Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fishing at Augusta National: A tradition unlike any other

Rae's Creek in front of No. 12 is full of bream.
What are the best holes at Augusta National, site of this week’s Masters? A former caddie would tell you Nos. 12 and 16. The reason? Bream and bass.

Fishing holes. We’re talking fishing holes. Yes, fishing. On the famed, hallowed grounds of Augusta National. Prim and proper Augusta National.

Where such an activity would probably be considered sacrilege.

Where as a member, if you dared pull out a fishing rod instead of a pitching wedge, you’d probably see your membership revoked.

And where the fishing is said to be quite good.

How do we know this? From the caddies.

The first time Tripp Bowden stepped foot on the hallowed grounds was to go fishing. The club’s caddie master, the legendary Freddie Bennett, took him as a 10-year-old.

Bowden, in his memoir “Freddie & Me” about his time as an Augusta caddie, wrote that Augusta National was a “fishing haven.”

President Dwight Eisenhower used to fish for bream and bass in the pond around the eighth and ninth holes of the par-3 course, according to Monte Burke of

In fact, it was Eisenhower who suggested to then Augusta National chairman Clifford Roberts that a dam be built to create the pond. says Roberts liked the idea, built the dam and created a fishing hole.

The pond at No. 16 is full of bass.
But Bowden told Burke that some of the best fishing was found on the mother course, famous for the Masters, a tradition unlike any other. Who knew there was another tradition -- fishing -- to talk about at Augusta?

No. 12 is a 155-yard par-3 that is fronted by Rae’s Creek. It is said to be full of bream.

“The caddies loved to fish there,” Bowden told Burke.

No. 16 is a 170-yard par-3 with a pond stretching from tee to green, and it is full of bass.

“You ain’t never seen fishing like this,” Bennett told a 10-year-old Bowden. “We’ll catch 'em so fast you'll be huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf. [...]

“Best fishing in the world.”

Now, if you ever do find yourself with a fishing rod in your hand on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National, for heaven’s sake, be sure you don’t wear your fishing hat backwards. Rickie Fowler will tell you why.

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