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19th Hole

GolfWRX members have plenty of ideas about how to improve Augusta National



From the reversal of the front and back nines in 1935, through the teebox adjustments of 2006, the Augusta National has been in a near-constant state of adjustment and improvement,

As the only course where a major championship is contested every year, and as the most popular/widely viewed and mythologized of the majors, even casual golf fans have an appreciation for the track.

And of course, keener observers have strong opinions about everything from the 1999 lengthening of the second cut to the 2002 and 2004 changes, as well as future adjustments.

In this spirit, forum stalwart cardoustie, has his list of potential improvements ready, should Charman Fred Ridley call.

“#3. Slightly forward tee – or extend current tee – so more guys would go for it. Use either Saturday or Sunday.
#6. Bring back the pond and/or creek that used to front the green, re-shape and shift the front trap to get the H2O closer to the putting surface
#10. Push the massive old greenside bunker closer to the green so short shots run back down the hill into it
#11. Massive pine or trap right middle of 11 green to make bail outs more difficult. Likely trap so the fans on hole #12 grandstands can see the action. Pond used to go more in front of this green
#12. Add 10 yards … sacrilege I know but get the big boys hitting one more iron here
#13. I understand they spent ~ $20mm for land to extend this tee back further. Personally, I don’t like the way the Rae’s Creek tributary ends in the middle of the fairway. That visual could be improved upon and dare I say another bridge perhaps
#14. Bring back the Alister MacKenzie bunkering on the right side of the fairway. Call it restoration work
#16. Find a way to add a tee 15-30 yards back
#17. Perhaps replace Ike’s tree but shift it a little left and farther off the tee”

One_putt_blunder says

“Get rid of the perfectly sculpted bunker edges and bring back the Alister Mackenzie jagged edge style.”

QMany says

“I liked the idea of shortening #7 and even making it driveable par four, even if just for one day.”

ChillyDipper says

“Take away the rough so the course plays as it intends. Move the Sunday pin on 16 to the upper tier. Agree with making #3 driveable again.”

Stu_man says

“Remove 80% of the trees and widen the corridors. Remove the first cut of rough to bring the pine straw back in play. Play it firm and fast as it was intended.”

Knock it close says

‘Widen 7, cut down the trees on the right on 11. Get rid of any rough and cut down a bunch of trees elsewhere. Get more run out of the fws. Make it so when guys hit it offline it keeps going so the angles at ANGC really come into play, this would encourage more aggressive play which would lead to more birdies and bogeys.”

“The Masters is at its peak when it favors the bold, nothing worse than a Masters with a bunch of pars. I want birdies, eagles, and others. That’s why I don’t like 11, with the trees right the approach is so long that everyone just bails short right because they are scared to chase anything on with the mounds.”

These are just a few of the excellent replies from the first page of this thread, which, only four days old, is already three pages long.

Check out the thread, or let us know what you think in the comments.

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  1. RG

    Apr 2, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    You cannot make it any better, you can only make it different than it is today. Augusta National is about as close to perfection as you’re going to get.

  2. KS

    Apr 2, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Anyone who suggests making #7 a “driveable” par 4…”maybe even for just one day” certainly has never seen Augusta National in person, or the #7 hole and the green perched up on a slanting plateau and surrounded by rather deep bunkers. Lengthening it actually made it much more interesting and challenging in this modern era. Making this hole a driveable par-4 just because they’ve become trendy would be the height of sacrilege to Bobby Jones, MacKenzie, and Augusta National in general. Besides, they already have two driveable par 4s right on the front nine — #3 (a longer one) and #4 (a shorter one). Ha!

    • Josh

      Apr 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      Agreed. And whoever doesn’t like 11… every good course has a really tough par 4 that is more like a 4.5

  3. James T

    Apr 2, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Jordan Spieth might suggest they fill in the pond in front of the 12th green.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX members debate the merits of a career in the golf industry



Would you work in the golf industry? Perhaps you have? From caddying in high school to serving as a respected head pro at an esteemed club, to working as an equipment or apparel rep, the jobs in the service side of the golf business are numerous, and there are options wherever you’re at in life. If you add to the equation all jobs at golf-related companies and golf-relates manufacturing, the range of opportunities is even greater.

