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What Would a Top Tour Pro Shoot on a Typical Public Course?


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What's the over/under on the pro being offered swing tips from one of the Ledbetter wannabes that always seem to hang out on the range of the local muni?

Oh my goodness... while it's certainly the case that someone like Stan Utley, Jim Furyk, or Jeev Milka Singh would do quite well at one of these courses, it takes one practice swing for someone to tell them that they'll never break 80 with that motion.

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I watched Todd Hamilton play a local private course shortly after his Open win. This course was very similar to most muni's in terms of difficulty, and maybe a little bit better condition. It seemed like he hit every fairway and only missed a couple greens, but didn't make many putts at all. I'm sure if a pro got used to the course, most of them could shoot low 60's on muni's. First time around, I think most of them would shoot around 2-3 under, assuming a course rating around 70-71.
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My friend caddied for Jerry Kelly at a course close by, and he set the coarse record shooting a 62. Even when shooting this, my friend said he made some ridiculous shots.
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I have two experiences:

Kenny Perry plays a course I play frequently in Paducah,KY (6800+/71.3/127) and he usually shoots mid 60's consistently. I think his best round is 63, two of the course record.

Steve Flesch, Lee Trevino, and Fuzzy Zoeller all played Jeffersonville Elks CC ( 6911/73.1/130) just outside Louisville, KY where I sometimes play. None of them have shot under 64. I think they shoot 65-68 pretty consistently, though.
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I might have to amend my previous opinion downward. Depends on the definition of typical. The public courses I play in the Miami area are decent length and obviously at sea level. But the past few weeks I've been traveling and miraculously gained quite a bit of distance. Altitude makes all the difference and it doesn't have to be Denver. I've played in West Virginia, North Carolina and New York, often hitting half wedges into par 4s and less than a 3 wood into par 5s. No kidding, on those type public courses a mid level pro would feast. Even for my level there have been tons of birdie opportunities. Too bad I don't read the greens as well when it's non-Bermuda.

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I was up north at Treetops Resort earlier in the year, and they have some framed scorecards posted on the wall. Now this is not the typical public course, or muni. It is more like what the pros are used to playing. But interesting info nonetheless. One card had Lee Janzen firing a 63, with Rick Smith shooting 67 or 68. (guess he can play a bit too, not just teach) There was another from Janzen shooting a 64. One with Mickelson carding 63 or 64, with another 68 from Rick Smith. These guys obviously, were playing from the tips. I had just played the Smith course that at least one of these cards had come from, and I played the Blue tees. I think I shot 75 or 76, and was extremely happy with it. But of course I was brought back down to earth, after I saw those scores.

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I think, to sum this up, if a typical touring pro is a +4 to +5 cap, and the course is rated a 73, then you could expect them to shoot a 68 on a typical good day. Of course, they could certainly fire off a 63 or something like that - but just as easily shoot 73.
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I think, to sum this up, if a typical touring pro is a +4 to +5 cap, and the course is rated a 73, then you could expect them to shoot a 68 on a typical good day. Of course, they could certainly fire off a 63 or something like that - but just as easily shoot 73.

I think if it is a typical public course, setup in a typical manner the chance of them shooting a 73 would be very slim. With wide fairways and more readily available pins, they would be able to fire at them all day. I would say the likelyhood of a 63 would be much greater then the likelyhood of a 73.

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I played with a few guys out there that I would consider to be top pros. I agree that 73 is not likely but if you are having a bad day anything is possible. A 63 or 62 implies that they are putting well that day too so I would say throw that out. I think that so much depends on the type of player (steady golfer or pin shooter) and how they are playing that day.

In sum, I would say that 66 or 67 is going to be what you see as a good day for them but don't be surprised to see a stroke or two over par if they are off.
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  • 11 years later...
1 hour ago, jamo said:

I know this is an old thread that recently got bumped (glad to see I didn't say anything dumb a decade+ ago), but in 2007, Steve Marino played a DC-area goat track: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/01/AR2007070101221.html?referrer=emailarticle

Yeah, this thread brought back some memories.  Good to see, at least in this thread, I didn't say anything bad over a decade ago.  

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The only defense Sugar Hill Golf Club would have against these guys would be that if the ball goes into the woods, it stays in the woods.

They could hunt for three hours and not find balls that literally hit the fairway and caromed into the woods.  The briars are thick and plentiful, and many of the wooded areas run steeply downhill.  The ninth fairway is a great example of this; if you hit it in the middle of the fairway, it is all but certain to run downhill into a ravine that is probably home to over a million dollars worth of golf balls.  It is a literal black hole for golf balls.  Of course, they would probably just take it over the trees in the dogleg and have about 120 yards in, so there's that.

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  • Moderator
14 hours ago, jamo said:

I know this is an old thread that recently got bumped (glad to see I didn't say anything dumb a decade+ ago), but in 2007, Steve Marino played a DC-area goat track: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/01/AR2007070101221.html?referrer=emailarticle

I played that course in college back in 1980. It was a goat track then. The only cool things were seeing the monuments in the distance and a very cool statue called The Awakening that you could see on the east end. It looked like a giant coming up out of the ground. The course was in terrible shape too. It needs a lot of love to get it back.

6EB321E7-1347-4F13-9620-DF3FED071E02.jpeg

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"Do they have spectators to find the balls they hit into the woods?"  This is a big one, in my opinion.  While watching the recent Open, I often wondered how long it would take me or you to find a ball hit into that really long, thick stuff, while pros have spotters and spectators to help out.

Course conditioning is a big one too.  A while back the city allowed our Donald Ross muni to dry out for a while.  When I say that a six inch putt could break six inches, I'm not kidding.

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