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Caring About Your Shots (and Playing as Slowly) as Tour Players


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I watched Zach Johnson yesterday taking an ungodly amount of time over an 8 footer. I thought to myself, if anyone in my 4some did that I'd wrap a f***in' club around his neck. So yes, the pros have slowed to a crawl these days.

At the same time, I've never seen any professional just step up to the ball and strike it as many amateur players do.

Of course there's a happy medium but sometimes when I play with high handicappers, it disappoints me that they're so self conscious that they rush their shots to get out of everyone's way. Hey man, you paid your greens fees or membership fee so you deserve a little time to settle into your shots. Were were all at your level at some point.

I'm definitely not a slow player because I play ready golf but I also play my best when I don't rush things.

 

 

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I don’t think he is saying that he is slow. He is just saying that the shots are important to him and he takes time there to focus. He may be fast everywhere else.  I find slow players do everyth

The flaw here is to assume that their shots are better the longer they take to play them. I'm not suggesting for a moment that they simply step up and hit it but they don't need in excess of 5 minutes

So you intentionally don't score as well as you could. Got it. Nice built-in excuse you make for yourself.  Yes, we certainly part ways on that issue. I would take more time if I believed it woul

27 minutes ago, NEhomer said:

At the same time, I've never seen any professional just step up to the ball and strike it as many amateur players do.

They are playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars every week. Amateurs are not. I wouldn't expect them to step up to the ball and strike it as amateurs do, because they aren't amateurs.

A shift in wind speed of a few mph or wind direction can make a difference in the outcome of the shot, especially with how precise they are with their yardages. 

That being said, I do think their is room for improvement in the pace of play for PGA events, but expecting them to step up to the ball and strike it or play ready golf is not something that is going to happen anytime soon, IMO.

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56 minutes ago, klineka said:

They are playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars every week. Amateurs are not. I wouldn't expect them to step up to the ball and strike it as amateurs do, because they aren't amateurs.

A shift in wind speed of a few mph or wind direction can make a difference in the outcome of the shot, especially with how precise they are with their yardages. 

That being said, I do think their is room for improvement in the pace of play for PGA events, but expecting them to step up to the ball and strike it or play ready golf is not something that is going to happen anytime soon, IMO.

The flaw here is to assume that their shots are better the longer they take to play them. I'm not suggesting for a moment that they simply step up and hit it but they don't need in excess of 5 minutes for each shot.

The second assumption is that amateurs shouldn't care as much about their shots. I don't feed my family with mine but for all the effort and expense golf requires, my shots are kind of important too.

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14 minutes ago, NEhomer said:

The flaw here is to assume that their shots are better the longer they take to play them. I'm not suggesting for a moment that they simply step up and hit it but they don't need in excess of 5 minutes for each shot.

He didn't assume that. He's simply saying that at the PGA Tour level, when averaging as little as 3' difference in your proximity to the hole shifts you 100 places on the ranking… that details matter and getting the right wind, the right yardage, etc. take a little more time than a guy who thinks he hits his 7-iron 155 but who usually hits it 140 the few times he actually hits it solid.

Now, they can certainly speed up… and do some of those calculations while the others in the group are playing among other things, but… @klineka wasn't arguing that they be granted five minutes, either. We had a fit over JB Holmes taking 4:30, after all, on the last hole of a tournament, to lay up.

14 minutes ago, NEhomer said:

The second assumption is that amateurs shouldn't care as much about their shots. I don't feed my family with mine but for all the effort and expense golf requires, my shots are kind of important too.

I don't think you're going to win that one. They shouldn't care as much, no, absolutely not. It'd be ridiculous to care as much as they should/do.

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38 minutes ago, iacas said:

He didn't assume that. He's simply saying that at the PGA Tour level, when averaging as little as 3' difference in your proximity to the hole shifts you 100 places on the ranking… that details matter and getting the right wind, the right yardage, etc. take a little more time than a guy who thinks he hits his 7-iron 155 but who usually hits it 140 the few times he actually hits it solid.

Now, they can certainly speed up… and do some of those calculations while the others in the group are playing among other things, but… @klineka wasn't arguing that they be granted five minutes, either. We had a fit over JB Holmes taking 4:30, after all, on the last hole of a tournament, to lay up.

