the central convergence point formed by the second green, third tee, seventh green, eighth tee, 17th green, and 18th tee (with the 15th, 16th, and sixth holes not far away); and obviously Amen Corner. I spent much of my day walking around the second hub, with occasional visits to the first and third, and I never felt like I missed much action or couldn’t locate a player of interest fairly quickly. The fact that it’s so easy to keep track of a tournament on such a hilly site is remarkable. (Of course, getting around the course in the midst of Masters-size galleries is tough—but that’s due to the crowds, not the course.)

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For more coverage of the 2024 Masters, visit our site hub here.