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The Difference Between a Club Pro and a Pro Golfer

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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.

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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

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Opinion & Analysis

When the data says line is more important than speed in putting

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In my recent article, Line vs. speed: What’s really more important in putting?, I pointed out that in my 30-plus years of studying putting performance, I’ve learned that there are two important skills to putting:

  1. Direction (line)
  2. Distance control (speed)

There’s no question that golfers need to possess both these skills, but contrary to popular belief, they are not equally important on all putts. Sometimes, speed should be the primary concern. In other situations, golfers should be focused almost entirely on line. To make this determination, we have to consider the distance range of a putt and a golfer’s putting skill.

In the above referenced article, I showed how important speed is in putting, as well as the distances from which golfers of each handicap level should become more focused on speed. As promised, I’m going to provide some tips on direction (LINE) for golfers of different handicap levels based on the data I’ve gathered over the years through my Strokes Gained analysis software, Shot by Shot.

When PGA Tour players focus on line 

On the PGA Tour, line is more critical than speed from distances inside 20 feet. Obviously, the closer a golfer is to the hole, the more important line becomes and the less need there is to focus on speed. Further, I have found that the six-to-10-foot range is a key distance for Tour players. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Six to 10 feet is one of the most frequently faced putt distances on the PGA Tour. It is the first putt distance on approximately one in every five greens.
  2. Smack in the middle of this range is eight feet, which is the distance from which the average PGA Tour player makes 50 percent of his putts.
  3. In my research, I have consistently found that one-putt success in the six-to-10-foot range separates good putters from the rest on the PGA Tour

What we should do

How does this analysis help the rest of us?  To answer that question, we must first know our one-putt distance.  Just as I showed the two-putt distance by handicap level here, I will now show the 50 percent make distance by handicap level. This is the distance from the hole where players at each handicap level make 50 percent of their putts.

My recommendation is for each of us to recognize exactly what our 50 percent distance is. Maybe you’re a 16 or 17 handicap and putting is one of your strengths. Your 50 percent make distance is six feet. Excellent!  From that distance and closer, you should focus on line and always give the ball a chance to go in the hole.  From distances of seven-plus feet, you should consider the circumstances (up or downhill, amount of break, etc.) and factor in the speed as appropriate. The goal is to make as many of these putts as possible, but more importantly, avoid those heart-breaking and costly three-putts.

For added perspective, I am including the percentage of one putts by distance for the PGA Tour and our average amateur 15-19 handicap. I’m able to offer this data from ShotbyShot.com because it provides golfers with their “relative handicap” in the five critical parts of the game: (1) Driving, (2) Approach Shots, (3) Chip/Pitch Shots, (4) Sand Shots, and (5) Putting.

Line control practice: The star drill 

Looking for a way to practice choosing better lines on the putting green?  Here’s a great exercise known as the “star drill.” Start by selecting a part of your practice green with a slight slope.  Place five tees in the shape of a star on the slope with the top of the star on the top side of the slope.  This will provide an equal share of right to left and left to right breaks.

I recommend starting with a distance of three feet – usually about the length of a standard putter.  See how many you can make out of 10 putts, which is two trips around the star.  Here are a few more helpful tips.

  • Place a ball next to each of the five tees.
  • Use your full pre-shot routine for each attempt.
  • Stay at the three-foot distance until you can make nine of 10. Then, move to four feet, five feet, and six feet as you’re able to make eight from four feet, seven from five feet, and six from six feet.

This drill will give you confidence over these very important short putts. I do not recommend using it for any distance beyond six feet. It’s harder than you think to get there!

 

Exclusive for GolfWRX members: For a free, one-round trial of Shot by Shot, visit www.ShotByShot.com.

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Podcasts

TG2: Snell Golf founder Dean Snell talks golf balls and his life in the golf industry

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Snell Golf’s founder, Dean Snell, talks all about golf balls and his adventure through the industry. Dean fills us in on his transition from hockey player, to engineer, to golfer, and now business owner. He even tells you why he probably isn’t welcome back at a country club ever again.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Opinion & Analysis

Could Dollar Driver Club change the way we think about owning equipment?