I don't think you're going to win that one. They shouldn't care as much, no, absolutely not. It'd be ridiculous to care as much as they should/do.

Sometimes you seem to argue for the sake of it. In your first paragraph, you seem to be taking me to task while stating the same thing I did. Of course they will take longer.

Your second paragraph is a matter of semantics. Would a million dollar payoff make my shots more important? Of course, but I'm guessing that a player of your caliber doesn't consider extending a pre-shot routine to exhaustive measures simply because his shots just aren't important enough to warrant the time.

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1 hour ago, NEhomer said:

The second assumption is that amateurs shouldn't care as much about their shots.

That's not an assumption. That's a fact. Amateurs shouldn't care as much about their shots as PGA players do. Whether you shoot a 78 or 77, that wont affect much in your life or how much money you make at your job.

1 hour ago, NEhomer said:

my shots are kind of important too.

I'm not saying your shots aren't important to you, I'm saying their shots are more important to them and have a greater impact on their lives than your shots do to you.

In the 2018 Honda Classic a month ago,

Alex Noren finished at -8, and Tommy Fleetwood finished at -7. That one shot difference resulted in a $132,000 difference in earnings for that tournament. (Noren - $448,800 and Fleetwood - $316,800)

Even further down the leaderboard, a one shot difference can make a $40k+ difference in earnings (T13 at +1 earned $123,750 and T17th at +2 earned $86,365). 

Those are huge dollar amounts especially for young guys trying to earn enough money to earn a Tour card, for guys trying to keep tour cards, etc. 

The 10s and 100s of thousands of dollars difference that a single shot makes for a pro is a perfect explanation to why they should take longer than amateurs when playing a shot. Without a doubt, 5 minutes is still excessive, but it's pretty simple, they have more riding on every shot than any amateur has, so I expect them to take longer. 

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33 minutes ago, NEhomer said:

In your first paragraph, you seem to be taking me to task while stating the same thing I did. Paired with your later ridiculous comment about caring as much, it follows that you think PGA Tour players aren't gaining much (hitting better shots) by taking a little time. The 5:00 thing is a non-starter, because nobody is suggesting they take 5:00. But they certainly get to take "enough" time, and more time than amateurs take, not for the least of which reasons that PGA Tour players have conversations with speech with another person, while most amateurs have that conversation in their own heads, which is significantly faster.

No to the first, and you said almost the same thing as @klineka, too.

33 minutes ago, NEhomer said:

Your second paragraph is a matter of semantics. Would a million dollar payoff make my shots more important? Of course, but I'm guessing that a player of your caliber doesn't consider extending a pre-shot routine to exhaustive measures simply because his shots just aren't important enough to warrant the time.

No, it's not. You said "The second assumption is that amateurs shouldn't care as much about their shots." That's not an issue of semantics: there's no way an amateur should care equally as much about their shots as a pro making his living and playing at the highest level does.

No way at all.

Even club pros playing in pro-ams would laugh at the idea that they take it even half as seriously as a PGA Tour pro, and they have a chance to make a few thousand bucks for winning a one-day event.

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50 minutes ago, iacas said:

No to the first, and you said almost the same thing as @klineka, too.

No, it's not. You said "The second assumption is that amateurs shouldn't care as much about their shots." That's not an issue of semantics: there's no way an amateur should care equally as much about their shots as a pro making his living and playing at the highest level does.

No way at all.

Even club pros playing in pro-ams would laugh at the idea that they take it even half as seriously as a PGA Tour pro, and they have a chance to make a few thousand bucks for winning a one-day event.

If everything was about nothing but the money, you may be correct but pros will regularly take financially risky shots in order to try to win a tournament. 

there's no way an amateur should care equally as much about their shots as a pro making his living and playing at the highest level does.

Slice it and dice it anyway you wish but you'll still be stating your opinion and not a fact. For players struggling to hold their cards, it's likely a very accurate belief but winning the U.S. Amateur may very well be more important to a player than a prominent player winning some more money by placing better. 

At that, have at it with the retorts; I've said my piece and I'm not looking for agreement or an argument. Just stating my opinion.

