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Do we need alternatives to adding distance to PGA Tour tracks?

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As even the most casual fans of this maddening game know, since the advent of titanium drivers, the golf courses of the PGA Tour have been adding yardage to preserve difficulty. Since 1990, for example, Augusta National has added more than 500 yards.

GolfWRX member MadMaxx makes an interesting point about the added yardage at PGA Tour tracks, offering alternative suggestions for ratcheting up the difficulty level that don’t necessarily adversely affect shorter hitters.

“Lengthening courses only makes it harder for shorter hitters. If it were up to me I would shorten the courses. The big hitters would be able to drive the par 4’s but make the risk/reward very penal.

“Hit it short, left,right or long and make them pay around the greens. Water, pot bunkers, domed greens, run offs into trouble. Any landing spots in short iron range should be undulating so they never have an even lie and have unpredictable kicks. Pot bunkers put the fear into anyone. Make the most favorable landing areas for approaches reachable by even the shortest hitters.”

“Of course, this would necessitate some serious earth moving, which is one of the knocks against lengthening courses. Also, tour pros would hate just about everything he proposes. However, at least courses wouldn’t face the “running out of real estate” issue, and Maxx offers a potential remedy for the obsolescence of classic courses.”

Disco111 agrees

“In truth, this is exactly what the tour needs.”

Lijka writes

“I agree, there are a lot of ways to make golf more interesting. We don’t have to tack on a few hundred yards onto every course just to make par a bit harder to reach. There are all sorts of ways to make things more intellectual and tricky in order to make it more entertaining and/or difficult (if that is really the goal). I do think though that regardless of course set up and all other things being equal, being a long hitter will always be a natural advantage and the goal shouldn’t be to punish those that are.”

Cardoustie agrees and offers this perspective.

“The other part you’re missing is that these big courses are longer but ALSO wayyyyy WIDER. Definitely easier for bombers. Big targets and HUGE greens. I keep using this example. Merion GC at 2013 US Open that Rose won … 6,996 yards. High rough, small tilted greens, narrow fairways = higher scores.”

Of course, wildcatden’s, point that there are other ways to make courses difficult may be the most salient of all. He offers this image.

What do you think about lengthening vs. toughening courses, GolfWRX members? Join the discussion in the forum.

 

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19th Hole

GolfWRX Members Choice: Best Open Championship course

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With Open week upon us, we wanted to know which Open Championship venue is first in the hearts of GolfWRX members.

We asked: Factoring in course design, viewing enjoyment, overall test of golf, history, and whatever else you put into your criteria, what do you think is the best Open Championship venue, and why?

The top-three vote getters got more than 80 percent of the vote. Only Royal St. George’s was more than two percent. As a refresher, the other venues were, Royal Liverpool. Royal Troon, Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, Royal Portrush, Royal Birkdale, and Turnberry.

The top three from the Open rota in GolfWRX members’ links-loving hearts are as follows.

3. Carnoustie (18.57%)

Ignatius Reilly says, “I went with Carnoustie – maybe because it’s the current one, and maybe because it’s so nasty.”

Sean 2 says. “I selected Carnoustie because it is a challenge regardless of the weather. As DJ called it: “…a true test.”

2. Muirfield (20%)

15th Club draws on his first-hand experience, “But I have been asked this question before; of the British Open courses, which one was your favorite? And my answer always was an additional question; if all of my remaining golf could only be played on just one course that I have been on, what would it be?”

“And the answer is Muirfield. It might not have the interest or the quirkiness of The Old Course, but to me, it is the finest, fairest, purest test of golf I have ever seen. It is at once a perfect match play and/or stroke play golf course. And it is more natural, with less town-encroachment than almost all of the other sites on the Rota.”

1. Old Course at St Andrews (41.43%)

IVM says simply, “St Andrews the home of golf.”

Bucky316 points out, “St Andrews….but only with heavy wind… otherwise it’s sad to see a historic track getting thrashed by the modern technology.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? You can vote in the poll here, or feel free to discuss your favorite track in the comments.

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19th Hole

Fancy a punt? Check out these Tiger Woods British Open prop bets

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It wouldn’t be a major featuring Tiger Woods without Tiger Woods prop bets, would it? Bettors, as we know, get off the sidelines to shovel cash behind Woods when he tees it up in major championships. This has been historically true. It was true at the Masters. It was true at the U.S. Open.

Accordingly, the good folks at BetDSI are offering a number of Woods wagers you may be keen to punt on…especially if you want a piece of the TW action but aren’t keen to take Woods at 24-1 to win The Open.

Tiger Woods makes cut

Yes -350
No +250

Tiger Woods wins

Yes +2400
No -2900

Tiger Woods finishes top 5

Yes +600
No -900

Tiger Woods finishes top 10

Yes +270
No -400

Tiger Woods finishes top 20

Yes +140
No -170

Tiger Woods finishing position

Over 25.5 (-115)
Under 25.5 (-115)

Tiger Woods lowest round

Over 69.5 (-110)
Under 69.5 (-120)

Tiger Woods highest round

Over 75.5 (-110)
Under 75.5 (-120)

Tiger Woods highest score on any hole

Over 7 (-110)
Under 7 (-120)

Tiger Woods total double bogeys or worse

Over 3 (-110)
Under 3 (-120)

Tiger Woods within 5 strokes of lead during final round

Yes +225
No -300

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19th Hole

WATCH Phil Mickelson hit a flop shot over a man 2 yards in front of him

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On the Gear Dive podcast, Fred Couples told Johnny Wunder that Phil Mickelson is the best judge of a lie (and the shots he can execute from a certain lie) in the game of golf.

This video from Carnoustie yesterday is testament both to that fact and a reminder that Phil Mickelson’s short game is truly singular.

Former European Tour pro Gary Evans was the guinea pig.

Here’s the shot from another angle. That’s gotta be a 64-degree Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind, no?

Mother of golf gods! Check your trousers, Gary! How crazy is that shot? There’s plenty of puffery when it comes to Phil’s short game, but that shot is simply insane. Would love to see the Trackman data on that flop.

I mean, if Phil doesn’t get the contact he wants and you get hit, you gotta hope to get pelted in the stomach or chest…and not the jewels or the face.

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Would you take Evans place for viral video fame? A few bills from Mickelson’s famed cash wad?

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