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My first US Open Qualifier experience

post #1 of 234
Thread Starter 

Well I thought I’d share my experience from my first US Open Qualifier I played in.  Sadly, I did not make it on to the next round.  I attribute this to 2 things, putting and ball striking.  Putting was really 90% of it though.

 

Contrary to what Eric says about putting stats of amateurs vs pros, putting was the single biggest factor affecting scores in this qualifier across all players.  What I have come to see is that there are really 2 worlds of putting, those that putt on greens 10ish or lower and those at 11 or higher.  I typically play courses that run their greens 8 or 9, and I thought that it prepared me very well for what I’d expect.  Boy was I WAY off.  The greens I played started around an 11 according to the starter, he was lying, but by the end of the day these had to be running at 14 or something.  To think of the slope of them, think of Augusta.  And they put pins on the edge of ridges, so that if you missed a putt by 1ft normally, this course you miss it by 30ft because it ran down the hill and off the green, 1 freaking foot!  I prolly 3 putted like 10 times it felt like.  Yes I practiced but the practice greens and the practice round had slower greens by far, its crazy. Those that normally play these fast greens were far more prepared than I.

 

To ball striking, it felt like I didn’t hit the ball well, but I was hitting most fairways and greens anyway because I played my misses well.  But it would’ve really helped to put the ball a little closer to the hole more often.    You could tell the difference between the guys who had good ball striking from the ones that didn’t.

 

Overall, it was a great experience.  The course was fantastic in shape and beauty!! Stunning views and multi-million dollar homes overlooking the course.  But scoring was hard.  The winner wasn’t the one who put the ball on the green more, it was the guy who knows how to putt on beyond fast greens.

 

To move to this next level, I have to really find a course that has fast greens and practice there.  Watch my spin on short game (even though I did great during my round) and just make sure I understand how true putts follow the greens.  Other than that, its being a little more consistent and making sure my misses are still in play.

post #2 of 234

What is for next years open?  What course did you play?

post #3 of 234

I really enjoy reading posts like this, we need more of it! Keep us updated with your season and any of the mini tour events you play in. You should start up a thread detailing your season so we can be along for the ride!

post #4 of 234

Sorry to hear you didn't make it to the next round. Still very impressive though, that you took a shot at it.

 

Could you imagine the greens at Pinehurst #2. OMG those greens are insane. They are very difficult. The landing areas for approach shots makes those greens alot smaller.

 

So I guess I can see why the local qualifier courses setup their greens so fast, to prepare you for Pinehurst. The winner of the US Open will be the one who putts the best on those crazy greens.

post #5 of 234

I feel your pain about fast greens. I too normally play greens that stimp around a 7/8 so pretty slow by anyones standards. Although this is fine for the most part, i play greens like this all the time so feels pretty normal, when i come to play at the local championship courses which stimp a pretty standard 10/11 i am just so off with my pace for at least 12 holes and by then i have usually 3 putted at least 6 times. 

 

I guess as you say the only thing to do is practice on greens that fast more and you'll get there. Hope you make the cut next time, look forward to hearing all about it!

post #6 of 234
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motley01 View Post
 

Sorry to hear you didn't make it to the next round. Still very impressive though, that you took a shot at it.

 

Could you imagine the greens at Pinehurst #2. OMG those greens are insane. They are very difficult. The landing areas for approach shots makes those greens alot smaller.

 

So I guess I can see why the local qualifier courses setup their greens so fast, to prepare you for Pinehurst. The winner of the US Open will be the one who putts the best on those crazy greens.

 

You know I actually read in Golf Digest that yes typically they run pinehurst very fast, but they interviewed Mike Davis, the executive director, and he said they plan on 2 changes from their norm. 1) is the greens will run 11.5, or at least that's their plan, and 2) they will have 3 lengths for the grass: the fairways will be longer, their will be an intermediate cut around the greens, and the green length.  This was interesting, because you're talking about up to 525yds for a par 4 and have the fairways not run as much... that'll be difficult for a lot of players.  I really would have enjoyed it, because I'm a longer hitter and I think I would have done well.  I just never thought my putting would be so different from slower greens to faster.  But now I know, and I can prepare better for next year when the US Open comes to my state at Chambers Bay.

post #7 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyk View Post
 

 

You know I actually read in Golf Digest that yes typically they run pinehurst very fast, but they interviewed Mike Davis, the executive director, and he said they plan on 2 changes from their norm. 1) is the greens will run 11.5, or at least that's their plan, and 2) they will have 3 lengths for the grass: the fairways will be longer, their will be an intermediate cut around the greens, and the green length.  This was interesting, because you're talking about up to 525yds for a par 4 and have the fairways not run as much... that'll be difficult for a lot of players.  I really would have enjoyed it, because I'm a longer hitter and I think I would have done well.  I just never thought my putting would be so different from slower greens to faster.  But now I know, and I can prepare better for next year when the US Open comes to my state at Chambers Bay.