 

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33 minutes ago, NEhomer said:

but winning the U.S. Amateur

@NEhomer, you and I both know that's not the "amateur" that we're talking about.

Please.

Factor those few amateurs in, and the average is still going to be well in favor of "they shouldn't care as much."

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

@NEhomer, you and I both know that's not the "amateur" that we're talking about.

Please.

Factor those few amateurs in, and the average is still going to be well in favor of "they shouldn't care as much."

Let me put it this way.

If your shots mattered to you more, would you take more time over them than you do now? If you say that yes you would, does that suggest that you currently don't score as well as you might simply because you care less?

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6 minutes ago, NEhomer said:

If your shots mattered to you more, would you take more time over them than you do now? If you say that yes you would, does that suggest that you currently don't score as well as you might simply because you care less?

If I was playing for even $1,000, I'd take a little more time over them and I'd score a little bit better.

But that's beside the point: shots don't matter more to the average amateur than they do to the average PGA Tour pro, despite what you keep saying.

I don't lose sleep (or $40,000, or a two-year exemption, etc.) if I shoot 72 instead of 71.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

If I was playing for even $1,000, I'd take a little more time over them and I'd score a little bit better.

But that's beside the point: shots don't matter more to the average amateur than they do to the average PGA Tour pro, despite what you keep saying.

I don't lose sleep (or $40,000, or a two-year exemption, etc.) if I shoot 72 instead of 71.

So you intentionally don't score as well as you could. Got it. Nice built-in excuse you make for yourself. 

Yes, we certainly part ways on that issue. I would take more time if I believed it would help me score better. In essence, my pace is average....when I'm ready, I fire away but I take the most beneficial amount of time that I need. No more, no less. If I believed that taking more time would make me score better, I would.

 

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2 hours ago, NEhomer said:

So you intentionally don't score as well as you could. Got it. Nice built-in excuse you make for yourself.

Really? :blink:

I've never used that as an excuse, nor will I.

I probably give up a shot every few rounds. Why? Because I'm not playing for a living. Because it's a practice round while helping my kid. Hell, sometimes I just pick up my ball or step up and hit a putt without reading it or taking a practice stroke because it's more important to me to watch what she's doing and help her out. Because I'm playing through a group and I want to get off the tee box quickly. Because I'm playing with my college team and more interested in what they're doing than what I might do that day. Not an excuse - just reality.

But even the casual rounds I play with another student or some friends, where I'm actually shooting a score and not worrying about @NatalieB or whomever else, it's just not worth spending an extra ten seconds on every shot to save a half a shot a round or whatever. It's not going to cost me $40,000. It's not going to cost me a spot on the PGA Tour for two years, or even next year. That shot every round or two or three doesn't change my life one iota. Spending ten seconds less on every shot does.

To be clear, I'm not running around the course. I have my pre-shot routine. I usually do it. I give shots a little time, I just don't double-check every number, I don't toss grass in the air and stare at the tree tops, I don't look at my green map from 180 yards out, etc.

2 hours ago, NEhomer said:

Yes, we certainly part ways on that issue. I would take more time if I believed it would help me score better. In essence, my pace is average....when I'm ready, I fire away but I take the most beneficial amount of time that I need. No more, no less. If I believed that taking more time would make me score better, I would.

Okay… But that's not the statement I objected to.

The average amateur both shouldn't and doesn't care as much as the average PGA Tour pro cares about their shots. Even five more seconds per shot with four golfers shooting 85 is 25 more minutes per round (and I only added the 5 seconds to 75 shots, as they'll have about nine tap-ins per round).

All for their lives to also change… not at all.

Except that they'll be 25 minutes later to get back to their wife and children, or annoy the golfers behind them, or whatever…

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2 hours ago, NEhomer said:

So you intentionally don't score as well as you could. Got it. Nice built-in excuse you make for yourself. 

Yes, we certainly part ways on that issue. I would take more time if I believed it would help me score better. In essence, my pace is average....when I'm ready, I fire away but I take the most beneficial amount of time that I need. No more, no less. If I believed that taking more time would make me score better, I would.

 

He is not saying that. When your livelihood depends on the next shot, you are going to focus more. For you and I, shooting an 80 versus 81 is not going to change our life or make us eat Kraft dinner and Ramen instead of fresh food.  It is a different level of importance.

