Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

The Difference Between a Club Pro and a Pro Golfer

Published

on

Omar Uresti recently won the PGA Professional Championship. The victory caused quite an uproar due to the fact that Uresti has spent a good part of his life as a playing professional golfer, with nearly 400 starts on the PGA Tour.

Before we allow for differences of opinion on this subject, we should note that the fault, if there is one, is not Uresti’s. He was perfectly in his right to play, because he’s qualified by the bylaws of the PGA of America, the organization that conducted the event. The question on many people’s mind is should Uresti, or any former or current touring professional, be allowed to compete against full-time club professionals?

As a lifetime club pro, I’m of course biased, but I do not believe that golfers who play the game for a living exclusively should be allowed to compete against club professionals. Club professionals are employed by a club for the purpose of running the operation, teaching, directing tournament operations, or any other duties the club requires. They are employees of the club and their primary duties include any of the above. Professional golfers, by comparison, are independent contractors whose sole concern is their game. The vast majority of their days are dedicated entirely to practicing and playing golf.  Therein lies the difference and hence the controversy; it’s simply not a level playing field.

Omar Uresti played the PGA Tour, albeit without a win or lasting status, for many years.  No matter, he was never and is still not a club pro. “Giving free tips to the members where I play and practice,” as he says he does, does not qualify one to be a club professional. The 28,000 men and women golf professionals who are, as the PGA of America puts it, “dedicated to establishing and elevating the standards of the profession and growing interest and participation in the game of golf” should have their own championship, plain and simple.

Uresti’s talent speaks for itself. Anyone who can earn a living entirely on their golf skills is playing this game at a level many people do not understand. That level is well above the average club pro, and even above the development tours. Just tee it up sometime with a professional golfer and you’ll see a game of which you’re not familiar. The power, the touch, the deft putting; it’s awesome to observe.

On a personal note, I played with Tiger Woods one day, and as amazing as it was, I was quickly reminded why I teach the game and not play it for a living. We could take it one step further and compare the Web.com Tour players to PGA Tour players, and while the difference may not be as obvious, there IS a difference. It’s one flubbed chip, one hooked tee shot out of bounds, or one missed putt in a round.

Players of Uresti’s caliber have plenty of events around the world and play for plenty of money. They should not be allowed to compete against club pros who, by definition, do not and cannot play for a living.

Your Reaction?
  • 1014
  • LEGIT146
  • WOW14
  • LOL17
  • IDHT9
  • FLOP17
  • OB12
  • SHANK106

Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

77 Comments

77 Comments

  1. Mark

    Jul 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Not true at all. Two examples that disprove your theory: Greg Norman and Larry Nelson. They both took the game up “late” in life in terms of putting in the hours to be a tour professional. Norman played other sports before taking up golf, in which he became a scratch golfer very quickly. Nelson did not take up golf until after serving a tour of duty in Vietnam. Plus, there are plenty of college players and mini tour players that put in tons of practice hours but never make it on tour.

  2. Russell

    Jun 30, 2017 at 8:52 am

    You can’t have it both ways, your either a pro or amateur! Take your medicine and stop whining

    You could win a get a naff golf bag 🙁

  3. Devilsadvocate

    Jun 30, 2017 at 1:59 am

    Oh yea? Look up the guy who tried to practice golf for 10k hours and see where that got him… takes more than time it takes talent… tour pros have the talent

  4. SS

    Jun 29, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    There is a simple way to end this. The PGA should get rid of A-3 classification. If touring pro’s really want to play in our national, section and chapter events then they can enter into the PGM program and work at a PGA recognized facility for what usually amounts to 60+ hours a week for very little pay and barely enough time to hit balls or even play golf. Mind you on top of insane work hours you will still need to complete 3-5 years of level 1-2 and 3 book work. Guys like Omar get to hit balls and play golf all day every day and for some reason he gets to wear the same badge that so many of us busted our rear ends to earn. I challenge him to do any of the most basic of tasks. How about log into TPP and set up a member/guest tournament. Good luck!

    • TG

      Jul 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      From one club pro to another….This is the greatest comment of all time! TPP is a blessing and a curse but there is no way that any of the tour players could could set up a tourny or purchase merchandise and have to deal with the invoices while trying to run a league at the same time.

    • Ken Allard

      Feb 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      Nice post.

  5. ooffa

    Jun 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    That’s not true!

  6. Marc

    Jun 29, 2017 at 11:57 am

    As a PGA of America Class A professional I am perfectly fine with Omar winning the PNC at Sunriver. I can admit when I got beat (played poorly enough to not even make the cut out there). The guys who are whining about Omar winning are the same guys who whine about the guys in their section who win mostly everything and every one of the 41 sections has these players. Common things I hear are “they must be playing everyday”, “they must do nothing but practice all day”, “they don’t spend any time in the shop or running tournaments’, etc, etc. Been hearing this for years and I’m only 31. The guys who are better players are by and large good players because they either a) have been a good player for a very long time regardless whether they spent time on a major tour or not, b) make their game one of their priorities by taking the time the vast majority of PGA professionals do not take or c) have access to facilities/personnel to be able to take that next step of golf ability. I can give several examples of A just in my section or neighboring MET section alone but I firmly believe and have personally witnessed B over and over so many times it is almost depressing. Yes the golf business is not as much fun as everyone outside it thinks it is. Yes there are long hours. Yes you do not have the time to devote to your own game that one would like. But the guys who are good players (yes even the ones who are former touring professionals and there are plenty of them) have to constantly work on their games or risk falling by the wayside. Contrary to the opinion of these article which basically claims every club pro is a hack, there are some very good players in every section. Bad players are afraid someone is going to take their money “unfairly”. Good players welcome the challenge as it only elevates their game.

