Golf Lessons: Amen Corner
Twelfth Hole, Augusta National
The Masters: Back in 1958, Herbert Warren Wind wrote an essay for Sports Illustrated regarding The Masters where he introduced the golf world to the phrase “Amen Corner”. Since then, the original spirit and intent of the expression has been obscured.
Attendees like to say that there is nothing else, anywhere in the world like “Amen Corner”. This has a lot to do with the phrase coined by Wind. He was both humbled and embarrassed by this distinction. He never though he was stating some thing underived concerning The Masters.
Wind attempted to dump the audience right in the thick of the experience and to stimulate the readers as best he could. He tried to take hold of his readers and keep them. He enjoyed his own use of wordplay, and this is where “Amen Corner” originated. The phrase comes from a jazz recording that Wind liked. He cited it in the his opening paragraph, and it was so inadvertent that he never even bothered to describe the musical meaning.
Wind never even mentioned the tournament winner – Arnold Palmer – until he was about 400 words deep into his essay. His classic writing skills led Augusta National to memorialize him by naming the press room in the club house after him.
“Amen Corner” never referred to some hallowed ground. It was originally a reference to the second shot on the 11th hole, the par-three 12th hole and the tee shot on the 13th. It was that angle of the golf course that forced the players to breathe a sigh of relief after surviving that part of the course.
Years later, people began to remember it incorrectly. Amen Corner later turned into all three of those holes in their entirety. It was easier this way, rather than describing the phrase so specifically. Unfortunately, this how history remembers things. Creations become simplified and changed. The intended nuance is disregarded.
In any event, “Amen Corner” is a huge part of the magic and pageantry that surrounds The Masters and the quest for the green jacket.
Enjoy the tournament.
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