Pros are taking too much time IMO, but we certainly shouldn’t follow suit. 

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Speaking as an average amateur who just steps up and whacks the ball; I will say, without reservation, that the time spent over a shot is not a reliable indication of the thought, or care, that goes into it.  

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(edited)
11 hours ago, iacas said:

Really? :blink:

I've never used that as an excuse, nor will I.

I probably give up a shot every few rounds. Why? Because I'm not playing for a living. Because it's a practice round while helping my kid. Hell, sometimes I just pick up my ball or step up and hit a putt without reading it or taking a practice stroke because it's more important to me to watch what she's doing and help her out. Because I'm playing through a group and I want to get off the tee box quickly. Because I'm playing with my college team and more interested in what they're doing than what I might do that day. Not an excuse - just reality.

But even the casual rounds I play with another student or some friends, where I'm actually shooting a score and not worrying about @NatalieB or whomever else, it's just not worth spending an extra ten seconds on every shot to save a half a shot a round or whatever. It's not going to cost me $40,000. It's not going to cost me a spot on the PGA Tour for two years, or even next year. That shot every round or two or three doesn't change my life one iota. Spending ten seconds less on every shot does.

To be clear, I'm not running around the course. I have my pre-shot routine. I usually do it. I give shots a little time, I just don't double-check every number, I don't toss grass in the air and stare at the tree tops, I don't look at my green map from 180 yards out, etc.

Okay… But that's not the statement I objected to.

The average amateur both shouldn't and doesn't care as much as the average PGA Tour pro cares about their shots. Even five more seconds per shot with four golfers shooting 85 is 25 more minutes per round (and I only added the 5 seconds to 75 shots, as they'll have about nine tap-ins per round).

All for their lives to also change… not at all.

Except that they'll be 25 minutes later to get back to their wife and children, or annoy the golfers behind them, or whatever…

Well we'll just have to disagree. I take the time I need to play as well as I'm capable. It still sounds like you're making an excuse and calling the grapes sour. The closer to par, the more a single stroke counts and we all know that there's more than a one stroke difference between 79 and 80 ...and at your level a 69 is definitely way different than a 70!

I'm also willing to bet that if the pros didn't take forever and a day to play their shots we wouldn't see any significant drop in scoring average.

Edited by NEhomer
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He's not even excusing his results, where are you getting that from? Stop putting words into his replies that are not there.

 

If you score better by taking more time, where do you draw the line? Why not spend 5 minutes on every shot to make sure you've mapped out the green properly, measured the distances a couple of times, found the right club, checked the wind, etc.

 

I don't play for money, so if I shoot 80 or 82 doesn't really matter at the end of the day. I always try to improve, but I won't do that by spending more time before my shots. If I got a handicap of 11 or 12 makes no difference to me. I play golf to have fun and a part of that is prompt play, not spending overly long time on my shots. Erik already gave you a bunch of reasons to not spend as much time on every shot.

 

If you see it differently and would rather spend spend more time for an extra shot or two less, that's fine. But you can't fault others for not doing what you do. If I played golf for a living, I would probably spend more time, but as it is, I do not.

Edited by Zeph
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11 minutes ago, Zeph said:

He's not even excusing his results, where are you getting that from? Stop putting words into his replies that are not there.

 

If you score better by taking more time, where do you draw the line? Why not spend 5 minutes on every shot to make sure you've mapped out the green properly, measured the distances a couple of times, found the right club, checked the wind, etc.

 

I don't play for money, so if I shoot 80 or 82 doesn't really matter at the end of the day. I always try to improve, but I won't do that by spending more time before my shots. If I got a handicap of 11 or 12 makes no difference to me. I play golf to have fun and a part of that is prompt play, not spending overly long time on my shots. Erik already gave you a bunch of reasons to not spend as much time on every shot.

 

If you see it differently and would rather spend spend more time for an extra shot or two less, that's fine. But you can't fault others for not doing what you do. If I played golf for a living, I would probably spend more time, but as it is, I do not.

I can't help but to call BS on ANY golfer who pretends that scoring their very best isn't important to them.

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