What Is 'Amen Corner'? Which Holes are Included In It?

Looking at the famous stretch of holes at Augusta National Golf Club

Fans watch play at Amen Corner during the second round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club
The fans at Augusta National are taking in play at Amen Corner: They are seated directly behind the 12th tee and have a great view of the 11th green. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

"Amen Corner" is the nickname given to the 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters Tournament. Those holes make up a key stretch of the back nine on the golf course, holes where exciting things often happen that affect the outcome of the tournament.

We'll go over the three holes more below, but first let's make an observation plus answer another question:

The Specific Meaning of Amen Corner Has Expanded Slightly Over Time

When "Amen Corner" first got its name (in the late 1950s), it had a more specific meaning than in its general use today. Amen Corner originally referred specifically to the approach shot into the 11th green, the entirety of the 12th hole, and the tee shot on the 13th hole.

Today, the monicker "Amen Corner" is generally applied to the full holes of 11, 12 and 13 at Augusta National. But if you want to show off your golf knowledge (at the risk of appearing pedantic), you can point out the original meaning of the term next time your golf buddies bring it up.

Who Came Up With 'Amen Corner,' and When?

Legendary sportswriter and broadcaster Herbert Warren Wind coined the golf usage of "Amen Corner" in his Sports Illustrated article about the 1958 Masters. Arnold Palmer won his first Green Jacket that year, and  Amen Corner was a key turning point in Palmer's victory.

And how did Wind come up with that term? He didn't invent it out of thin air. Wind himself later explained that an old jazz song inspired the term. But the history of Amen Corner goes back even farther than that.

The Holes That Make Up Amen Corner

Here's a little bit more about the three holes that comprise Amen Corner at Augusta National Golf Club:

Hole 11

  • Name: White Dogwood
  • Par 4
  • 505 yards

This hole starts with a downhill tee shot, then requires an approach into a deep but narrow green that has a pond on its left and a large bunker on its right. (The pond was added in 1950, in years previous to that Rae's Creek passed in front of the green.) 

Historically, No. 11 is the most difficult hole at Augusta National: In the history of the tournament, the all-time average score on this par-4 hole is 4.35.

Hole 12

  • Name: Golden Bell
  • Par 3
  • 155 yards

It's the shortest par-3 hole at Augusta, but No. 12 is also the most dangerous. It requires a tee shot over  Rae's Creek, with any balls coming up short rolling down the shaved banks. Deep is no good, either (except that the ball will be dry), and the green is very shallow.

The Hogan Bridge is on this hole; golfers cross it to reach the green. All-time, his hole ranks 13th in average score during The Masters at 3.094.

Hole 13

  • Name: Azalea
  • Par 5
  • 510 yards

The 13th hole boasts the Nelson Bridge near the teeing ground. A dogleg left, a good drive puts most of the pros in position to go for the green on their second shot. But a tributary of Rae's Creek crosses in front of the green, so balls that come up short can wind up in the rocky stream bed.

In the all-time stats, the 13th hole is No. 15 in average Masters score at an under-par 4.838.

So the three holes of Amen Corner start with the historically hardest hole on the course; followed by Augusta National's shortest hole that typically plays fairly easy but can result in high numbers; then another comparatively easy hole that produces many birdies and some eagles.

Amen Corner at Augusta National Golf Club produces lots of risk-reward options and, therefore, lots of excitement.