Sir Nick Faldo Reveals Which Course's Greens Are Tougher Than Augusta National's

 Sir Nick Faldo at St Andrews before the 2022 Open
Sir Nick Faldo at St Andrews before the 2022 Open

One player who knows Augusta National intimately is Sir Nick Faldo. The 65-year-old won The Masters three times between 1989 and 1996 and needed to demonstrate plenty of control over its famously fast and sloping greens in the process.

However, according to the Englishman, there’s another course with more challenging greens than the famous Georgia course.

Faldo was asked on Twitter: “what's more difficult to putt? Fast Augusta greens? Or fast Royal Melbourne greens?” He responded: “Don’t think i ever had my back to the hole at Augusta (close!) so probably Royal Melbourne!”

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The comparison with Augusta National is certainly fair given the two courses have the same designer, Dr Alister MacKenzie. Meanwhile, the West Course at the Australian location, which is regarded as one of the most incredible in the world, is well known for the speed of its green complexes.

Despite the Royal Melbourne greens offering Faldo plenty of problems over the years, he once said of the course: “The West Course at Royal Melbourne might just be the best golf course in the world, period.” He then elaborated, saying: “I love the way it plays firm and fast-running, the way the bunkering frames and almost intrudes into the putting surfaces and the brilliance of the bunkering style with the native scrubby look.

“I’m also a fan of the often very wide fairways that reward positioning and of the mix of long and short par-4s. Add to this the splendid contouring of the greens and the rich variety of approach shots that you play into those greens.”

Faldo may believe that Royal Melbourne's greens have the edge over Augusta National's in difficulty, but he's detailed how challenging those are too. In a 2020 interview with Bunkered, he said: "It’s hard for anybody who hasn’t played there to appreciate just how blisteringly quick some of the greens can get. You get a six or eight-footer straight downhill but, because of the character of the greens, they just keep running at that percentage."

Faldo recently returned to Augusta National, albeit in a broadcasting capacity for Sky Sports during The Masters. His best finish at Royal Melbourne came in a tie for second in the 2003 Heineken Classic.