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There’s something about golfers that draws the attention of, for lack of a better word, snake-oil salesmen. Whether it’s an as-seen-on-TV ad for a driver that promises pure distance and also fixes your power slice, or the subscription boxes that supposedly send hundreds of dollars worth of apparel for a fraction of the price, there always seems to be something out there that looks too good to be true.

Discerning golfers, who I would argue are more cynical than anything, understand that you get what you pay for. To get the newest driver that also works for your game, it may take a $150 club fitting, then a $400 head, and a shaft that can run anywhere from $100 up to $300-$400. After the fitting and buying process, you’ve made close to a thousand dollar investment in one golf club, and unless you’re playing money games with friends who have some deep pockets, it’s tough to say what the return on that investment actually is. When it’s all said and done, you have less than a year before that driver is considered old news by the standard of most manufacturers’ release schedules.

What makes a driver ‘good’ to most amateur golfers who take their game seriously is a cross section of performance, price, and hubris. As for that last metric, I think most people would be lying if they say it doesn’t feel good having the latest and greatest club in the bag. Being the envy of your group is fun, even if it only lasts until you snap hook your first drive out of bounds.

As prices of general release equipment have increased to nearly double what it was retailing at only 10 years ago, the ability to play the newest equipment is starting to become out of the question for many amateur golfers.

Enter Tyler Mycoskie, an avid, single digit handicap golfer (and the brother of Tom’s shoes founder, Blake Mycoskie). Tyler’s experience with purchasing golf equipment and his understanding of uniquely successful business models collided, which led him to start the Dollar Driver Club. With a name and logo that is a tongue in cheek allusion to the company that has shaken up the men’s skincare industry, the company seeks to offer a new way of thinking about purchasing golf equipment without completely reinventing the wheel of the model that has seen success in industries such as car leasing and purchasing razors.

The company does exactly what its name says. They offer the newest, top of the line driver and shaft combinations for lease at a cost of about a dollar per day.

The economics of the model seem too good to be true. When you purchase a driver, you are charged $30 plus $11 for shipping and it’s $30 per month from then on. You can upgrade your driver at no extra cost each year and your driver is eligible for upgrade or swap after 90 days of being a member. After a year, the total cost comes to $371 with shipping, which sounds a lot nicer than the $500 that it would cost to purchase, as an example, a Titleist TS3 with a Project X Evenflow T1100 today.

The major complaint most people would have is that you still don’t own the driver after that year, but as someone with a closet full of old golf clubs that diminish in value every day, which I have no realistic plans to sell, that doesn’t sound like a problem to me or my wife, who asks me almost weekly when I plan on thinning out my collection.

The model sounds like an obvious win for customers to me, and quite frankly, if you’re skeptical, then it’s probably just simply not for you. I contacted the team at the Dollar Driver Club to get some questions answered. Primarily, I want to know, what’s the catch?

I spoke with a Kevin Kirakossian, a Division I golfer who graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2013 and has spent virtually his entire young career working on the business side of golf, most recently with Nike Golf’s marketing team prior to joining Tyler at Dollar Driver Club. Here’s what he had to say about his company.

At risk to the detriment of our conversation, I have to find out first and foremost, what’s the catch?

K: There’s no catch. We’re all golfers and we want to offer a service that benefits all of our members. We got tired of the upfront cost of drivers. We’re trying to grow the game. Prior to us, there was no way to buy new golf clubs without paying full price. We take a lot of pride that players of all skill level, not just tour pros or people with the extra budget to drop that kind of money every year, can have access to the latest equipment.

With that question out of the way, I delved into the specifics of the brand and model, but I maintained a skeptical edge, keeping an ear out for anything that I could find that would seem too good to be true.

How closely do you keep an eye on manufacturers and their pricing? It would seem that your service is more enticing as prices increase in equipment.

