The Hogan Bridge at Augusta National: Photos, Facts and History

Hogan Bridge at Augusta National Golf Club

The Hogan Bridge at Augusta National Golf Club. It's one of the most-famous landmarks on arguably the world's most-famous golf course, and it is located on one of the most picturesque holes in golf: the 12th hole, named "Golden Bell."

The Hogan Bridge crosses Rae's Creek, which flows in front of the 12th green. To a golfer standing on the 12th tee and looking at the green, Rae's Creek flows from the right to the left. The water moves under the Nelson Bridge by the 13th tee, passes in front of the 12th green, flows under the Hogan Bridge to the left of the green, then behind the 11th green before flowing out of the Augusta National boundary.

The Hogan Bridge is a gently arched stone span, with three smaller arches underneath. It is approximately 60 feet long. Rae's Creek is at its widest on the Augusta National property right in front of the 12th green, where it is 60 feet across (and, at its deepest point, about four feet deep).

As you surely know, the bridge was named after Ben Hogan in a dedication ceremony. That ceremony took place on April 2, 1958, along with the dedication ceremony for the Nelson Bridge (named after Byron Nelson).

"We've tried to dedicate these bridges to two men who have meant as much to this tournament as any two men ever have," said Augusta National co-founder Bobby Jones on that day.

Why did Augusta National choose to honor Hogan in this way? He was a favorite of Jones, and Jones and his co-founder Clifford Roberts both greatly admired Hogan's grit and determination in coming back from a near-fatal car accident in the late 1940s. Hogan won The Masters in 1951 and again in 1953. And it was that 1953 victory — in which Hogan shattered the tournament scoring record, lowering it by five strokes — that the dedication ceremony specifically celebrated.

When golfers walking from the 12th tee reach Rae's Creek and the entrance to the Hogan Bridge, they see, embedded at ground level on the right-hand side of the bridge, the dedication plaque. The text on the dedication plaque reads:

Ben Hogan Bridge
This bridge dedicated April 2, 1958, to commemorate Ben Hogan's record score for four rounds of 274 in 1953. Made up of rounds of 70, 69, 66 and 69. This score will always stand as one of the very finest accomplishments in competitive golf and may even stand for all time as the record for The Masters tournament.

A photo of the plaque:

Ben Hogan Bridge dedication plaque at Augusta National

(Of course, the words on the dedicatory plaque turned out to be a bit optimistic in its assessment that Hogan's record "may even stand for all time" as the tournament's 72-hole scoring record. Hogan's 274 was first bettered by Jack Nicklaus, who won in 1965 with a 271 score.)

The walk over Rae's Creek on the bridge is short, it takes only about 20 paces. The surface of the Hogan Bridge was natural grass when it was dedicated in 1958. However, shortly thereafter the club converted the surface to artificial turf, which is what it remains today. (Leaving the natural stone surface exposed would be too risky to golfers — it would be very easy to slip and fall on dewy mornings or misty or rainy days.)

Once across the bridge, a cushioned pathway (tinted green to help hide it) leads a short distance to the surrounds of the 12th green.

What does it look like to walk across the Hogan Bridge? Here is one lucky Augusta National golfer's point of view:

Wall art picturing the Hogan Bridge, or framed pairings of bridge photos and Augusta scorecards, and other types of collectibles and artwork focused on the Hogan Bridge are available on Amazon.com.

Photo credits:
Top image: "12 hogan bridge 2" by Lisa Peck is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Plaque image: "12 ben hogan bridge plaque" by lisapeck224 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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