But this is no glossy brochure for “A Career in Golf!” Fears over industry contraction, the future of the game, the paltry salaries of assistant professionals, and other factors combine to cast a long shadow over employment related to this maddening game.

Still, the majority of hardcore golf nuts have likely considered working in golf at some point.  GolfWRX member JJHarrs2 is one such individual. He started a thread looking for advice about whether he, at 29, should explore a career in golf. He’s primarily interested in becoming a playing pro (who isn’t?), club pro, teaching pro, or working as an equipment rep.

He expresses not only uncertainty about taking the plunge, but concern for the future of the industry.

“The main thing I’m wondering is when I look out 20-30 years from now, I really don’t see golf being in a good place. I know that a ton of the money spent on golf is by people over 60, so when they die or get too old to play, what will take their place? Will people my age pick up the slack?”

Now, before we get to the responses from GolfWRX members, I’d like to offer a bit of perspective for Mr. JJHarrs2, as someone who worked at both public and private courses before transitioning to typing for a living. Regarding the future of the game, you can look at club closures in the past decade and get depressed, or you can look at the number of new golfers year-over-year and be encouraged, which is to say, basing your decision on macro data is always going to be difficult and is, in some sense, a distraction from the real question: do you want to do this/these jobs?

Having seen the lot of the equipment reps who pulled their wares from the back of packed trucks and vans to present to pros for perusal, and having seen the contraction in that job space, I would advise anyone who is drawn to the road warrior life of an equipment rep to be comfortable with the prospect of eventually working another traveling sales job. To be a successful rep, you have to love the job/lifestyle, not just golf.

Also: Read Ryan Barath’s “Confessions of Golf Equipment Tech Rep” for some perspective.

Regarding the club pro/teaching pro path. It’s important to mention that head pro jobs are few and far between and the life of the career assistant with little teaching income is a dreary one: think “folding shirts and answering phones for $30K per year.” Head pro jobs are rare, competitive, and often political; it’s best to instead think of yourself as a small business owner…not of the pro shop, but rather, of yourself. It’s vitally important to work at a club that will cover the cost of the PGM Program and (at least some of) the additional certifications you must pursue to gain a competitive advantage.

Don’t love teaching? You better start to! Not only is a steady stream of pupils vital to your pocketbook, but creating instructional content online is essential to building your student base and potentially setting yourself up for other revenue streams in the future. Twitter! Instagram! Facebook! YouTube! GolfWRX! You’ll want start the virtuous cycle of expanding your knowledge and showcasing that expansion early. For example: attend an AimPoint seminar, talk about it on social media, make a video explaining the fundamentals, or some such.

I also recommend reading Michael Breed’s “Advice to PGA Professionals.” 

Have you ever worked in customer service? Have you ever heard the expression “the customer is always right?” Well, if you work at a private club, get used to the expression “it’s literally impossible the member is wrong in any way.” Never forget they’re paying your bills, as difficult as this may be when you’re being asked to walk half a mile to the 10th hole to pick up two pullcarts a pair of golfers left out or wondering who the hell has the last cart out of the barn, darkness having long ago descended.

You’ve got to be a self-starter, in it for the long hall, and comfortable playing relatively little golf, honestly. If you’re not tied to one geographical location, all the better (heading to Florida to caddie for the winter should be considered). Maybe you’ll wind up as a head pro somewhere, but you have to hedge against the possibility that you won’t, constantly investing in yourself, expanding your knowledge base, and creating content. It’s definitely beneficial to get Class A PGA certification ASAP and to be involved with your PGA Section.

I’ll draw the curtain on my advice and point to a couple of the more interesting responses from the forums.

golfandfishing says working for a top teaching pro is the way to go

“Here’s the best thing to do if you can play at all:  work for a teaching pro. ..Teach, hold clinics, pick the range, etc for your 50/60 hours a week and collect your $550 paycheck. Then play section events as often as you can. Monday Pro Ams, the State Open, your section championship, various events with mostly other club pros. Collect another $2k a month…Club pro? Hope you enjoy divorce.,,Manufacturers rep? Any of the handful of worthwhile positions are taken and then already in wait when the spot comes up. You’ll be repping plastic tees, ball washer towels and cigar holders. Do not be the teaching pro with his name on the door – work for that guy. Enjoy the lack of responsibility, collect meager pay and exploit the privileges.”

tatertot is a bearer of difficult truths

“Realistically …

– You’ve got .01 chance of being a touring pro at 29.

