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bones75

How good is a +4.2?

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12 hours ago, Groucho Valentine said:

+4.2 is pretty much maxed out. I think it only goes down to +4.5. You can reasonably expect him to shoot around even par. But even plus handicaps are still amateurs, so you never really know. Even in my days when i was playing +3 golf, id still have rounds where i shot like 80 or something. 

Wow! That is an eye opener.  Now I don't feel so bad when I shoot in the 90's! 

With regards to the OP's Q's: If he can shoot his handicap in any of the course, that's one thing.  But if his handicap does not travel well, that is entirely a different story.  Some people's handicap travels very well, meaning they can shoot near their handicap on any course.  Others have a home course handicap where they are much worse on a course they are not familiar with.

 

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At my home course I’m close to scratch, but my traveling game is a 2-3 handicap.  This is why pros are so goid, they can play any course anytime and short game travels.  It always takes me a few rounds to get my short game adapted to a new course, which is also weak part of my game for now,

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To give you an idea of the types of scores PGA Tour players shoot, here is Phil Mickelson's USGA handicap sheet from 2013:

phil_handicap.png.314cdf297afa408c971730070f5e4a65.png

As you can see, Phil was a +5.2 but had been as low as +7.2 (very stout). Remember, a Tour player's game has to travel. These guys shoot low numbers on courses they aren't familiar with, or they see one week each year. That's hard.  These are scores Phil posted in Tour events as well as at his home course.  Get this...Phil's brother carries a +3.7, and he's not even a pro!

At one point around 2005 or 2006 Tiger's handicap was calculated to be +7.9.  Jim Furyk had the next lowest handicap at +6.7.  If they were playing in a 4-day handicapped event, Tiger would have to spot Furyk 5 shots for the tournament!

Some other examples (from 2013): Aaron Baddeley +6.2; Martin Kaymer +5.8; Kevin Streelman +6.2; Paul Casey +4.6; Billy Mayfair +5.2; Chez Reavie +4.5; and Geoff Ogilvy+6.2.  It's been roughly calculated that the guys on the bottom of the money list who barely keep their card are at about +4.0.

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On 4/9/2019 at 7:30 PM, bones75 said:

A friend is playing with a +4.2 index player in a few weeks. He's a Korean player in his early 20's who plays in Jeju, S. Korea. 9 Bridges is his home course that he established his index on (it's a pro tour stop in Asia). He does wants to go pro.

How good is that again?  Like what would you guess he'd shoot on a 7000 yard muni, rated 73/130?  They're playing 9 bridges together, but I was more interested in what a +4.2 shoots on my course.

A legitimate +4.2 is no doubt PGA TOUR worthy, the grinder that keeps his status making enough money and finishes the season safely under the 125 mark.

Playing a 20 something year old +4.2 at the course your friend grew up on, your friend may keep pace, not to mention may actually beat him. I've actually had played in the exact scenario myself. However, there is a clear reason I'm am still a golf professional, and those guys are still professional golfers on the PGA Tour.

To put this simply, the commercial we've all seen said it all "These guys are good". And even though the player in your scenario is a 20something on the Asian Tour, he got there for a reason. 

To answer your question, I'd say, playing a course hes never seen, he could realistically shoot anywhere from 6under to 2over. No matter what, he'd still beat your friend. 

I share that prediction with confidence because I've been in that very spot. I've played a number of past and current PGA Tour players on my turf. I held my own, but only because of my local knowledge. 

I'm still working as a golf professional, while they are still making their living as a professional golfer.

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Like everyone said, if that handicap can travel and it´s from tournaments only that´s an impresive player with some tour future.
If not.. it´s just a good amateur and he should study and think about another way to earn his money. 

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+4 can absolutely get you to the PGA tour, but as has been mentioned, there are tons of extenuating circumstances.   

1) Tournament golf is an entirely different animal.  not just the pressure, but...   if you shoot 68,82,68,67 (on an average course), your handicap will stay at +4.   However, you just got cut in a 4-day tournament.   

2) where does he play, and how does length affect his game?  Can he average 280 with his drives?  because if he averages 250, he'll never keep up.   Again, depending on where he typically plays, he could reasonably carry a +4 and be a short driver.   

Edited by lastings

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It’s really good. I know a +3 ish guy and he shot a 67 just messing around and drinking a few beers on a course he’d never played. 

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The only way to tell how good they really are is to look at their Anti-Handicap. Yes, they are obviously a very good player but the difference between the +4.2 that makes it on tour and the +4.2 who can't make it on tour is their Anti-Handicap. How good are their worst rounds. 

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Players who are a +4.2 handicap are capable of playing on Tour, but it strongly depends on their level of consistency. +4.2 is not going to make you one of the elite by any means, but it is enough to make it onto the tour and grind out a living IF you are a +4.2 who consistently plays to their handicap in tournaments without any scores much worse than a +2 differential or so. 