  7. DK

    Jun 29, 2017 at 10:33 am

    There really should be a separate classification for club pros who are ‘playing pros’. These would be the guys/girls ineligible to play in amateur events. I really don’t understand why we cannot have PGA members who maintain amateur status? You have all the benefits of the PGA (you know, like your free magazine) but don’t compete for prize money.

  8. The dude

    Jun 29, 2017 at 5:50 am

    $1 says OU will be playing the champions Tour in 2 years

    • justin case

      Jun 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      That will be a tuff go. They give a limited number of cards out and if you do not earn one, you will not be playing. No road to the Champions unless a former player has made at least 15M in their PGA Tour career or you play well enough to get one of the cards at Qschool.

  9. Jalan

    Jun 28, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Do you also believe someone who played as a professional should never be able to regain his amateur status? If, as you say, playing pros are on a completely different level than club pros, and you cite their responsibilities as pros as a reason. If this holds true, then how can pros justifiably be allowed to return to amateur status. Their games haven’t changed. Yet, many pros club, mini tour etc. do just that.

    Either you are a professional, or you aren’t. If you don’t like the rules, petition to have them changed. However, until that happens, I don’t think it’s fair or decent of you to complain and criticize someone in a public forum.

  10. Chris Hansen

    Jun 28, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    It would seem the question is, if it’s open only to club pros, how did OU qualify under that status?

    Seems like we’ve glossed over that detail to support the Mr. Clark’s argument, but it’s worth mentioning.

    Mr Clark is fundamentally sound, however – this would be like the varsity player being allowed to compete at the JV level.

    I went to a private high school in New England that had a nationally ranked hockey team. My Sophomore year, our best player made the 1984 Olympic team as a starting center. He was already an amazing player in HS, and this was in a a HIGHLY competitive league that routinely graduated kids with full-ride scholarships @ D1 schools and NHL contracts. When this kid came back form the Olympics mid-season, they allowed him to play, but put him on Defense. He scored 8 goals his first game and they had no choice but to bench him for the rest of the season.

    There is no comparison when you’re talking about athletic performance at this level.

  11. dennis clark

    Jun 28, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Authors note: I’m pushing 70 years young so there is NO personal animosity or bitterness just a suggestion to the PGA. FYI, A-3 members pay minimal dues, have no continuing education requirements and no club affiliation or responsibilities. The point is lets have a national championship for guys who work a club for a living. Just sayin…

    • peterpro

      Jul 2, 2017 at 11:47 pm

      Thankyou…… the PGA should eliminate the A3 member…. it is not fair they do not have any education or emplyment requirements like all the other members????

  12. moses

    Jun 28, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Omar Uresti was once a top 100 player. Geez why don’t we let the likes of Tiger and other former #1s do the same thing that Uresti did. Yes that would be just awesome.

  13. larry

    Jun 28, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    I see my teaching pro on the range at the club 50 -60 hours a week and he’s supposed to compete with guys like Omar and Small who play and practice all day? Great article Dennis and it’s a joke that those guys can play in tournaments like this against guys who actually work all day.

  14. Rwj

    Jun 28, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Should tour pros be able to play in a club championship? By this authors tone, they shouldn’t. They play golf for a living, then come to the club to beat the everyday members for a club championship

  15. Simon

    Jun 28, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Perhaps the current rules don’t capture the intent of the PGA tournament being run by and for club pros. However if a pro formerly played on tour, but is now plying his trade as a club pro, how would you react? Surely those pro golfers who don’t quite make it on tour usually go back to being teaching pros at golf clubs. What is the problem there? Even if they had extensive experience on professional tours, they are still club pros now. It sounds like Uresti isn’t in this category, but I don’t think you are going to eliminate the problem completely by confining qualifying to club pros only.

  16. Shortside

    Jun 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Completely agree. I was wondering why the rules hadn’t been changed.

  17. JC

    Jun 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    The PGA is a labor union and they hate anyone or anything that threatens their way of life.

  18. Stephen T

    Jun 28, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    2nd place guy won a tourney for $100K first place last year – 3rd place has 2 W’s on the Web.com tour – maybe by the time we get to 9th place we will get someone acceptable to the author??