K: The manufacturers are free to create their own pricing. We work closely with manufacturers and have a great relationship with them. As prices increase, it helps us, even if they decrease, I still think it’s a no-brainer to use our service, purely for the fact that new equipment comes out every year. You don’t have a high upfront cost. You’re not stuck with the same driver for a year. It gives you flexibility and freedom to play the newest driver. If a manufacturer wants to get into the same business, we have the advantage of offering all brands. We’re a premium subscription brand, so we’re willing to offer services that other retailers aren’t. We’ll do shaft swaps, we’ll send heads only, we have fast shipping and delivery times. We’re really a one-stop shop for all brands.

What measures do you take to offer the most up to date equipment?

K: We will always have the newest products on the actual launch date. We take pride in offering the equipment right away. A lot of times, our members will receive their clubs on release day. We order direct from the manufacturers and keep inventory. There’s no drop shipping. We prefer shipping ourselves and being able to add a personal package.

The service is uniquely personal. Their drivers come with a ball marker stamped with your initials as well as a stylish valuables pouch. They also provide a hand signed welcome letter and some stickers.

Who makes up the team at Dollar Driver Club?

K: We’re a small team. We started accepting members to our service in 2018 and it has grown exponentially. We have four or five guys here and it’s all hands on deck. We handle customer inquiries and sending drivers out. It’s a small business nature that we want to grow a lot bigger.

When discussing the company, you have to concede that the model doesn’t appeal to everyone, especially traditionalists. There are golfers who have absolutely no problem spending whatever retailers are charging for their newest wares. There are also golfers who have no problem playing equipment with grips that haven’t been changed in years, much less worrying about buying new equipment. I wanted to know exactly who they’re targeting.

Who is your target demographic?

K: We want all golfers. We want any golfer with any income, any skill level, to be able to play the newest equipment. We want to reshape the way people think about obtaining golf equipment. We’re starting with drivers, but we’re looking into expanding into putters, wedges, and other woods. We’ve heard manufacturers keep an eye on us. There are going to be people who just want to pay that upfront cost so they can own it, but those people may be looking at it on the surface and they don’t see the other benefits. We’re also a service that offers shaft swaps and easily send in your driver after 3 months if you don’t like it.

At this point, it didn’t seem like my quest to find any drawbacks to the service was going well. However, any good business identifies threats to their model and I was really only able to think of one. They do require a photo ID to start your account, but there’s no credit check required like you may see from other ‘buy now, pay later’ programs. That sounds ripe for schemers that we see all the time on websites like eBay and Craigslist.

When you’re sending out a $500 piece of equipment and only taking $41 up front, you’re assuming some risk. How much do you rely on the integrity of golfers who use your service to keep everything running smoothly?

K: We do rely on the integrity of the golf community. When we send out a driver, we believe it’s going into the hands of a golfer. By collecting the ID, we have measures on our end that we can use in the event that the driver goes missing or an account goes delinquent, but we’re always going to side with our members.

The conversation I had with Kevin really opened my eyes to the fact that Dollar Driver Club is exactly what the company says it is. They want to grow and become a staple means of obtaining golf equipment in the current and future market. Kevin was very transparent that the idea is simple, they’re just the ones actually executing it. He acknowledged the importance of social media and how they will harness the power of applications like Instagram to reach new audiences.

Kevin was also adamant that even if you prefer owning your own driver and don’t mind the upfront cost, the flexibility to customize your driver cheaply with a plethora of high-quality shafts is what really makes it worth trying out their service. If for whatever reason, you don’t like their service, you can cancel the subscription and return the driver after 90 days, which means that you can play the newest driver for three months at a cost of $90.

In my personal opinion, I think there’s a huge growth opportunity for a service like this. The idea of playing the newest equipment and being able to tinker with it pretty much at-will really speaks to me. If you’re willing to spend $15 a month on Netflix to re-watch The Office for the 12th time in a row or $35 a month for a Barkbox subscription for your dog, it may be worth doing something nice for your golf bag.

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