Originally Posted by Nosevi
Hi Hopeful. Firstly you get up way too early.
Secondly, what's my point.....? Good question really. My point wasn't really could a course like the Hotchkin host a PGA Tour event - is it tough enough? My point was that it is far tougher (when played at full length) than the highly manicured courses they play day in, day out on the PGA Tour. Take away the rough, bunkers and trees and golf gets a whole heap easier.
You're talking about playing last year's Irish open course which sounds great, only very jealous indeed :) But you are again not comparing like with like. You are correct in that the course was set up at over 7400 yards for the open, I checked. But even more telling is shown in a shots of the course and one taken during the open last year:
PICs removed for ease of Viewing : HopefulH
There's this stuff called rough in the way. That second shot is not a shot you were going to get at Riviera (unless you were watching a particularly small golfer) the rough was measure in inches not feet and to be honest you're not going to see it on any of the week in, week out courses they play on the PGA Tour.
When you look at what you estimate you'd score if you had been playing from the Open tees, say 105, you could be about right, I don't know your game. But that's not what is often alleged. People say that a scratch player would struggle on a standard PGA Tour course. Being gentle, at a 17 handicapper you've got to confess you are quite a way behind a scratch player. But even so, if you were to take the course you played, play it 200 yards shorter than the Open tees (about average for the PGA Tour) and cut down absolutely all of the rough, would you still score that? What would a scratch player score? Would he struggle with no rough, shallow bunkers?
What I'm saying is the PGA courses are made out to be beyond the ability of a scratch player. But they don't penalise a poor shot anything like as much as the course I used as an example of a tough track and nothing like as much as the one you've used. So why would a scratch player struggle. About the only thing that is ever quoted is fast greens (although the true number is 9 1/2 to 11 on the stimp for a standard PAG Tour event). Distance with no penalty for a poor shot and fast greens is not going to make a scratch player struggle.
I do think part of the 'debate' is "What is a scratch player".....
Hi Nosevi (sorry, I forgot my manners this morning )
First off, the early morning are due to a 15 month old daughter and a wife that is 30 weeks pregnant so that explains the early start.
is at a premium these days.
Hotchkin looks like it is a tough tough track, I would say that you're right to say it is set up more difficult than most* Tour events, but I'd say that the main difference is in the rough.
It's really difficult to go comparing bunkers, trees etc as no two courses are the same, but the "rough height" is something that can be altered.
That picture you posted, is that from the Irish Open?
If so, I would put money on it being from the 2005 or 2006 Irish Open (also held at Carton House).
I say that, because after 2005 & 2006, they decided to really cut down the rough.... The Pro's that played for those 2 Opens didn't like the rough, and the course finally decided it was too penal after the Pros gave it negative press.
Since then, it has been kept fairly short.... the course doesn't need the protection from heavy rough to be honest, the numerous (not exactly sure, but I'd guess about 150 of them) bunkers offer all the challenge it needs... even for the pros.
Here's the type of bunker...note the 5-6 foot rake in the bunker, it gives some scale of just how big they are...absolute monsters. This one is about 18-20 feet at its highest point!!! Cruel.
Many casual golfers find that the "Hand Wedge" is the only "club" in the bag for them..."just throw the bloody thing out" can be often heard... not that I've ever had to resort to that.
I have heard quite a bit, mainly from the Sky Commentators, about the fact that the rough isn't really rough anymore on Tour events. So I don't quite get where you are hearing that the courses are almost unplayable for scratch golfers.
I do think you are under player the element of the distance, I know you have shown some stats there and you get within 2 yards of the Pros average but I don't know how much I would read into that.
I'm not disputing your stats, but they are based on a few drives, and by and large you probably hit them well (the 2 "poor" ones were still ok...I think that's representative of what would happen on a course), however, the Trackman stats for Pro's you use may be misleading or out of date (they are driving it longer now so I'm not sure how old this data is).
All I know is that Zach J is a fairly "short" hitter on the PGA Tour and his average drive was 278.8 yards last year on tour. He's probably not hitting it as hard as he would if he was to "let rip" on a trackman either, I think it's easier to "go for it" on something like trackman when you don't have visible danger up ahead.
Some of the average drive distances that are measured on the PGA Tour stats may also include 3 woods, as I think the sample 2 holes per event and they don't adjust if it's a lesser club than a driver that is used which is often the case.
I'm so far off a scratch player it's scary
But thanks for being gentle with me
I am fairly realistic when it comes to golf and my ability but I think I can get to 14-15 reality quickly once the season starts (I'm shooting 86-88 while not playing amazing at present) and I'd be disappointed if I don't get close to single figures by the end of the year. I probably won't get there, but my golfing mates (who find it hard to give a compliment, we are "those" kind of friends ) who are single figure golfers think it's well within me. Anyway, a big challenge but I think it's safe to say I'm a "good" 17 as it stands.
I gave the range 105-110 as my expected score, I would say it would be closer to the higher end of that range.
Ok, sorry for the long post!
To sum up, I think you have a very valid point about the rough being more difficult, and I think it's commonly acknowledged that the rough has become shorter on the Tour.
It's sad to see and hear, but there are examples of courses bowing to the requests of the Pros.
To get the fields, most Tour events need to keep the Pros happy, penal rough doesn't make them happy,
But I think the extra yardage that they add to courses has become the new protection that "levels" the playing field as such. I really don't think the average scratch golfer is in the same league as the average Pro when it comes to distance.
Ask any scratch golfer that has seen a Pro up close, and I would be surprised if they said they are close to the same level in ball striking.
Sometimes we can get lost looking at the Top of the leaderboard each week, if we cast or eye down to the bottom you will see plenty of good Pros shotting high 70 rounds, 76,77, 78's aren't unheard of.
I believe these Pros, even on a bad day (+5,+6 over) are still miles and miles ahead of a good scratch golfer on a good day.
So, could the scratch golfer in your club shoot a round in the 70's on a Tour event...maybe, but I think it would be the round of his life.
I think a 80-85 would be a fairly good showing, and many would go above that.
I'm fairly happy that I could stay within 17 shoots of a scratch golfer, distance is a strength of mine, so I think 105-110 would be a reasonable guess.
I haven't even considered the greens, depending on how fast they are, it could get worse for the scratch or someone like me.
I think there's a massive difference in this area too.
That wasn't much of a summary was it
* Not all courses on the Tour have the rough cut down low, but they are in the minority imo...when it is left long, you hear about it from the Pros!!!
Edited by hopefulhacker - 2/17/14 at 6:21am