– Ask yourself “Why would someone come to me for lessons?” If you can think of a good reason, you might have a shot as a teaching pro.

– Ask yourself “Why would any club hire me to be a pro?” Lots of applicants from lots of guys who have gone to school for this sort of thing.
– Do you have a business/marketing degree? Because there are lots of guys applying for sales reps jobs that do.”
jmck strikes a similar dour note

“Hate to say it, but listen to the pessimists.

There are pretty much zero jobs in the golf industry that combine the following:

– Play a lot
– Work less than a 60 hour week
– Make more than $50k per year
– Keep your significant other happy

Frankly it’s a minor miracle if you can find a job in the golf industry that combines two of those, and if you need to even think about practicing to pass your PAT there’s zero chance you’re good enough to play on even a crappy regional mini tour…If you really love the game you’re better off as a banker, lawyer, real estate agent, drywaller, ditch digger, or beer truck driver.  It’s a brutal industry, has been for decades, and is only going to get worse.”

You’ll want to read the rest of the responses in the thread

What do you think, GolfWRX members? What advice would you give to

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19th Hole

David Leadbetter defends work with Lydia Ko, slams her parents in post. Is he right?



On the heels of Kevin Van Valkenburg’s ESPN piece on Lydia Ko that features, well, not the best review of his work with his former pupil, David Leadbetter responded via his website.

Leadbetter’s rebuttal, titled, “The Grass Isn’t Always Greener,” points the finger at Ko’s parents for calling for an (in his mind) unjustified coaching switch. He also indicates fatigue in the latter portion of the 2016 season was chiefly to blame for Ko’s poor form, not his coaching.

“Her father, a non-accomplished golfer, heard rumors that she needed to change her swing and made suggestions to Lydia to change it – independently of her coaches. Sean Hogan traveled with her to the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship during the last part of the season and observed Lydia being very confused [with her swing].

“Amazingly enough, despite all of this, she had an excellent chance of remaining No. 1 in the world with a solid finish at the last tournament of the year. She shot 62 (10 under par) in the second round and things seemed to be on track. Her last round, unfortunately, was very average and she just lost out on winning the LPGA Player of the Year.”

Non-accomplished golfer! In a purge that has been widely questioned, Ko dropped Leadbetter, changed caddies, and signed on with PXG at the end of 2016. Arguably the game’s most prodigious talent, Ko hasn’t won since.

Beyond just revelling Ko’s poor performance since the split, Leadbetter defended the decisions he made to change his star pupil’s swing.

“What many people didn’t understand, was that the A Swing, which was a commercial name for a book we published, was for the most part technique that had worked in the early years with Sir Nick Faldo and Nick Price, amongst many others. It was adapted to Lydia in order to make her swing more efficient. If you looked at the statistics, especially greens in regulation, this proved to be true. It was a very simple approach, one she understood and had minimal maintenance….We honestly felt like this was the best approach for Lydia, because not being the strongest player, it provided natural energy to her swing.”

Leadbetter also said he thinks the decision to part ways came entirely from Ko’s parents/team, not her, before concluding with

“There’s no possible way that she can play better than she played for those first three years. It just goes to show, that not always is the grass greener on the other side of the hill!”

While Leadbetter is doubtless right, the grass has not been greener on the other side of the hill thus far, there’s something a tad tasteless in that remark, isn’t there?

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Was Leadbetter right to respond. And further, was he right to change Ko’s swing?


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19th Hole

WATCH Sergio Garcia’s club toss for the ages



Do we chalk this up to the dangers of repressed rage? Sergio Garcia seemed just a little too cool with his 13 during the Masters….

The Spaniard was anything but cool at TPC San Antonio, Friday, giving a furious axe-toss to his driver after an unsatisfying tee shot at the par-4 fifth hole.

Garcia then spent a considerable amount of time searching for his Callaway Rogue Sub Zero in the woods. His drive ended up well left of the green at the 342-yard hole. Compounding matters further, he proceeded to shank his approach shot across the green, eventually making bogey.

Here’s the full horror.

At 2-over, Garcia is one stroke outside the cut line at the time of this writing.

This seems like an insensitive time to plug our Sergio Garcia: WITB, but what the heck.


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19th Hole