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The eternal debate: What would PGA Tour pros shoot on average golf courses?

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It’s fitting that in the same week that the PGA Tour (somewhat curiously) revealed its new slogan, “Live Under Par”/#LiveUnderPar, GolfWRX member borker brought up one of the age-old questions in golf: Just how much better are the pros than us average duffers And further, what would the average PGA Tour pros shoot, should he find himself pegging it at the local muni?

Saying that a Tour pro’s handicap is +5 may not be as striking as, say, this nugget from borker, “John Rahm played Canyon West somewhere in Texas [and shot 59]. Looks like it is rated 72.6/136 from the back .” He included an image of Rahm’s score, but here’s a better shot c/o Compleat Golfer.

But GolfWRX member niccho has done one better with his comment, pulling a 2007 Washington Post article by Eli Saslow from the archives wherein Steve Marino (not the Tour’s most accomplished golfer) tees it up with a scribe at a Washington, D.C. muni.

From that piece…

“[Marino] shot a 68. Make that an ugly 68…The par-4 first hole was emblematic of Marino’s round. He crushed a drive 320 yards down the right side of the fairway, almost all the way to the green, only to find the ball settled in a pile of twigs. Marino wasted his next shot chopping the ball out into the grass, and then he pitched his third shot to within 12 feet of the pin. He struck what felt like a pure putt, but the ball ran over sand and stopped a few inches short of the hole. Marino stood on the green and shook his head. “Ridiculous. Just ridiculous,” he said. Then he tapped in for bogey.”

As many members point out in the thread, it’s difficult to hole a ton of putts at ye olde muni, and canning anything from distance is out of the question. Thus, even if a pro finds 18 greens in regulation, expecting him to make even half the putts is unrealistic.

Marino himself spoke to this in the WaPo article

“It’s just kind of like you hit it and guess where it goes on this course,” Marino said. “I don’t think I’d ever shoot over par on a course like this, but I’m not sure I could ever go really low. On nice courses, you know when you hit a good shot that you’re going to get rewarded for it. So if you’re playing great, you score great. Here, you just never know.”

Returning to the subject of Rahm’s 59 at Canyon West, wcbjr says this

“There is nothing difficult about Canyon West. Being from the area, I’ve played it a dozen times or so. But that is still a ridiculous score with the current course condition. Greens and Bermuda coming out of dormancy, and I believe it was very windy that day.”

That said, Rahm was certainly putting on better greens than Marino was in ‘07 at East Potomac.

What say you, GolfWRX members? Ever played with a pro at a pristine country club track under normal conditions? What do you think a PGA Tour card holder would shoot at the roughest muni in your next of the woods?

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Daniel

    Apr 17, 2018 at 8:22 am

    About 10 years ago I was working at a CC just outside Charlotte, NC. A member came out one day with Johnson Wagner. I talked to the member later and he told me Wagner shot 64 and didn’t make any long putts or chip in….These guys are good.

  2. Todd Dugan

    Apr 14, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    This is pretty simple. Pros have handicaps also, usually. +5 is pretty typical for a PGA Tour pro. So, if your course is rated 70 from the regular men’s tees, for example, on a slightly better than average day, a Tour pro would shoot 65. Some days lower, some higher. People will try to obscure this reality, mostly to make themselves feel better, but it’s simple math, really.

    • John

      Apr 14, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      You dont seem to understand how handicaps work lol, shooting handicap is meant to be an achievement… I play off 2 (no social rounds, comps only) if I shoot 2 over that’s a good score

      • Todd Dugan

        Apr 15, 2018 at 3:10 pm

        Your handicap index is the average of your 10 best scores out of your last 20. Not an “achievement”, but “better than average”, as I said.

        • ROB HARRIS

          Apr 15, 2018 at 5:29 pm

          NOT TRUE.
          YOUR HANDICAP IS 80% OF THE BEST 10 SCORES OUT OF YOUR LAST 20. AND YOU THROW OUT THE HIGH ONE AND THE LOW ONE OF THE 20.

          • ROB HARRIS

            Apr 15, 2018 at 5:33 pm

            IS IS MUCH, MUCH EASIER TO SCORE ON A COURSE THAT IS IN PERFECT CONDITION WITH PERFECT GREENS THAT HAVE HARDLY ANY GRAIN AND FAIRWAYS CUT AS LOW AS MOST MUNI GREENS SO YOU CAN GET THE CLUBFACE ON THE BALL.
            AND EVERYTHING SET UP WITH PIN PLACEMENTS AND PERFECT DISTANCES TO FLAGS, BUNKERS, ETC.
            PRO GOLFERS ARE SPOILED BEYOND BELIEF..
            I AM A PLUS 2 AMATEUR AND WON MANY TOURNAMENTS.
            IT’S VERY HARD TO SCORE ON A GOAT RANCH

  3. acew/7iron

    Apr 14, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Would they get to use the books that show all the slope on every green?

    That alone should save anybody 5 strokes on the day even on a course you have never seen.

  4. A. Commoner

    Apr 13, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Such nonsense. Why not just debate “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

  5. Man

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    They would struggle to get out of rock hard bunkers with no sand in them.
    They would also struggle to concentrate when they know there’s no money reward at the end, so they just won’t get into playing that well because they won’t care.
    This is a non-debate. You’ll never be able to see them do their best at your local mangled muni.
    But the first hole example in the article comes close to what they would experience at most of our local munis.
    The only person who might have had a laugh doing it and playing properly and scoring well on such poor conditions would have been Lee Trevino as he grew up on hard pan and bad lies

    • SteveK

      Apr 14, 2018 at 12:50 am

      “…money reward…” you say?!!
      So if there is no money involved they would casually score in the 80’s?!!
      But if there is a money wager and competing with another pro they would score in the 60’s ??!!!