  19. Old Putter

    Jun 28, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Pros break par, club pros should be able to break par…
    stop whining

  20. Jerry Dussel

    Jun 28, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I was a professional golfer for a few years but couldn’t make it so I just bought my amateur status back from the USGA for $34 and won some decent am tournaments

  21. Paul McMillan

    Jun 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Dennis,
    You cant have it both ways.
    If I was a member of the PGA I am a member regardless of what I do as a golfer. Club pros and touring pros are just the same-pros. Some are better than others so they make a higher income touring the tournaments. There are abundant examples of club pros and assistant pros making a highly successful career on the tour. Ian Poulter springs to mind immediately. I would also argue that many touring pros on the lower circuits and the lower end of the PGA and other world tours earn significantly less than some senior pros in the exclusive clubs of the US.

    • Jam

      Jun 29, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      What are you even talking about? Club pros are not the same as touring pros. Club pros have to work in the golf industry, touring pros only have to work on their own game. It’s night and day different. The issue is that there are work requirements that touring pros don’t have to adhere to.

  22. ROY

    Jun 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    It was a phenomenal day for one lucky golfer at Sunnybrook Golf Club.

    One hundred thirty-seven professionals and 11 amateurs teed off Tuesday at the Haverford Trust Philadelphia PGA Classic, but only one man took home the $100,000 grand prize – the largest prize of any one-day local PGA tournament in the country. (From June 2016)

    Seems 2nd place finisher has won more that Omar here lately – Maybe he should not have been allowed to play

    • bms

      Jun 28, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      But Roy he was completing again club pros like myself not touring pros

      • ROY

        Jun 29, 2017 at 10:31 am

        Third place has 2 Web.com victories, 5th place has made 2 of 3 cuts in PGA tour events this year. These are guys still playing at an elite level – not against guys running scramples and selling merchandise

  23. leo vincent

    Jun 28, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Omar Uresti has no status on any major pro tour.It’s not like Dustin Johnson going out and beating up on club pro’s.Also he is not exactly in his prime at 48 yrs old.He should be allowed to play

    • Jam

      Jun 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      It has nothing to do with being in someone’s prime, it’s the fact that he doesn’t work in the golf industry. He plays golf full-time. Everyone else has to maintain certain hours at a job within the industry.

  24. David Hueber, Ph.D.

    Jun 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Dennis,

    You made a number of valid points in your article, “The Difference Between a Club Pro and A Pro Golfer.” I am sympathetic because of my PGA roots…my dad was a club pro. However, I also worked for the PGA TOUR back in the day when the PGA TOUR and the PGA got divorced and remarried over who was going to control the brand name, PGA. The final settlement was that they would share it. PGA TOUR Properties was created to segregate and market both brands. At the heart of the issue was the access of PGA members to the PGA TOUR. As part of that agreement, the Tournament Players Series was created to provide greater access for PGA members to play professional golf and the number of spots for PGA members on the PGA TOUR was reduced. Lastly, 20 PGA members would be eligible to play in the PGA Championship and former PGA TOUR members would be eligible to play in PGA events. In my opinion, it probably makes sense to have some time period before PGA TOUR members can play PGA events, just as the USGA does before former PGA TOUR can regain their amateur status.

    • farmer

      Jun 28, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Hogan had a job as a head pro at various country clubs prior to WW2. Very common in those days.

  25. M Singleton

    Jun 28, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    As a former PGA Professional, I feel like this article was a waste of my time. Omar Uresti has every right to compete in this event. It’s funny reading some of the ridiculous comments made. There’s always at least one sore loser in the crowd. It’s more than unfair to point fingers at Omar because of his role at a club. I would bet there are many in this event who are “vanity pros” who entertain their members with their games, connections to exclusive clubs, etc.. It was not a shock to see comments made about Mike Small. Come on people! Omar and Mike are obviously talented, and have chosen to be club pros – IT’S THEIR CHOICE! It doesn’t matter how many events they have competed in. There are rules established for those wishing to be reinstated to amateur status. There are no rules for tour pros becoming club pros. Club pros play in many PGA Tour/web.com tour events each year. Reminds me of golfers who say teams weren’t fair because we didn’t win. Thanks for giving me a great laugh…

    • Jam

      Jun 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      You don’t get it. How is Omar a club pro? He doesn’t do anything but work on his own game. He is exactly the same (minus the nominal annual dues) as a college kid who just graduated and turns pro. They both work on their own game only and play in the tournaments they can.

  26. Rick Kimbrell

    Jun 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Like it or not, Uresti qualified under the current rules as they are written. He should be allowed to play. Looks like the PGA needs to take a look at the qualifications and make some changes. Until they do, other “club pros” in similar situations to Uresti can try to take advantage of the rules as they are written today. Just like in the Rules of Golf…sometimes you can use them to your advantage and other times you get penalized. Uresti used the PGA qualification rules to his advantage.

  27. JJVas

    Jun 28, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Welcome Dennis and other PGA members! This is what we working Am’s get to do in club championships, state and regional Am’s, and my favorite, the new and unimproved mid-am, where I get to play against 25-year old (instead of 30-year old) former pros. Again, welcome!

  28. Jim

    Jun 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Let me know when he doesn’t touch his own clubs for a week and a half before the 3 day memeber guest, helps wash golf cars or load bags more than once a season…or plays first 10 rounds of the season with half a brain plugged in because he’s training kids to be caddies.