Here's a good slideshow from 2014 listing the handicap indexes of multiple different tour pros (some from the senior tour): https://www.golf.com/photos/handicaps-pga-tour-pros

 

A summary from the slideshow (because I hate that format):

  • Bubba Watson - +7.7 at Isleworth Country Club
  • Phil Mickelson - +6.9 at Whisper Rock Golf Club (+6.3 currently, low H.I. of +7.1)
  • Tim Herron - +4.8 at Whisper Rock Golf Club
  • Paul Casey - +6 at Whisper Rock Golf Club
  • Fred Funk - +2.3 at Pablo Creek Golf Club
  • Aaron Baddeley - +4.7 at Whisper Rock Golf Club
  • Jim Furyk - +5.8 at Pablo Creek Golf Club
  • Geoff Ogilvy - +5.8 at Whisper Rock Golf Club
  • Martin Kaymer - +6.6 at Whisper Rock Golf Club
  • Paul Goydos - +4.6 at Dove Canyon Golf Club
  • Tom Pernice - +4.6 at Bear Creek Golf Club

Other pros with known handicaps (source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/yes-some-tour-pros-have-a-handicap-phils-is-52) include Kevin Streelman (+5.3), Paul Casey (+3.9), Billy Mayfair (+3.7), and Chez Reavie (+4.5).

Back onto the point about consistency, at my best I had a handicap index of +2.3 but I wouldn't consider myself anywhere near as good of a golfer as Fred Funk was in 2014. In my last 20 rounds at that point I had about 2 rounds at a +4-5 differential, 5 rounds at between a +2 and +3 differential, 7 rounds at about a 0 differential, and the other 6 were between 1 and 6 for the differential.

If I played in a PGA Tour tournament where the course rating was a 74, I could have expected to score 75-80 about 30% of the time. I would have shot about 74 about 35% of the time, 71-72 about 25% of the time, and 69 or 70 about 10% of the time. In other words, my average score on a PGA Tour track would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 74-76ish. To make the cut I'd have to shoot a 70 or better two days in a row, at the very least, leaving me with literally a 1% chance of making the cut if we want to be generous (10% chance of shooting 69-70 happening twice in a row is 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.01).

This, of course, discounts the fact that there's a big difference between the tournaments where I got my handicap index from (junor events like RMJGT and AJGA, as well as local qualifiers) and PGA Tour tournaments. The odds of me scoring the same as I did in much more relaxed events is relatively low considering my already inconsistent scoring.

On the other hand, if someone with a +4.2 handicap has all of their last 20 differentials between +3 and +5 they might have a more realistic shot. They'd be a consistent enough scorer that they could, potentially, make a living from professional golf because they can grind out scores in the 60's day in and day out. They have to be capable of shooting their handicap differential, however, even in adverse conditions. They'll see the course for the first time on Monday, they'll be jetlagged, there will be television crews, there will be crowds and the crowd will never be quiet or well-behaved as you'd like them to be, you will have to take time out of your day for drug tests, media appearances, and other "non-golf" items. 

Point being, a +4.2 could potentially play on tour but only if they're a +4.2 at any course in the world with any level of pressure/distraction and they rarely (maybe 1-2 per revision) post a score with a differential worse than +3.

A great example of how good players can be without being capable of making it on the tour, and an example of the huge gap between pros and even the best amateurs, can actually be seen in this course vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyyC6guJJl0

That vlog is actually a 3 part series, but to spare you the trouble Jon Rahm is playing with the YouTuber and the course owner. Neither the course owner nor Rahm warmed up (there is no range at the course in the video, at least not when the video was filmed) and the course owner went out and shot a 5-under 67. Jon Rahm was messing around for a media event, talking during his swings, and set a course record by shooting a 10-under 62. 

This no-name amateur can shoot an incredible round of golf while smoking cigars and screwing around, yet he still isn't good enough to go pro because you can see he still got beaten black and blue by an actual Tour professional. It's really hard for most people to picture just how good tour pros are, but I think videos like that are a great example that puts it into perspective (see also Graeme McDowell playing with @David in FL and shooting 63 at Lake Nona, also while talking during shots and generally not paying attention to the game).

Comparing myself to that, I went out to play "two" rounds of golf today for fun (played 2 balls at once) and shot 71 and 70 in similar conditions without a warmup beforehand. This was, however, on a municipal course that only measures 6,800 yards (rather than a championship golf course) and there's absolutely no way I would have come close to shooting 65 or better like it was nothing. FWIW, I'm doubtful that I'm a plus handicap golfer anymore but it still gives some perspective considering the best handicap I ever attained.

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It's one thing shooting even or better with your friends with $20 on the line. It's quite another in a tournament, let alone on tour where hundreds of thousands are on the line, not to mention thousands and for the big guys, millions of eyes.

In the side games, the worst I can record for handicap purposes is a double. As Sam Snead said, "we've got to play our foul balls". Big numbers can, and will, come into play for scratch. And even for touring pros, the old snowman isn't our of the question.

I like what dgrn3387 said. Look at the anti-handicap. Having mentioned Scott Parel as a +7 at our club, while the over/under on him on any given day was 65, I never saw [well over 100 rounds] anything worse than 69. And he was in his late 40's at the time.

Touring pros are in another solar system.

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I have no idea who the guy is or any other info other than his index. I was just trying to gauge how good are the "+" index players, so the replies were definitely helpful. My buddy who is playing is an exec who is doing business with a big S. Korean company, and this round is a "perk" of sorts. (A) getting to play 9 Bridges and (B) getting to play with the tour aspiring +4.2 dude.  I get the feeling the +4.2's name is googleable, so if I get it and there's any interesting story from the round, I'll post it here.

Edited by bones75

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