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How difficult are PGA Tour course setups? - Page 2

post #19 of 120
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by impactswing View Post

Most people who play with me say wow you hit the ball like a pro. Compared to most golfers I do. But compared to real tour pros I stink. My best was a plus 3 years ago. I play with all levels of pros, tour, senior, mini tours, club pros and Pats.

Anyone on any tour making money is far beyound scratch it's not comprehensible until you actually play with them.

Then you shake your head and just say, these guys and girls are really that good.

No, I know they are, I'm talking about the courses which are sometimes made out to be far harder than they actually are. I'm not talking for the majors, I'm talking the times when the pros score very low.

 

I regularly practice along side our National Squad when they are in having coaching and they are quite good, was a couple of bays down from Matthew Fitzpatrick not so long ago and he hits the ball quite well (won your US Amateur Championship last year - nice bloke too). Danny Willett was down at the range last year getting coaching, again, strikes the ball very well. I've played with minor tour players over here from time to time and all were extremely good.

 

I am not debating any of this. What I am debating is a course like Riviera, set up like it was on day one for example, is really that tough. It's long, I'll concede that but it is wide open, almost devoid of rough, the bunkers are (as another poster has said) a joke, the pin placements avoided edges and fronts of greens and were nowhere near the bunkers, players got away with drives that you or I would have been swearing about and yet they could still fire at the green...... all in all it resembled a resort course in all but length.

 

That is taking nothing away from the players. But why not grow up the rough so it punishes, make the bunkers cease to resemble dinner plates, stop specifying things like making bunkers where balls won't plug and ensuing no rough around them 'less you upset a pro. These are, as you've said, the best players in the world (along with the European Tour players, obviously :) ). Why not test them rather than make it a case of bomb it and go and find it sort of game?

post #20 of 120
Some tour tracks are easy tracks especially older courses.

Overalll though, modern pga courses are beasts from the tips. I have 3 tpc courses in my regular rotation. I take young aspiring pros to them often. I say here's the tour, lets see you shoot 72 or better here. These courses are typically rated 76 or so.

The ones who shoot in the 60's I help. Intro them to top teachers, try to get them free access to courses and ranges and free balls and gear.

The ones that shoot mid 70's I tell them give it up or go back to square one.

You got to break par consistently on courses rated 75/77 to have a shot at any pro tour.
post #21 of 120
Thread Starter 
I'm guessing you're right :)

I think the handicap thing is confusing though. When people say tour pros are ALL off at least plus 8 that just doesn't compute here. That implies those just turning pro are off plus 8?

Matthew Fitzpatrick is one of our best Amateurs, last year won the US Amateur Championship (first brit for 102 years) and was runner up in the British Amateur Championship (obviously an international event in the same way as the US Amateur). He'll be turning pro sometime soon I dare say. He plays off plus 3.6 under our system. The numbers are that different. When people there say a scratch player is nowhere near a tour pro, they mean a scratch player under your system which is very different to ours. Our 3rd tier tour is open to amateurs of a 2 handicap or less .... That's not plus 2, that's 2. They won't do well in it but they can enter. The European tour is open to Scratch or better under our system.

I really wish we would change our handicapping system and come into line with most of the rest of the world but trying to get the R&A to modernise is like ..... No can't think of anything more futile.
post #22 of 120
Average tour score 70/71

You only count best 10 of 20 its more like 68/69

You use course ratings that average 76

You realize IF they had a HC they would all be plus 8 range

I think the 00 tiger slam someone figured he was 10+ that year

First time a tour pro hit double digits for a year I read
post #23 of 120
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by impactswing View Post

Average tour score 70/71

You only count best 10 of 20 its more like 68/69

You use course ratings that average 76

You realize IF they had a HC they would all be plus 8 range

I think the 00 tiger slam someone figured he was 10+ that year

First time a tour pro hit double digits for a year I read

But therein lies the difference - we use all scores not the best 10 of 20. Add to that what the course rating basically is - the score a scratch player is expected to make, and you can see where the difference is.