    There are still elite clubs that value competitive pros, assistants and teachers who are practically immune from operational duties who play virtually everyday, every week in section events and every pro-am with members…God bless em. Good work if you can get it. I’m in probably the best section for that, but I can tell you we lost 60+% of THOSE jobs during the crash, and still have NOT fully recovered.
    Someone would raise this issue in section meetings about “who actually WORKED as an assistant” rather than a semi-sponsored full time player, and would be routinely shot down by the director or board…

    (no doubt most of whom hoped they might get that gig one day)…

    • Jim

      Jun 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      …there’s also an entirely different ability to perform in front of the world as opposed to a few hundred people – many of whom you recognize.

      There’s been more than a few guys who couldn’t quite make that transition. ‘Someone I knew’ used to play often with an assistant at one of the nicest toughest courses around and even as a legit +2 would get creamed there, Winged Foot – any of the best tri-state courses they’d get to play as guests.

      The shark in the story won a few pretty notable (not PGA) events and absolutely earned spots in a couple tour events.

      I played with him @ one of the most famed NE courses – with ‘one foot in the rough’ from the blacks where he shot a 63 and crushed us – not 2 weeks before carding 86/NC in the big show…

      I beleive that if he had some kinda ‘Bad Hair Wimberly’ big time sponsor for a year to not do anything but travel, play & practice, he could if absolutely made a fine living on tour

    • JC

      Jun 28, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      Union guys hate free market guys….

  29. Bob Parsons

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    College coaches are glorified recruiters and chaperones. Mike Small is only allowed to compete due to the Illinois PGA granting college coaches PGA Member Status. He should NOT be competing against club pros.

  30. Tim Rice

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    If club pro’s can’t compete with PGA tour pro’s, then why bother allowing them entry into the PGA Championship?

    • Bob Parsons

      Jun 28, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Same reason Augusta National lets the Mid-Am Champ in every year… Because they make the rules and they say so. Before this year no Mid-Am Champ had ever made the cut. Just so happens Hagestad (former USC Trojan) plays every day and “works in finance”.

      • ROY

        Jun 28, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        HOw many club pros made the cut in the last 2 or 3 PGA’s??

  31. Scott

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    At least you see head to head how a club pro stacks up. Sure, it is a feel good story to let them into the PGA, but they have zero chance. You might as well hand out exemptions to the club pros that sell the most merch or do the most charity work.

  32. N. D. Boondocks

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Mostly, I would like to know WHY Omar wanted to play in this. A cynic would say he just finally wanted to win ‘something’. I’m not a great golfer, but I can play decently. I can assure you I wouldn’t get any satisfaction at all by beating a beginner in a head-to-head match. And that’s kind of the ability difference this author is pointing to.

    • Duh

      Jun 28, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      How about a spot into the PGA championship, for a start.

      • BJ

        Jun 29, 2017 at 10:08 am

        Exactly.

        And a good finish in the PGA Championship can start the ball rolling to get his career re-booted.

  33. Patricknorm

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Excellent article. This is simply a PGA tour pro taking advantage of the nuanced rules.
    Yes, there are a handful of working club professionals who might occasionally have the game to briefly compete against a seasoned tour pro. These club pros qualify to play the PGA championships each summer. It’s a reward for their dedication and skill to the game and yet they all have full time club duties.
    If a club pro was good enough, committed enough and financially stable to compete in 30 events each season, then they would. You just have to accept that a top 150 touring pro is far ahead of a club pro.

  34. KoreanSlumLord

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Nowadays club pros are pro shop shirt stackers who hardly play. Things have changed so much since I took the game up in the 80’s. I tell my friends and family to steer clear of the club pros for lessons and to see independent coaches if they want to bring their game to the next level. I wish things were not this way, but I miss the days when the club pros were out every day giving lessons on the tee and playing lessons on the course. The club pros are inside now.

    • TR1PTIK

      Jun 28, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      Not sure where you are seeing this because I know for a fact that my club pro is very busy. Perhaps this could be true at private country clubs where drumming up business is not the primary or sole responsibility of the pro, but every public course pro I’ve spoken with stays busy. They have far too much to do to keep dollars flowing in and engaging with the local community.

  35. BJ

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Personally, I’d draw the line this way: If you had status on the PGA Tour or European Tour in the past 5 years or played in 12 or more combined events on the PGA Tour, European Tour, Web.com Tour, or Challenge Tour in any calendar year in the past 3 years, you are not allowed to compete in the CPC. And if you’ve won any event that awards OWGR points in the past ten years, you are ineligible.

    Additionally, CPC competitors must have a legitimate job at a PGA recognized facility or coach collegiate golf.

    I think that’s a pretty simple fix that eliminates most of the problems.

    If a web.com player legit retires from competing and starts folding shirts for five years, then plays, that’s fine.

