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Some guy played all 359 Donald Ross courses in the U.S.

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Brad Becken has shown up all his fellow members of the Donald Ross Society. Becken, a retired Goldman Sachs executive, has done something interesting with his presumably generous amount of retirement dough: played every known Ross course in the United States.

That’s right, the former exec has teed it up at all 359 known Donald Ross courses in the States.

Now, the issue of defining a “Donald Ross course” is a complex one, but Becken is operating from the Ross Society’s canon. Nine hole expansions, collaborations, renovations by later designers. All muddy the water.

“If Ross designed a course, and it still exists, we still consider it a Ross course–even if other architects have touched,” Becken told Golf Digest.

He caught the Ross bug relatively late in life after playing Hope Valley C.C. in Durham, North Carolina. He went on to play every Ross track in the state and never looked back.

Becken, who is not an adept golfer, told Digest he most enjoyed how Ross’ courses are suited for all skill levels

“I’m not that good of a golfer, but it doesn’t matter on a Ross course. There’s always a way for higher handicappers to play it. It’s brilliant how playable they are for so many different golfers.”

The final course Becken played? Rolling Rock Club in Laughlintown, PA. It took him eight years to complete the circuit.

What do you think GolfWRX members? Insane? Inspiring?

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Rich

    Dec 29, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    And only a rich person could do this. I love golf but this is what’s wrong with our sport. Great for him, but how many other people could afford to do all that even if they wanted to.

  2. Benny

    Dec 23, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Would love to see the list. I have a few Ross courses in my state and New England alone has many. Would love to know which ones so I can check this guys legitimacy. One course near by is not easy to get on.

  3. Joe

    Dec 23, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Favorite course of all time is WBYC – have been lucky to have jumped on it a few times – it is just a lovely private course.

  4. Jcjmw

    Dec 22, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I am so jealous!!!

  5. rex235

    Dec 21, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Brad Becken-

    ..After 359 Donald Ross golf courses-

    …Which one is your favorite?

  6. BD57

    Dec 21, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I grew up on a Ross Course – Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford, New York. Wonderful course, I was very lucky.

  7. Peter M

    Dec 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    “Some Guy?” Why would you write a headline like this? You have all of the relevant information at hand.

  8. Brian

    Dec 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Amazing, so jealous, Ross is my all time favorite designed, if I could only play one designed for the rest of my life it would be Ross, kudos to this guy!!!

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19th Hole

GolfWRX members weigh in on the best swings on the PGA Tour

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Who has the best swing on the PGA Tour? On the one hand, the answer is Dustin Johnson, as he’s the No. 1 player in the world, right? Of course, golf fans banter about the “best” swing on the PGA Tour over beers in the grill room, they’re usually talking about technical soundness and aesthetics more than results.

It’s in this vein that GolfWRX members schley started a thread asking the forum faithful for their picks for the three best swings on Tour. For his part, shcley says Ernie Els, Adam Scott, and Louis Oosthuizen.

GatorMD says: Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen

SASSpeeder says: Louis Oosthuizen, Luke List, Ernie Els

Bladehunter says: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson

Oz dee cee says: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen

Bye says: Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas

What do you think of these responses, GolfWRX members? Just a sample from the first 20 or so, obviously, and there are plenty more perspectives in the thread.

Who are your top three, GolfWRXers?

 

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Study: Amateur golfers are actually hitting it shorter than they were 3 years ago

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While the USGA’s distance report found a “concerning” increase in driving distances at the professional level, a new report from Arccos Golf — Mike Stachura of Golf Digest got the exclusive on its study —  identifies a very different trend at the amateur level. The golf GPS and statistics-tracking app found that the average golfer’s average drive decreased from 220.6 yards in 2015 to 217.1 yards in 2018.

Before we go crazy, however, it’s worth pointing out that we’re only four months into 2018 and the golf season hasn’t even started in much of the country. Thus, it probably makes more sense to look at the average golfers’ average drives from 2017, which measured 220.0 yards — a difference of a little more than half of a yard since 2015, rather than more than three yards, as the 2018 number suggests.

Again, maybe the trend for 2018 will continue, but it seems inappropriate to draw far reaching conclusions based on the “220.6” number.

Nevertheless, if we assume Arccos’ data is representative and statistically significant, then it would be, at the very least, a bold check in the “yes” column for bifurcation/not limiting the golf ball at the amateur level.

However (again, assuming data derived from Arccos users is representative of all golfers), the findings beget another question: Why are amateurs, equipped with the latest and greatest technologies that Iron Byron and his robotic colleagues are crushing past previous years’ models, stagnant in the distance department?

Stachura points to a Club Champion study showing that an average increase of 11 yards after fitting, that the drivers of 2018 go an average of six yards farther than the drivers of 2012.

Nick Clearwater, Director of Instruction for Golftec, strikes a similar tone

“It’s likely that many golfers used in the data are still using five-plus-year-old drivers as well and most don’t get fit for their equipment to benefit from the advancements. The average golfer uses too much spin loft with all of their clubs, so increases in tech still show minimal improvement in the quality of the shot. The shots still start to the right, spin too much and are mishit.”

This may be true, but for distances to decrease, golfers would have to be hitting new equipment that’s ill-suited for them, not merely sticking with the same drivers they were hitting in 2015.

Those with skeptical inclinations toward the benefits of new equipment, particularly $400 drivers, will assuredly have a field day with this data, and OEMs will be keen to emphasize the importance of fitting. They’ll also be quick to point out we have no idea what drivers the Arccos sample set is/was playing.

If, again, we assume the data to be accurate and representative, the USGA would look foolish if they advise a rollback of the golf ball for amateurs.

The amateur golfers in question will want to visit a qualified fitter or take part in a demo day with a buffet of options before shelling out for a new big stick, which is the advice we give in conjunction with Gear Trials (and the same reccomendation we’ve offered for years).

What do you think about this data, GolfWRX members?

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19th Hole

Meet Faaaabel the goat: unofficial mascot of the Valero Texas Open

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The Valero Texas Open this week has a new unofficial mascot. And really, let’s just make this official. Two ½-month-old pygmy goat mix  named Faaaabel is the official mascot of the Valero Texas Open. You heard it here first.

While there’s nothing funny about Faaaabel’s range of very important duties, she arrived at the VTO as part of a practical joke. Per Roxanna Scott of USA Today, Ted Kneale, the senior manager of operations for the Valero Texas Open, and Mark Mellgren, a tournament volunteer, wanted to wind PGA Tour rules official Brad Fabel up.

Naturally, they bought a goat on Craigslist, named it after him, and brought it to the tournament. Yes, this is a real thing that actually happened.

No word on how Fabel feels about Faaaabel, but everyone else rightly loves this miniature domestic goat.

“I’m kind of surprised at how fast this took off,” Kneale said. “We had her for about a week out here leading up to the event. Some of our staff knew about her and she was friendly with the staff. Before we knew it, people just started asking about the goat. We heard you had a goat, and it snowballed. I think she enjoys all the attention.”

This good girl does some very important jobs and has quickly become a vital part of the tournament operation. Obviously, she has a Twitter account as well.

Reportedly, Faaaabel is considering branching out into acting. As you can see from this PGA Tour video, she’s a natural on screen.

How do you feel about animals as tournament mascots, GolfWRX members? Should, say, Tripod formally be awarded Zurich Classic mascot duties?

 

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