 

Take the 2 courses I have mentioned Riviera and The Hotchkin. Off the Blue tees Riviera has a course rating of 74.6, The Hotchkin off the Championship tees is 75 so it would appear to be not that different. This is despite the Hotchkin being longer (off those tees), far more penal rough, bunkers that aren't close to as forgiving and if you stray off the tee you're deep in the woods - take a look at the photos I posted at the start.

 

But like I've said, the way we calculate handicap using all scores etc means that if you're a scratch player here you're 2 or 3 shots better than a scratch player there (it's not an average, your handicap goes up at cat 1 every round you have over your handicap). So it follows that our course rating of 75 would be more like a 77 or 78 over there. Hope you follow that.

 

Equally a tour course there with a rating of 76, is like a course with a rating of 74 or 73 here (which is what my home course is off the back tees and what my handicap is based on, but it's considered one of the best around here.)

 

It's not better or worse, it's just different. I'm in no way saying that golfers are better over here or courses are tougher. I'm saying that when we say Scratch it equates to something close to a plus 2 or plus 3 there and when we say a course with a rating of 75 we mean a course with a 77 or 78 rating.

 

And when you say all pros are plus 8, that to me is plus 5, and plus 4 or plus 5 is about what you'd expect to turn pro off here. So I don't think we're really that far apart, we're just using different numbers.

 

And theoretically my home course is as hard as one of your standard tour courses obviously :)

post #24 of 120
If you can hit a driver on average 250 at sea level and reach a 475 yard hole in 2, you are scratch potential according to usga.

I think if you cant drive it 275 now you cant b scratch from 6700+ yard tees.

Today I played 6200 yard tees with guys my age 55+

Two of us were 260+ off the tee every drive.
The other two were struggling to hit it 220.

So I had knock down wedges inside 100 yds all day.

I was able to reach 2 of the par 5's easily with a 3w but chose to lay up to 35 yd pitches.

Only two par 4s had me over 150 off tee, rest were 70 to 100 yds.

So Im a senior, almost 55, i played with 3 guys in that age range. 1 hits it in my zip code the other 2 cant.

You put me on longer tees no problem.

You put the guys hitting it 220 on longer tees they have no chance of a good score.

So you have to remember age and distance are factors too.

Most guys under 40 playing to scratch hit it 275+

A senior over 50 might hit it 240 and be scratch on senior tees. Yet he cant score from 6700 yards.

So is he scratch?

Handicaps are not perfect, you play usually with the same groups you give strokes to keep it close.

If you play in set games, they track your scores and give you a league cap.

Tour Pros are 8 shots better than scratch players easily.

Just play one , you'll see.

When I play young tour pros they give me senior tees and 3 or 4 a side. Good days I win, bad days I loose.

Senior tees are usually 4 shots easier than pro tees. But tour pros are all 300+ off tee with a driver

The long pros are 325+
post #25 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by impactswing View Post
. . .

When I play young tour pros they give me senior tees and 3 or 4 a side. Good days I win, bad days I lose.

Senior tees are usually 4 shots easier than pro tees. But tour pros are all 300+ off tee with a driver

The long pros are 325+

 

This is kind of good information, when you say "pro tees" do you mean the next tee back from the senior tees, or do you mean the tips?

 

From a higher handicapper perspective of things, I looked from the blue (one back from the whites [senior tees?]) and they look a lot harder on the 1 to 9 rated holes than the senior tees. They look pretty unforgiving to any mistakes, and would seem to make up for more than 4 strokes per round.

post #26 of 120
Really not sure of thee point here Nesevi, the Hotchkin could well be able to host a tour event if it wasn't for the crowd/location issues.

You're comparing a tour standard course against a tour course.

If Hotchkin was to hold a Tour event, they would probably add another 200-300 yards on top of the current championship tees. The greens would also be set up far faster than we've ever played on.

I played Carton House today, home of The Irish Open 2013. We played off the white tees that are 6,800 on the card but in reality were probably 6,600 today as the tees were pushed up (from the official 6,800 markings).

The new tees they put in for The Irish Open were still visible, they were way longer than the championship tees (7,200y) on most holes (the Par 3's and some holes weren't/ couldn't be extended) and I'd guess it was set up somewhere circa 7,450 for the open.