  36. Jam

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I agree, I used to be in the golf business and watched a current web.com player dust the rest of us in our State Open. Must have been fun and challenging for him. I think the issue isn’t whether someone used to play on the tour or not, but that they should be employed and meet the minimum hours everyone else is held to. The fact that his only job is working on his game, while everyone else is folding shirts and making tee times makes it feel askew. I agree with the Mike Small argument too, that job doesn’t make sense to me either. He coaches and fund raises for approximately 10 players. I’m not sure how that job is remotely like that of an assistant class A professional who runs junior camps and member-guest tournaments.

  37. Kim

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:47 am

    This is very similar to professional golfers regaining their amateur status and then competing against amateurs who have full time careers not in golf. The former professional will have dedicated many years to just playing and competing and that is not the same as working 40 hours per week at another job and playing/practicing on weekends and dark evenings. I wonder what Dennis Clark thinks about that.

    • Flatstick

      Jun 28, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Yes. There are ‘professional’ amateurs and it’s nearly impossible to consistently hang with them. Sounds like Uresti is a ‘professional’ club pro. Same concept. Theroot question is what drives the definition? Status or occupation?

  38. TG65

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Dennis, I agree with your “complaint” about ex-Tour Players competing against Club Pros. By extension of your argument, Club Pros should not be allowed to play in the PGA Championship unless they qualify as any other player must. It is crazy to allow 20 inferior (according to your own statements) players to compete in one of golf’s four majors.

  39. Jacked_Loft

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Have to agree with you on this. Our club pros can strike it good, but just can’t score as good as a full timer. Kind of like top NCAA or Walker Cup players showing up at the Thursday afternoon men’s pickup.

  40. Judge Smeills

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I dont get it, most good club pro players are former mini tour players

    Mike Small played a number of years on the PGA and Web.com tours. He now coaches college players but I am sure he plays a lot of competitive rounds with his players

    If Mike had won instead of Omar would you have written the same article?

  41. jason01

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:14 am

    He is well within his rights to play, How many times has Mike Small won and no gripe at all. He also played for a living before his coaching job.

  42. Trip

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:10 am

    This is how nearly all us mid-ams feel when playing against former pros that have regained their amateur status. Welcome to the club.

    • Flatstick

      Jun 28, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Yep

    • Eric

      Jun 29, 2017 at 12:08 am

      Exactly. The mid-am tournaments have turned into the “best college players that didn’t turn pro” opens. Hard to compete against guys who basically still play golf for a living while you’re punching a clock 9-5. We all know these cats. They sell insurance, work in “finance”, sell real estate, or are “entrepreneurs.” When really they spend 8 hrs a day at the club wearing penny loafers with no socks and eating every meal from the club kitchen.

    • larrybud

      Jun 29, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Bingo. It’s not “fair” that I work a regular job and compete against guys playing every day! (Note, I believe it’s perfectly “fair”).

  43. surewin73

    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Omar is a dues paying member of the PGA of America since 1993. He should be allow to play and am I glad that he is. Congratulations to him.

    Club professional come in multiple sizes. Some work very hard for very little, while others do very little and command much.

    So what should disqualify him? Playing on the PGA Tour. Playing on any professional tour. How about one event?

    You just sound bitter, Dennis.

    If you and other PGA professional are upset, he won. Let me share some advice my pro gave me.
    Just practice harder at your craft and play better.

    Geez!

    Another reason, I dislike the PGA of America and some of its members.

    • E

      Jun 28, 2017 at 11:23 am

      WUM hater

    • mike

      Jun 28, 2017 at 11:39 am

      a 400 plus pga tournament player and a local club pro are extremely different things, and as the writer says, its not Omar that is in the wrong, its eligibility that needs to and based on alot of the uproar this has caused probably will change. So put the Hater-ade down buds

    • TR1PTIK

      Jun 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Obviously, you didn’t read very far into it or simply chose to take what you wanted. Dennis makes some very good points and I agree with him that perhaps there are some events where Tour Pros and Club Pros could/should compete against each other, but Club Pros do not have the time to practice like Tour Pros. More importantly, it is indeed a fact that Uresti is not a Club Pro. He holds professional status with the PGA of America, but the two are very different. The vast majority of Club Pros are too busy running a business operation to practice as much as someone like Uresti. It isn’t his fault that he has the means to not work at a club and practice however much he’d like to, but it is wrong for the PGA to allow him to compete against those who are not afforded the same opportunity. How about we just put you on the basketball court with Lebron, Curry, or Durant and see how you fare against them…

      • surewin73

        Jun 29, 2017 at 11:48 am

        TR1PTIK: I did read his entire article. Omar is a professional golfer who played on tour and also hold PGA status as a teaching pro. He is playing within the rules set forth by the PGA, so he should be able to play.

        I think it is simple case of jealous and bitterness to write, in my opinion, one side article complaining about. Mr. Clark should bring his concerns and thoughts to the PGA not a public forum in this matter.

        Do you have a problem with a professional who regains his amateur status and competes in amateur tournaments. I don’t. To me, he/she is following the guidelines set forth by the governing organization. They are fine. Fact is they are just a better golfer. Does not mean they are always going to win. Just like Omar has not won National Championship every year.

    • Sven Olsen

      Jun 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      I fully agree!
      Here in Scandinavia – at least – many club pros are former tour players, so it seems to me, this is a case of sour grapes?