      • Man

        Apr 14, 2018 at 6:07 pm

        You better put up a decent sum. Otherwise yup, they’re not going to care about a casual meaningless round at the janky local muni.

    • The Law Professor

      Apr 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

      It is true that Lee once claimed things were easier for him when he first came out on tour, because he was so used to playing under horrible conditions. Read that years ago–of course, one never knows with Trevino, who’s not above spinning a good tale when the cameras or on or with a reporter and a notebook at the ready.

  6. ogo

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    The only way a tour pro would find a local golf course challenging is to only carry a 7-iron, SW and putter…. to play par golf. 😀

  7. PG

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    https://www.reddit.com/r/golf/comments/6ymle2/when_a_tour_pro_returns_home_for_midweek/

    Saw this a while back, I would suggest this would be fairly typical score for a touring pro on a “normal” course.

  8. Aaron

    Apr 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    In 2001 during The International at Castle Pines Golf club a friend of mine who was playing reached out and asked if I could help them get on at another local course in Castle Rock. I was able to arrange a round for them at Red Hawk Ridge. I’m not going to throw out names as I don’t have their permission to do so but as we stood on the first tee I was very curious as to what I was about to take part in. All 3 guys birdied the 1st and 2nd holes and none of their approach shots were outside of 10 feet. It was more of the same with a barrage of birdies an eagle and a few pars that were attributed to lipped out putts. As they were playing they were having a blast giddy with excitement and talking about wishing the courses on tour were easy like this. As we neared the end of the front 9 a small crowd of people including the Head Pro were out there following the action. At the 9th tee the guys decided to cut it short at 9 holes. The results were pretty incredible. The best player in the group who at the time was top 30 in the world and got inside the top 10 a couple years later shot a 27 on the front 9, the other 2 guys who were outside the top 50 in the world shot 30 and 31. I was a club pro at the time and shot a 34. The crazy part of this is that all 3 players failed to make the cut that week. It was an eye opening experience for sure.

  9. Rev G

    Apr 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I think you hit the nail on the head. It all comes down to putting and if the greens are true enough for them to make putts. If they play a public course with good greens I would say 65 is going to be their average score and better if they’re on that day. If the greens are iffy then 68 – you gotta figure they’re going to reach all the par 5’s in two and maybe one or two par fours – But they’re also going to get screwed on a few holes simply because of the conditions.

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19th Hole

The 7 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (10.11.18)

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If you’re on Instagram, you’re hopefully aware that we are ‘gramming it up as well (@golfwrx). And if you’re not following us, well, that hurts our feelings more than a three-putt bogey.

Even if you do follow WRX on Instagram, however, you may not be aware that an abundance of equipment enthusiasts are hashtagging their photos #GolfWRX. We feel it’s only right to feature the best of the WRX-tagged imagery here.

And if you’re not on Instagram, well there’s no way you could see these photos, so think of this series as a handy filter for the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Michael Martinez with a phenomenal custom Nike concept sketch in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

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Hispanic Heritage Month #golf #nikeshoes #leetrevino

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Worse than the blue screen of death…

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Sadness. #RadryGolf

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In the pantheon of golf tattoos, this one has to be featured prominently, no?

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Tattoo level: Tin Cup ???????? ???? via @pgamemes

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BB&F continues to reign as the ferrule king.

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Ferrule B

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Kraken’s latest ballmarker is hotter than a fire track.

With all due respect to aquatic creatures, these are the best kind of scallops.

A clean sole grind and stamping from Don White. Nothing like it.

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Made with a purpose.

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If you’re on Instagram, remember to hashtag your photos #GolfWRX. And if you’re not on Instagram, well, don’t.

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19th Hole

Report: No tickets will be sold for Tiger-Phil match

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Sorry, fans, you’re not going to be able to buy tickets to the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson $9 million megamatch at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, November 23.

Per a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, only a “small gathering of sponsors and VIPs” will be allowed on course. The report also indicates that, in contrast to Phil Mickelson’s promised primetime (ET) showdown, the match will be played under the Nevada sun. The official start time is yet to be announced, ditto the PPV price.

We corrected the promo graphic below to eliminate the crowd. But right-handed Tiger Woods swinging a left-handed club still needs fixing.

Woods is the -220 favorite at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Mickelson is a +180 underdog.

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WATCH: Is this the craziest hole-in-one you’ve ever seen?

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Golfers often say that getting a hole-in-one is all luck. (Keep in mind that Tiger Woods, arguably one of the most skilled iron players ever, says he has 19 holes-in-one… so maybe not all luck.) But certainly there are some holes-in-one that are “luckier” than others.

And then there’s this shot by Eddie Pepperell at the 2018 British Masters…

Definitely a great shot, and he absolutely took dead aim, but how this golf ball found the bottom of the cup is mind-blowing. It seemed to bounce off the ground, go up the flagstick, hit the ground, then side hop itself right into the basket. Wow.

But is it crazier than the bank shot?

That one is hard to top.

Or how about the all-time classic Bugs-Bunny-assisted hole-in-one by Michael Jordan in Space Jam?

Looney Tunes aside, here’s what Pepperell had to say about his hole-in-one.

He may not have seen what happened at the time, but he’ll see it on highlight reels for years to come.

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