Shot an 87 off my 17 HC and was delighted, especially with my +3 back 9 after an average/poor front 9.
I think I would have shot circa 105-110 on the course (faster greens too) that they used for The Irish Open. That's about 1 shot extra per hole, I think the distance along would account for that.

(We have the same HC system here in Ireland, last year was my first year golfing properly, I'm probably a few shots below 17 in real terms at present as my game has come on since winter rules kicked in)
post #27 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post

I'm guessing you're right :)

I think the handicap thing is confusing though. When people say tour pros are ALL off at least plus 8 that just doesn't compute here. That implies those just turning pro are off plus 8?

Matthew Fitzpatrick is one of our best Amateurs, last year won the US Amateur Championship (first brit for 102 years) and was runner up in the British Amateur Championship (obviously an international event in the same way as the US Amateur). He'll be turning pro sometime soon I dare say. He plays off plus 3.6 under our system. The numbers are that different. When people there say a scratch player is nowhere near a tour pro, they mean a scratch player under your system which is very different to ours. Our 3rd tier tour is open to amateurs of a 2 handicap or less .... That's not plus 2, that's 2. They won't do well in it but they can enter. The European tour is open to Scratch or better under our system.

I really wish we would change our handicapping system and come into line with most of the rest of the world but trying to get the R&A to modernise is like ..... No can't think of anything more futile.

I'm guessing Matthew Fitzpatrick doesn't play in the weekly members comp Nosevi? :)
If he did, his +3.6 may be +5 or +6.
I.e the way our Congu system works, he would be playing the field (CSS) and would surely be a greater + number.
A bit like Poulter, he was Minus 4, yes minus... So not even scratch when he turned Pro.
He wasn't playing regularly in club comps etc when he turned pro but was doing extremely well in leading amateur events (which I'm not sure were used in his HC calculation)

On the other hand, I know of a guy who plays off +5. Former sports star here in Ireland in another discipline. He has one of the lowest active HC's in the country but he hasn't made any impact on the amateur scene at all. He says he is miles off some of the leading amateurs even though they may only be +1 or so. Why? Because he plays his club comp every weekend, he is a club golfer really. The +1 guy is doing the Amateur tour and doesn't play club golf much thus his HC will remain static.
post #28 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post

This is kind of good information, when you say "pro tees" do you mean the next tee back from the senior tees, or do you mean the tips?

From a higher handicapper perspective of things, I looked from the blue (one back from the whites [senior tees?]) and they look a lot harder on the 1 to 9 rated holes than the senior tees. They look pretty unforgiving to any mistakes, and would seem to make up for more than 4 strokes per round.

Pro tees may not even be set up on normal courses if that courses isn't a tour course or a course that holds high profile events.

As per my previous post, I played the Irish Open 2013 course today off the whites. The blues were 20yards or so back from the whites on most holes. The Pro tees they used for the Irish Open were another 20-30 yards back from the blues on top of that.

Having attended the Irish Open last year, I would almost say that the difference between a Pro and a scratch golfer is as big as the difference between a scratch as 18 handicap golfer.
post #29 of 120
Thread Starter 

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:

 

 

 

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".....

post #30 of 120
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by impactswing View Post

If you can hit a driver on average 250 at sea level and reach a 475 yard hole in 2, you are scratch potential according to usga.

I think if you cant drive it 275 now you cant b scratch from 6700+ yard tees.

Today I played 6200 yard tees with guys my age 55+

Two of us were 260+ off the tee every drive.
The other two were struggling to hit it 220.

So I had knock down wedges inside 100 yds all day.

I was able to reach 2 of the par 5's easily with a 3w but chose to lay up to 35 yd pitches.

Only two par 4s had me over 150 off tee, rest were 70 to 100 yds.

So Im a senior, almost 55, i played with 3 guys in that age range. 1 hits it in my zip code the other 2 cant.

You put me on longer tees no problem.

You put the guys hitting it 220 on longer tees they have no chance of a good score.

So you have to remember age and distance are factors too.

Most guys under 40 playing to scratch hit it 275+

A senior over 50 might hit it 240 and be scratch on senior tees. Yet he cant score from 6700 yards.

So is he scratch?

Handicaps are not perfect, you play usually with the same groups you give strokes to keep it close.

If you play in set games, they track your scores and give you a league cap.