      • setter02

        Jun 28, 2017 at 6:32 pm

        Not really if they are now working as Club Pro’s. He’s only working on his game and nothing else. Even if its written he did nothing wrong, clearly the spirit of the event was tainted, but then again this is golf, a lot is tainted…

    • bms

      Jun 28, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      compete i mean sorry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

How to qualify for the U.S. Amateur (in-depth statistical analysis and tutorial)

Published

on

This is a follow-up of sorts to an article that I published on GolfWRX in May 2017: A Modern Blueprint to Breaking 80.  

With the U.S. Amateur concluding at iconic Pebble Beach last weekend, I thought of the many amateurs out there who would love to one day qualify for this prestigious event. Personally, I made it to the State Amateur level, but work and life got in the way and I never made it to the next step. For those who aspire or wonder, here’s an outline of what your game should look like if you want to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.

Scoring

To start with, your USGA Index needs to be 2.4 or lower to even attempt to qualify. If your course is rated 71.5/130*, the best 10 of your most recent 20 scores should average 74.3. This score will adjust slightly up if your course is rated more difficult, and slightly down if it’s rated less difficult. For the purposes of this article, I’m assuming the average course and slope rating above.

*Note: 71.5/130 is the average rating of courses played by single digit handicap golfers in the ShotByShot.com database of 340,000 rounds.

Your average scores by par type will be:

  • Par 3:  3.21
  • Par 4:  4.20
  • Par 5:  4.86

The Fastest and Easiest Way to Lower Your Scores

Every round is a mix of good shots, average shots and bad shots/errors. The challenge is to determine which piece of your game’s unique puzzle is your greatest weakness in order to target your improvement efforts on the highest impact area. If you track the simple good and bad outcomes listed below for a few rounds, your strengths and weaknesses will become apparent.

Tee Game or Driving 

Goals: Hit EIGHT fairways and limit your driving errors to ONE, with the majority being the less costly “No Shot errors” (more on this later).

Distance: I will ignore this and assume you’re maximizing distance as best you can without sacrificing accuracy.

Fairways: Hitting fairways is crucial, as we are all statistically significantly more accurate from the short grass.

Errors: Far more important than Fairways Hit, however, is the FREQUENCY and SEVERITY of misses. To help golfers understand the weaknesses in their game, my golf analysis program allows users to record and categorize the THREE types of Driving Errors: 

  1. No Shot: You have missed in a place from which you do not have a normal next shot and require some sort of advancement to get the ball back to normal play.
  2. Penalty: A 1-stroke penalty due to hazard or unplayable lie.
  3. Lost/OB: Stroke and distance penalty. 

Approach Shots 

Goals:  ELEVEN GIRs and ONE penalty/2nd             

Penalty/2nd:  This means either a penalty or a shot hit so poorly that you are left with yet another full approach shot from greater than 50 yards of the hole.

The chart below displays the typical array of Approach Shot opportunities from the fairway (75 percent fall in the 100 to 200-yard range). The 150 to 175-yard range tends to be the most frequent distance for golfers playing the appropriate distance golf course for their game.

Short Game (defined as shots from within 50 yards of the hole)

Chip/Pitch: If you miss 7 greens, you will have 6 green-side save opportunities. Your goals should be:

  • Percentage of shots to within 5 feet: 40 percent
  • Percentage of Saves: 47 percent (3)
  • Percentage of Errors (shots that miss the green):  6 percent, or approximately 1 in 17 attempts.

Sand: You should have 1 of these green-side save opportunities. Your goals: 

  • Percentage of shots to within 8 feet: 35 percent
  • Percentage Saves: 32 percent
  • Percentage of Errors (shots that miss the green): 13 percent, or approximately 1 in 8 attempts.

Putting: You need just over 31 putts.  Aim for:

  • 1-Putts: 6
  • 3-Putts: 1

The chart below displays the percentage of 1-Putts you will need to make by distance, as well as the typical array of first-putt opportunities by distance. Note that 62 percent of your first-putt opportunities will fall in the 4 to 20-foot range. Adjust your practice efforts accordingly!

Good luck, and please let me know if and when you are successful.

For a complete Strokes Gained Analysis of your game, log on to ShotByShot.com and sign up for a 1-round free trial.

Your Reaction?
  • 28
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK10

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Here’s who should be the four U.S. Ryder Cup captain’s picks based on analytics

Published

on

After the PGA Championship, the U.S. Ryder Cup team solidified 8 of its 12 players on the team. Now, captain Jim Furyk will have to decide who the other 4 players will be to join the team. In this day and age of advanced data analytics, it is imperative for the U.S. team to utilize an analytical approach. The European team has used advanced analytics in recent Ryder Cups, and they now field one of the best European squads of all time. Any advantage that the Europeans have that the U.S. team can counter would behoove Furyk and his chances of being a winning Ryder Cup captain.

Normally, captains have sought out players that have played well right before the Ryder Cup. This is a sound strategy. My statistical research on the subject is that most players reach peak performance for about four events in a row. Then their performance inevitably dips to a degree before eventually they hit peak performance, again.

