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What would a pro tournament where the pros were blind to the course before playing it be like?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I had a thought. A lot of these pros, I assume most if not all, learn a course inside out and backwards before they play in a tournament on it. They know exactly where to play their misses, what yardages to play to, every little change in slope on a green, etc..

 

I'm curious as to what thesandtrap thinks a tournament would look like where the pros were not allowed to see the course before playing it. Would it be an interesting tournament or more boring? How much would scores increase by? What would change about how they approached the course?

post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

I had a thought. A lot of these pros, I assume most if not all, learn a course inside out and backwards before they play in a tournament on it. They know exactly where to play their misses, what yardages to play to, every little change in slope on a green, etc..

 

I'm curious as to what thesandtrap thinks a tournament would look like where the pros were not allowed to see the course before playing it. Would it be an interesting tournament or more boring? How much would scores increase by? What would change about how they approached the course?

When I play a course for the first time, there are maybe 2 or 3 times during the round where I say "darn, I wish I knew that was there before I hit the shot" in regards to a false front on a green, a hidden bunker, trees, etc.

 

Pros probably aren't any different in that regard, so I would say that scores, on average would go up 2-3 strokes on Thursday, and zero to 1 after that since they have now seen the course.

 

I'd say average scores would go up about 4 strokes over the course of a whole tournament.

 

I don't think it would be any more or less interesting, other than the fact that you might have some of the more methodical guys walking all the way to the green prior to hitting their approaches since they've never been there before.  Probably would be seeing 6 hour rounds on Thursday.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 don't think it would be any more or less interesting, other than the fact that you might have some of the more methodical guys walking all the way to the green prior to hitting their approaches since they've never been there before.  Probably would be seeing 6 hour rounds on Thursday.

 

Yeah I suppose you would probably need a time restriction.

post #4 of 12

Take all the flags down as well, including on the greens. Merion has the right idea with that. Make them guess the wind.

post #5 of 12

... and they could be blindfolded and spun around like pin the tail on the donkey or hitting a pinata.

 

Hell, just make them hit pinatas.

post #6 of 12

This would be unwatchable, even if they were allowed lasers. They'd have their caddies pace off everything and spend forever reading putts, and never be confident in their club, leading to some backing off too much. It would take so damn long unless most of the players fundamentally changed their play style.

 

Some players would probably have less trouble, those with really good scrambling and short games would likely clean up where most of the good ballstrikers might hit great shots all day but with the wrong club. Those with really good caddies should also be OK, I think Phil would manage due to his good short game. Fewer birdies though. Par 3s would be affected the most but par 5s not so much. I could see a lot more running approaches like a links course because they can more easily judge the carry to a nearer landing spot, and wouldn't know how much spin or height to play.

 

Also, expect a lot of bag watching for their playing partners. 

post #7 of 12

     I think it would be great..  I would LOVE to see some tourney's played without any help whatsoever.. YES, that means NO caddies.. No Coaches on the range.. No Yardage books etc..etc.. The only thing the pros would be allowed to do with what we amateurs do all the time.. Use the fairway yardage markers..
 

post #8 of 12

How would they do?

 

Extremely well. They're pros.

 

If the intimation is they wouldn't play well if they didn't have perfect conditions, thorough knowledge of the course thru practice rounds & yardage books, well, maybe they would lose a couple of strokes in the course of a tournament, so instead of say 15 under they would shoot 12 under.

 

Remember, the whole reason they have that kind of access to that information (which, presumably we amateurs don't) is this is their livelihood. It's their jobs, their careers. It's like saying what kind of job would a master carpenter do without a blueprint to a house he's building or his favorite tools. The carpenter would still do an extremely good job...they're master carpenters

 

Pros are still the best players on the planet, and they would still score better than anyone else on the planet. Maybe not as low as they would with all that information, but still better than anyone else could. 

 

So I guess the question is, how much does local knowledge & research (re practice rounds) help their games? I'm sure it has an impact. But it's one thing in knowing it's 193 yards to the pin & quite another to hit the ball 193 yards, ten feet from the pin.

post #9 of 12

I do feel that there is some advantage to knowing a course really well, but these guys are really good and have experience learning a course quickly so their play would not suffer a whole lot.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

A lot of these pros, I assume most if not all, learn a course inside out and backwards before they play in a tournament on it. They know exactly where to play their misses, what yardages to play to, every little change in slope on a green, etc..

 

 

I think good touring Pros do a very good job in learning a course in a relatively short time period (Monday-Wednesday) before a tournament.  I have no doubt that most have their yardages spot on and know where to miss it generally on most holes, but I am not so sure about knowing every little change in slope on a green.  Yes, they may chart the green and some technology has advanced a lot for this in the last 5+ years, but you still see guys who miss read putts at times.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciusWooding View Post

This would be unwatchable, even if they were allowed lasers. They'd have their caddies pace off everything and spend forever reading putts, and never be confident in their club, leading to some backing off too much. It would take so damn long unless most of the players fundamentally changed their play style.

 

Some players would probably have less trouble, those with really good scrambling and short games would likely clean up where most of the good ballstrikers might hit great shots all day but with the wrong club. Those with really good caddies should also be OK, I think Phil would manage due to his good short game. Fewer birdies though. Par 3s would be affected the most but par 5s not so much. I could see a lot more running approaches like a links course because they can more easily judge the carry to a nearer landing spot, and wouldn't know how much spin or height to play.

 

Also, expect a lot of bag watching for their playing partners. 

Why would they pace everything off even if they had lasers? 

 

It is absurd to think they would play your standard PGA course more like a links course.  I think playing run ups takes a lot more course knowledge than figuring out how far to fly a shot that typically stops close to where it lands.  Unless you are going under the assumption that they are not even given 150 markers, why is it easier to judge the carry to a nearer landing spot?  If they were allowed lasers, it is certainly much easier to know the distance to the pin than try to laser the distance to  spot short of the green and then guess how far the ball needs to run to make it to the pin.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by zipazoid View Post

How would they do?

Extremely well. They're pros.


Exactly.

Those guys are STUPID good. The average recreational golfer can't even begin to comprehend how good they really are......
post #11 of 12

When visiting a new course, Ben Hogan always asked what the course record was and who owned it.  If it was the local pro, Hogan would make sure not to beat it since Hogan saw himself as his guest.  At my local course, a highly rated college links course, a touring pro showed up one day and beat the record the first time he ever saw it. 

 

My guess is that this happens a lot.  I agree with David - these guys are stupid good, and we have no idea how great they are.  There is a big chasm between a scratch golfer and a touring pro.

post #12 of 12

They would do very well but be up a few strokes at the end of the tournament.  Scoring would improve after the first round because they would know where not to miss.

 

It would be kind of like some Mountain Bike races I've done where they didn't let you ride the course first.  The stronger riders still beat you even if it was a bit slower from not knowing the obstacles.

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