 

Trying to soften it up for the ladies the following week.

 

I know, I know, it's politically incorrect to say so, but I don't make the news, I just report it.....   ;-)

post #8 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyk View Post
 

Well I thought I’d share my experience from my first US Open Qualifier I played in.  Sadly, I did not make it on to the next round.  I attribute this to 2 things, putting and ball striking.  Putting was really 90% of it though.

 

Contrary to what Eric says about putting stats of amateurs vs pros, putting was the single biggest factor affecting scores in this qualifier across all players.  What I have come to see is that there are really 2 worlds of putting, those that putt on greens 10ish or lower and those at 11 or higher.  I typically play courses that run their greens 8 or 9, and I thought that it prepared me very well for what I’d expect.  Boy was I WAY off.  The greens I played started around an 11 according to the starter, he was lying, but by the end of the day these had to be running at 14 or something.  To think of the slope of them, think of Augusta.  And they put pins on the edge of ridges, so that if you missed a putt by 1ft normally, this course you miss it by 30ft because it ran down the hill and off the green, 1 freaking foot!  I prolly 3 putted like 10 times it felt like.  Yes I practiced but the practice greens and the practice round had slower greens by far, its crazy. Those that normally play these fast greens were far more prepared than I.

 

To ball striking, it felt like I didn’t hit the ball well, but I was hitting most fairways and greens anyway because I played my misses well.  But it would’ve really helped to put the ball a little closer to the hole more often.    You could tell the difference between the guys who had good ball striking from the ones that didn’t.

 

Overall, it was a great experience.  The course was fantastic in shape and beauty!! Stunning views and multi-million dollar homes overlooking the course.  But scoring was hard.  The winner wasn’t the one who put the ball on the green more, it was the guy who knows how to putt on beyond fast greens.

 

To move to this next level, I have to really find a course that has fast greens and practice there.  Watch my spin on short game (even though I did great during my round) and just make sure I understand how true putts follow the greens.  Other than that, its being a little more consistent and making sure my misses are still in play.

 

I too, just did my first local qualifying on Tuesday. I had 5 3 putts and the stupidest OB shot ever on a par 3 and shot 79. My site was pretty hard.. only 2 people shot par or better and 2 over got through. I played with two guys on mini tours and tied one and the other one beat me by two. I didn't really see anything special out of them and I was actually striking the ball better than them, but could not putt.  We had a 516 yard par 4 and two other holes with only one birdie on for the entire day with 120 guys with a handicap below 1.4. Kinda crazy really. Got up and down pretty well but because of the rain and my low ball flight, I had too many shots from 220 out. Shots that I never practice because I rarely have them in. Oh well, amateur championship this weekend. Time to rebound and move on. 

post #9 of 234

I didn't know qualifiers started this soon...

post #10 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyk View Post

 

 

Overall, it was a great experience.

 

 

Sounds like it was Phillyk...great that you experienced this...hope you can do better next year and qualify...I myself am returning to competitive Golf after many years (I am 62). I will be attempting to qualify for the USGA Senior Amateur this coming August...I don't expect to qualify (I know that's not the proper mindset going in) and if I do I doubt I will be able to afford a week in Newport Beach, California...but it will be worth it to tee it up in official competition again.

post #11 of 234

PhillyK, Thank You for sharing. It is a dream of mine to play in one of these. My handicap is way too high right now but it is still a dream. I will work much harder on my putting because my biggest weakness is reading greens. We always hear it, but to read it from someone who's been there is much more credible to me. Thank You. (I volunteer but can't play until many months after the event, so I always wonder what event conditions are like.)

post #12 of 234
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAGolfLuvr View Post
 

PhillyK, Thank You for sharing. It is a dream of mine to play in one of these. My handicap is way too high right now but it is still a dream. I will work much harder on my putting because my biggest weakness is reading greens. We always hear it, but to read it from someone who's been there is much more credible to me. Thank You. (I volunteer but can't play until many months after the event, so I always wonder what event conditions are like.)