The golden rule is that 80 percent of a player’s earnings in a season come in about 20 percent of the events they play in. Thus, if a player earns $2 million and plays 25 events in a season there’s a good likelihood that he earned $1.6 million of that in just 5 events.

These trends show that picking a hot player is fairly important. However, the issue is that Furyk has to make 3 of the picks by September 3rd and the last pick by September 9th and the Ryder Cup starts on September 28th. Thus, it’s very plausible that a player who is picked because they are playing great golf may cool down a bit by the time the Ryder Cup is being played. Therefore, finding a player with a hot hand is not quite what it is cracked up to be. But, I would recommend staying away from players that are playing miserably. History has shown that a hot player that is selected is more likely to perform better at the Ryder Cup than the cold player that gets selected.

There are some simple statistical rules to follow for optimal picks:

  1. Seek out quality performers around the green as it helps most in the Foursome (alternate shot) and individual match play format.
  2. You want birdie makers and quality performers on each of the holes (par-3’s, par-4’s and par-5’s) for the Fourball (best score) format.
  3. Ryder Cup experience doesn’t mean anything if the player is a poor Ryder Cup performer.
  4. All things being equal, take the younger player.
  5. Lean towards the player who fits into both Fourball and Foursome formats over the slightly better player that only fits well into one format.

A good way to start to determine what picks you need is to understand your current team. Here are the rankings in key metrics for the top-8 players on the U.S. team (rankings based out of 205 players):

The top-8 players compile a good driving team that drives the ball effectively thru hitting the ball a long ways rather than being deadly accurate off the tee. One of the best attributes the top-8 has is that they are a very good Short Game team (median ranking of 40.5). They are also pretty good from the Red Zon (175-225 yards), but are better from the Yellow Zone (125-175 yards).

The top-8 has dominated par-4’s (median ranking of 11.5) and par-5’s (median ranking of 20) while being good on the par-3’s (median ranking of 44.5). They also make a lot of birdies (median ranking 27th).

It should also be noted that Brooks Koepka’s data could probably be thrown out since it was skewed by him coming off an injury and he is clearly a different and much improved player in recent months. Koepka has typically been one of the better putters on Tour and a pretty good Red Zone performer.

The potential issues I see is that they do not hit a lot of fairways and have some players with issues hitting shots from the rough which is a bad combination in the Foursome format. Also, Webb Simpson currently stands as their weakest link on the team as he has not played that well in recent months and they will likely need to figure out a way to work around him if his performance doesn’t improve between now and the Ryder Cup.

Here are the picks I would recommend making at this point:

Tiger Woods

This is clearly the easiest pick to make even though Tiger’s Ryder Cup record has not been exactly stellar. Forget about Tiger being arguably the greatest player of all time, his performance has clearly indicated that he deserves to be on this Ryder Cup team. Furthermore, he’s statistically a quality fit in either the Fourball or Foursome format. The only issue I see is that given his age and his back issues, it would be wise to use him in no more than 3 matches in the first two days and even that may be too much for him. But, I would love to see him paired in the Foursome format with a player who hits fairways and can play well from the rough for those drives that Tiger struggles with.

Tony Finau

Finau has had 8 top-10 finishes and 2 second place finishes this season. He’s a nice looking fit at the Ryder Cup because he’s a great fit in the Fourball format and a pretty good fit in the Foursome format. In fact, my simulations find that he and Tiger would be a good fit together in either format.

Bryson DeChambeau

Again, versatility and youth play a key role in his selection. You never quite know who is going to show up at the Ryder Cup and who may get injured. Thus, there’s always a need for a player that fits both formats and can play in ever match if needed. The simulations I’ve ran really like a Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau pairing.

Patrick Cantlay

This was a difficult choice between Cantlay, Mickelson and Zach Johnson. The pros for Mickelson is that he has played well in recent Ryder Cups and certainly has the experience. He’s also not a bad fit in the Foursome format and a really good fit in the Fourball format if paired with another birdie making machine that avoids bogeys and plays well on par-3’s (i.e. Koepka, Fowler and Tiger). Zach has been a quality Ryder Cup performer as well and is best suited for the Foursome format. However, he’s not such a bad fit in the Fourball format. He doesn’t hit it long, but he does make birdies (43rd in Adjusted Birdie Percentage).

From a pure numbers point of view, my simulations favor Cantlay. I wish he was better from the Red Zone and from the rough, but he’s still a quality candidate in both formats and has youth on his side. For sentimental reasons, I would pick Mickelson because the simulations such as him and Tiger in the Fourball format, and this will likely be the last time that the two can ever be paired together. The numbers don’t care about emotions, though. And that’s why Cantlay is the pick for now. It would just be wise to wait until September 9th to make the final pick.

Your Reaction?
  • 159
  • LEGIT16
  • WOW6
  • LOL7
  • IDHT4
  • FLOP5
  • OB3
  • SHANK50

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Prospective NCAA Golfers, are you ready for September 1? Here’s what you should be doing

Published

on

In June, I reported changes to the NCAA rules, including new legislation that prevented college coaches from contacting a prospective student athlete before September 1 of their Junior Year. With September 1 just around the corner, the question is: are you ready?