Tour Pros are 8 shots better than scratch players easily.

Just play one , you'll see.

When I play young tour pros they give me senior tees and 3 or 4 a side. Good days I win, bad days I loose.

Senior tees are usually 4 shots easier than pro tees. But tour pros are all 300+ off tee with a driver

The long pros are 325+

 

And here in lies a difference between what we call scratch and what you guys call scratch. Firstly, how far do the pros hit the ball. I'm not talking on the 2 holes that are measured for their stats each round (and for the big hitters on which their sponsorship often rides), I'm talking on average. Trackman did a study a couple of years ago and the answer is, on average the pros carry a drive 269 yards in still air. I'm not talking down wind and with roll on a fast fairway, I'm talking carry on average. Everyone must have seen it before but here's the data:

 

post #31 of 120
Thread Starter 

So, over there you'd have scratch potential if you can drive the ball 250 yards? I've heard something similar before. The thing is our handicaps are worked out differently. I can honestly say I have never played with what we term a scratch player who is even close to this short. Although you've said that the guys on the PGA tour drive the ball 300+ off the tee easily (and I believe you), the data from Trackman is held to be pretty accurate and so their average carry with a driver is (or was 2 years ago) 269 yards....... then they get roll obviously. Looking at their individual distances 2011-2013 it's not going to be a lot more now.

 

I know there's plenty of guys who bomb it 300 yards on a golf forum but seem to struggle on a course :) but these are my numbers from the other day. It was 2-3 degrees C and our correction factor is about 14 yards extra carry to standards temps for a drive. Admittedly I'm not really a 5.1 handicap....... I am but it's a rapidly falling 5.1, got my initial handicap less than a year ago and over here it takes far longer to get your handicap down, again due to the way it's calculated, I'm playing off more like 3 or so.

 

 

So anyway, I didn't catch 2 of them but my average carry for this set was 253 yards carry, plus the 14 yards for temperature correction so 267 yards. Is this light years behind the guys on the PGA Tour? No it's about 2 yards behind the average (so I need to work harder :) ).

 

So why would I, playing at about 3 handicap level over here (scratch over in the States) be totally blown away by a set up like Riviera? Admittedly I strike the ball pretty well but I am not a scratch player over here. I can't see why, playing off the fairway, semi or even rough they had there, I would struggle. I would at the Hotchkin and I would at the Irish Open venue from last year, but I really don't think I'd be scoring 100 plus as some seem to imply.

 

Like I've said, our handicaps are very different to yours in the States but I do think that, when people say the Pros all play at plus 8 level that may be true, but the PGA Tour is doing it's best to foster a belief that non of us could ever hope to play on any course they score 7 under on - a scratch player would struggle to break 100 on any of their tracks? I may have to learn to putt but other than that, why would I be blown away?

 

The PGA Tour players are all really, really good, and I will never be nearly close to as good, but they are not the demi-gods the PGA Tour would have us believe, and the tracks they generally play are not beyond the ability of a Scratch player (at least not what we term a scratch player).

 

Look at the coverage and see the shots the broadcaster choses to show, now look at the stats and at shot tracker to see all the shots the coverage doesn't show. Someone posted not long ago that the pros hit everything inside 20 feet from 200 yards out. That's the sort of nonsensical comment that just simply isn't close to the truth. The true average last year of shots taken only from the fairway from 200 yards out was around 37 feet - that was the average not what they all shot inside, so for each one that even shot it as close as 20 feet (let alone inside that) someone else missed the pin by 54 feet - simple maths. Yet the tour and the broadcasters foster a belief that they pepper the flag with every shot. Put simply they don't.

 

Last thing, I have total respect for the guys that play on the tour, great talent. It's just when you look at the stats (which are all readily available) showing how accurate they really are, not how accurate the Tour, broadcasters and guys on forums say they are, and look at how the courses are really set up (compared to how they could be set up) when they score low they are not that far removed from top amateurs, many of who will be tour pros themselves in the near future. And a scratch player wouldn't have struggled round Riviera, not made the cut but not been utterly blown away as some would suggest.

post #32 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosevi View Post
 

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 :8)

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.

 :sleep: 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. :-D

 

 

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 :-P

But thanks for being gentle with me :-P

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 :-P 

 

* 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
post #33 of 120
Thread Starter 

Lol, no not so much of a summary :)

 

Firstly, good luck 15 months old and second on the way, I remember it well (mine are 6 and 8).

 

Regarding the picture, no it's Pablo Larrazabal on day 4 of the Irish open last year. http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2013/tournamentid=2013050/liveblog/

 

So to the rest, I think it's actually pretty unusual for the pros to take anything but driver on the holes that are used for driving distance average - the holes are specifically chosen to be holes where the pros will take driver (unless your Hendrik Stenson with his trusty 3 wood). They also know full well which holes these are and stats count when it comes to equipment deals etc. The Trackman stats picture I posted was for 2012 I believe so maybe they're a yard or 2 longer now but that's about it.

 

The stats for me I posted was actually working on accuracy and backspin spin rates (trust me, my 'spread' isn't quite that neat when I wind it up :) ) I actually have a fairly good idea how far these guys hit the ball. The rookie tour pros of next year are the top amateurs of today and I regularly practice where our national squad practices. About 3 weeks back I was in a bay next to a lad who captained England at the end of last year, be surprised if he's not a pro a year from now. My coach coaches both of us and so put me next to him to soak up some of the rhythm or something. Anyway I out drove him by quite a few yards. We chatted about different club yardages and trajectories quite a bit as it happens, my irons were about 8-10 yards on average further than him and my drive was consistently longer (but we didn't measure his so I'd be guessing on the distance). I've got a pretty slow swing but it's still about 8 yards more with an iron than a guy who's heading for the tour.

 

This is my swing with and without sound and some 8 irons from the same session: http://thesandtrap.com/t/72433/my-swing-nosevi

 

So what is my point? My point is distance isn't everything.

 

I'm (hopefully) heading towards scratch but no way am I as good as the lad I was next to 3 weeks back. But I can hit the ball straight(ish) and I can hit it a long way. The PGA courses only really have length as a defence now. And the pros are long...... but they're not that long. On a good, summer's day I'll carry it 275 on a good drive (measured, not internet babble) and on a PGA Tour set up that'll roll, what, 30 or 40 yards? So on a good drive I'll pip it just over 300 yards. So why would a player like me totally struggle on a course like Riviera? IF there was a consequence for missing the fairway it'd be different but no rough, bunkers you could almost putt out of....... The field is levelled. I think a longish amateur like me would score closer to a pro on a course like Riviera than I would to a pro on a course like the Hotchkin, and I think the difference between those 2 would be considerable.

post #34 of 120
Thread Starter 

Just to pre-empt any "No you can't posts..."

 

 

No way am I good enough at photo shop to edit that well :)

post #35 of 120
Thread Starter 

Become a bit of a "I could do that" sort of thread, wasn't really the intention, I've just used me as an example of a half way ok golfer. It seems to me that it's all about distance on courses like Riviera and distance isn't that frightening. If anything I give the pros MORE credit than the tour. They don't need to be molly-coddled on courses that they can take apart. Give them a test - grow up the rough, dig 'proper' bunkers and make the courses test them. Make the week in week out courses really be the sort of place a mere mortal golfer would struggle to get round, because right now I don't think they generally are.

post #36 of 120

I'm not sure how much this might figure into the "toughness" of most courses (since I have played that many) but on the longer courses I have played the back tee is very often not only farther back but offset from the next tee up. It requires a more precise shot and very often a shot that has to be worked right or left where the next tee up can be a straight or straighter shot.

 

On some of those holes that adds more difficulty to the hole than the added distance does.

 

I've never heard the story you refer to about scratch players not being able to break 100 on "PGA Tour courses". In fact I know people that have played some of those courses that played fairly well on them...Of course "fairly well" would mean a couple of mid to high 70s rounds and missing the cut if they had been playing in a Tour event.

 

I have heard the statement that most low handicap golfers "couldn't break 100" on some of the US Open tracks and setups (entirely different thing than the normal Tour event).

 

I've always joked that Tiger Woods couldn't play some of the courses I play because he would never be able to find his golf ball. Of course that is not accurate at all because what he would do is hit less than driver off of the tee on most of the holes and still score very well.

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