Yeah I thought about how I played and how I can improve these last few days.  And I'm planning on getting a new 52, 56, and 60 wedges, mine are all outdated and old and probably don't have a ton of spin on them anymore.  I've also decided to really focus on grooving a slower, smoother swing with less moving parts, because I changed my swing like 2 months ago to something like this and I had the same distance and it looked better.  For the qualifier, it kind of fell apart it i think, but it wasn't bad.  New wedges will help with a greater variety of shots within 115 yards, which i think will help to control where I want the ball to land and where it ends up on every green.  

But most definitely, this is something I will be trying to do every year until I make it.  Some day it'll happen, I just have to find a place now that has faster, truer greens to practice on.

post #13 of 234

Kudos Philly for putting yourself out there!

 

The last US Open Qualifier I played in was 2011. I have not attempted it in the last few years because with wife, kids and career I just haven't had the time in the spring to properly prepare. In 2011 I had a equal but opposite round as you described. I hit the ball like crap that day but putted my ass off.

     My home course also has greens that normally run around 8-9 and the qualifier was at 11-12 on a Donald Ross course. They were fast but extremely smooth which is how I really like them. As far as putting goes I didn't really do any special preparation but did spend a fair amount of time on their practice green the day I played my practice round. Putting is one of my strong suites so I guess it's no surprise that it kept me inside the dreaded 10 shot rule that day(but did not qualify). I did beat a few college kids as well as local and mini tour pro's so I was happy for a family guy that doesn't get to hit balls every day or work in the golf industry.

 

I'll be 49 this year and at this point I'm setting my sites on the +50 crowd, I'll leave this regular open qualifier stuff to you young folk. My next one will be 2015 for the Seniors.

 

 

Good Luck next year and keep banging away, you'll make it! Solid ball striking and great putting will get you through!

post #14 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyk View Post
 

.  And I'm planning on getting a new 52, 56, and 60 wedges, mine are all outdated and old and probably don't have a ton of spin on them anymore.

How can your wedges be outdated if they are conforming? 

post #15 of 234
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
 

How can your wedges be outdated if they are conforming? 

 

its like asking why I updated my driver from one that was 10yrs old to the RBZ... i just want the newer equipment that might work better than the old.

post #16 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyk View Post
 

 

its like asking why I updated my driver from one that was 10yrs old to the RBZ... i just want the newer equipment that might work better than the old.

It's nothing of the sort.

Wedges are relatively low tech and if your grooves are conforming, they can't be more than a couple of years old anyway. A quality wedge bought today has no technology that didn't exist when CC requirements were introduced.

post #17 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyk View Post
 

 

its like asking why I updated my driver from one that was 10yrs old to the RBZ... i just want the newer equipment that might work better than the old.


I feel you there. I switched out my wedges for a more modern set and a different brand too. The bounce is less and flatter than the older set. I don't dig in too deep when hitting from tight lies as much as I did with the old set. The newer wedges definitely helped my approach (more distance and accuracy from taking less divot), pitching (easier to control and less duffing\sculling), and occasional chipping. All conforming wedges are not created equal.

post #18 of 234
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
 

It's nothing of the sort.

Wedges are relatively low tech and if your grooves are conforming, they can't be more than a couple of years old anyway. A quality wedge bought today has no technology that didn't exist when CC requirements were introduced.

My old wedges were Cobra 3100ih with worn out grooves (still conforming).  They came with my old set, nothing special about them.  Those Cobras were made in like 2006 I think.  Plus, the course i played made me realize that I wanted something a little different than what I have.  It wasn't quite picking the ball as clean as I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAGolfLuvr View Post
 


I feel you there. I switched out my wedges for a more modern set and a different brand too. The bounce is less and flatter than the older set. I don't dig in too deep when hitting from tight lies as much as I did with the old set. The newer wedges definitely helped my approach (more distance and accuracy from taking less divot), pitching (easier to control and less duffing\sculling), and occasional chipping. All conforming wedges are not created equal.

I agree. The bounce has a lot of control on tight lies and you got to have something that feels right.  Its hard to know what that means 'til you get to a course that makes it matter.

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