If not, don’t worry. As always, I am here to help you understand the college landscape and find the best opportunity to pursue your passion in college! Here’s what you need to know:

Be Prepared

Over time, you are going to hear from some coaches. It is important that students are prepared to talk to coaches. Before speaking to a coach, it is important to do research about their institution; what are the grades required for admissions? How many players are on the team? How much of the student population lives on campus? Know the basics before your conversation.

It is also important that you are ready to answer a couple questions. Coaches are very likely to ask, why are you interested in my school? Tell me about your grades or academic interests? Or, tell me about your golf game? Be honest and remember a passion for the game goes a long way.

Coaches are also likely to ask if you have any questions. Having a couple questions written down is important. If you are not sure what to ask, here are some questions I recommend:

  • What is your coaching philosophy?
  • What is your favourite part of coaching?
  • What type of student best fits in at your university?
  • What type of athlete best fits in?
  • What are the goals for the golf program?
  • How do you determine who play play in your top 5 at tournaments?
  • Do you ever take more than 5 players to a tournament?
  • What access does the team have to golf courses?
  • Is it expected to have your own vehicle?
  • Do you do any technical swing work with the players?
  • What is your greatest strength as a coach?
  • Do you offer academic support, such as tutors for students?
  • What percent of teachers have terminal degrees?
  • How does my major (X) impact golf? Can I do it and golf?
  • Do you support graduates in getting jobs?
  • What success do people have getting jobs?
  • What success do people have getting into grad schools?

Know the Numbers

With only a couple weeks before September 1, I would recommend you take time and see where you (or your son and daughter) stands on websites such as Junior Golf Scoreboard or Rolex AJGA Rankings. Now that you know the number, consider in several previous articles I have presented how rankings related to college signings. My analysis of the numbers demonstrates that, for boys, the average Division I player is ranked approximately 300 in Junior Golf Scoreboard in their class with a scoring differential of about .5. The average Division II player is ranked about 550 in their class. For girls, it appears that ranking is less important, but there is a strong relationship between scoring differential and college signings. Girls that sign at schools within the top 50 have scoring differentials of at least -3 or better, while the average for any Division I player is approximately 5.

Keep in mind that when you search on Junior Golf Scoreboard for yourself, it will show your ranking overall. This number is going to be much lower for your ranking in your class. Without a subscription, you will not be able to find your exact rank, but I would generally say you can cut the number by about 50 percent to give yourself a fair gauge. So if you are 3750 overall, you are likely close to 1875 in your class.

For many members of the junior class reading this article, they may see that their ranking might be significantly higher than these numbers. Don’t panic; the rankings are over a 1-year period. After a year, old scores drop off and new scores can be counted. Also, on Junior Golf Scoreboard, your worst 25 percent of rounds are not counted. So, you have time to continue to work on your game, improve your ranking and get the attention of coaches!

Do your research

Now that you have an idea about your ranking, start researching. Where did players of similar rank sign last year? What is the rank of that school? What schools are ranked about the same? Answering these questions will require some time and two resources; Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfstat.com. To find out where similar players signed from last year, go to njgs.com, then under the tab “rankings & honors,” the bottom option is college signees. Click there, and then you can order the signees based on class rank by clicking on “scoreboard class ranking as of signing date.” You will notice that last year, players ranked about 1800 in their class signed at such schools as Kenyon, Glenville, Southern Nazarene, Central Alabama Community college and Allegany college. Pretty good considering these schools have produced a president of the United States (Hayes, Kenyon), and a 5-time Major Championship participant (Nathan Smith, Allegany).

Now that you have a list of schools where similar students have signed, look up the golf rankings of these schools on golfstat.com. The rankings of schools are under the “rankings” tab on the home page and segmented by NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA.

First find out where the school is ranked and then consider schools ranked 5-10 spots ahead and behind that school. Are any of these of interest? Any where you think might sound interesting? Take time and build a list, then send an email to those schools introducing yourself, along with a swing video.

Have a Plan

Regardless if you are a Junior in High School or a Senior in High School, come September 1, remember that there is still time and regardless of what people say, coaches are always looking. For High School Juniors, it is likely that next summer will have a critical impact on your opportunities in college golf, so what can you do over the next 9 months? Where are you missing out on the most shots? Take time, talk to people and develop a plan to give yourself the best chance to succeed in the future. And then, put in the time!

For Seniors, although many might be in your ear saying it’s too late, don’t listen to them. You still have some time. Take a careful look at how you can use the next 2-3 months to improve and prepare for events such as the AJGA Senior Showcase in Las Vegas. Remember that data suggests that up to one-third of players sign in the late period (for all levels) and up to 60 percent of players who compete in the AJGA Senior Showcase in December in Las Vegas, go on to get offers.

As always, if you have any feedback on this article or a story idea, please feel free to reach out to me! I always love hearing from people and helping them connect with schools that meet their academic, athletic, social and financial needs! Best of luck to you, or your son/daughter.

Your Reaction?
  • 22
  • LEGIT9
  • WOW1
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending