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19th Hole

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

  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

Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 3. Spanish Point Golf Club, Clare

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In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses to visit in some of the loveliest spots in Ireland. I’ll also be highlighting the best and most authentic Irish bars in these spots, as well as places to stay, eat and how to get there. Whether you’re taking a golfing holiday to Ireland in 2019 or are interested in doing so sometime in the future, I’ll make sure to let you in on the best places to spend your time.

In Part Two of our Exploring Ireland Series, we focused on the north-west of the island, taking the trip to County Donegal and showcasing the Old Tom Morris Links. Now it’s time for Part Three, and we’re staying along the “Wild Atlantic Way,” and heading down along the coast and into County Clare.

Clare is easily one of the top destinations in Ireland. The county is home to some of the best scenery in the country, with one particular natural wonder drawing well over a million visitors each year. Along with its incredible sights, the county is of course home to some of the top golf courses on the island and is a contender for the best destination in Ireland for traditional music, with a multitude of bars hosting live music sessions each night of the week.

Spanish Point Golf Club, Clare

@RonBWriter

While Trump Doonbeg and the host of next year’s Irish Open, Lahinch Golf Club, often grab all of the headlines for courses in Clare, they aren’t the only options. Diverting away from those well-known spots, my recommendation for a day out on the links in this area is at Spanish Point Golf Club.

Spanish Point is a real hidden gem out west. The track is a nine-hole course that took the title this year for “Best 9 Hole Course in Munster.” The course opened in 1896, and sits right on top of the Spanish Point beach, offering spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

@GolfersGuideIRL

The course itself plays for 18 holes as a par 68 and stretches over 5,000 yards. The course is mostly flat and exposed to the elements, and being right on top of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s an extremely high chance that should you tee it up here then every single facet of your game is going to get tested. Don’t be surprised that if the wind howls you find nine holes more than enough!

@GolfersGuideIRL

The star of Spanish Point is its greens. Wonderfully maintained, vast, and protected by deep classic links-style bunkers, these greens are a joy to putt on. So if you’re not rolling the ball well, it’s more than likely all on you!

Regardless of how you’re playing though, the greens of Spanish Point are a perfect viewing point to take in the breathtaking views on offer.

Eighteen holes around Spanish Point will set you back just over $20 during the week, and a little over $25 on the weekend. Which, in my opinion, is an absolute steal.

Food & Drink – Gus O’Connor’s Pub, Doolin

@mcastellanox

Just like it was difficult to choose only one golf course to showcase in Clare, separating the pubs is not an easy task either. A 30-minute drive from Spanish Point may sound a little inconvenient, but when you get to the small village of Doolin, then you will be thankful that you took the time to get to this little haven.

A small village just north of Spanish Point, Doolin boasts three of the best bars in the county, a “triple-crown” of bars if you will. McGann’s and McDermott’s are definitely worth a visit, but Gus O’Connor’s is an absolute must to while away an evening out west.

@JoshMurrayActor

Open since 1832, Gus O’Connor’s will provide you with an incredibly atmospheric evening. The bar looks tiny from the outside, but there is plenty of room inside. One word of warning, however, is that should you wish to spend a night out here then arrive early, as it fills up fast.

Live music is Doolin’s game, and at Gus O’Connor’s you will find it every night of the week. Sessions begin at 9 pm each evening and go on until late. Some of the best musicians in Ireland play here, and you can expect to hear the great sounds of fiddles, flutes, violins, guitars and bodhrans playing throughout the night.

A few years ago, locals at Gus O’Connor’s were even lucky enough to hear actor John C. Reilly belt out Ireland’s greatest drinking song “The Wild Rover.”

Gus O’Connor’s also serves up a full menu of typical Irish traditional food. Here you will have the perfect opportunity to sample the Irish Classic, Beef and Guinness Stew, which of course needs to be washed down with a pint of the black stuff. Another option worth considering is the Doolin mussels steamed in white wine.

Where To Stay

If you wish to stay in Doolin, then you’ll have plenty of great little hotels and lodges to choose from, with the price of a double room usually ranging from $65-$100 a night. My recommendation is the Doolin View B&B, which is within walking distance of all the bars. For around $85 you’ll get a lovely double room, with a full Irish breakfast included for the next morning to keep you going for the day.

@PhotoTimeGeo

A 15-minute drive from the village of Doolin will take you to that natural wonder I referenced earlier. The Cliffs of Moher are arguably the finest attraction on the entire island. The sea cliffs run for 14 kilometres, and at their highest point, they rise 702 feet above the Atlantic ocean. As impressive as the cliffs are in photographs, to experience them in person is a special event and something that you simply must take the time to do if you’re in Clare.

@irarchaeology

Another great option if you’re in this area is to take the ferry for a day trip to the Aran Islands. Home to 1,200 people whose primary language is Irish. Don’t worry though; they also speak English. The Bronze and Iron Age forts are there to be explored on the island, and the best way to do so is by hiring a bicycle, as the speed limit for cars is 31mph on all roads on the island.

How To Get There

The area is a three-hour drive from Dublin, but just one hour away from Doolin is one of Ireland’s three international airports, Shannon, which provides you with a great location to explore the west coast.

 

 

 

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19th Hole

Tweets of the Week: Rose’s near miss, Rickie’s birthday, a celebration fail, and more

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Poom Saksansin claimed the Indonesian Masters, David Lipsky triumphed in South Africa, while Davis Love III and his son won the PNC Father-Son Challenge. But those weren’t the only talking points over the last week in the golfing world. Here’s a look at some things you may have missed, and some of the quirkier moments from the world of golf dished out in the Twittersphere.

Rose’s Meltdown

Justin Rose threw away the opportunity to end 2018 as the World Number One on Sunday in Indonesia. The Englishman needed to finish just one stroke better off than he did, and I think it’s fair to say that Rose left the odd shot out there in his final round…

…leaving Brooks Koepka as the year-end World Number One. Another goal accomplished for the American who earlier in the week displayed his astonishment at being excluded from ESPN’s list of 20 most dominant athletes for 2018.

Rickie’s Birthday

Rickie Fowler celebrated his birthday alongside his fiancee Alisson Stokke, and friends Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. The American turned 30 last week, making us all feel that little bit older.

Epic Celebration Fail

The PNC Father-Son Challenge provided one of the worst golf celebrations that you’re ever likely to see.

Greg Norman’s Son Has Swag

From cringe to cool, Greg Norman’s son showed some serious swagger at the PNC Father-Son Challenge, picking up his team’s coin before his ball had even reached the cup.

Long John Jr.

Speaking of cool, how about John Daly Jr. bombing drives on the range at the Father-Son event?

Jack’s Still Got It

Think the Golden Bear has lost his touch on the greens? Think again.

Bang…

…Bang.

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19th Hole

Nicklaus: Tiger’s swing is better now than ever

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Jack Nicklaus is teeing it with his grandson, G.T., at the PNC Father/Son Challenge. As has been the case since, well, at least 1997, the Golden Bear was asked about the man closest to his record of 18 major championships.

Beyond weighing in on Woods’ win at the Tour Championship or whether he thinks Tiger has a shot at 18 majors, Nicklaus offered his perspective on Woods post-spinal fusion swing, and he likes what he sees…a lot.

“I think his swing is much better now than it ever was. The reason for that is Tiger was very much up and down with his head and I think that put a lot of pressure on his back.

“The fusion that he had, obviously was something he didn’t want but it was something he needed. … I didn’t think he would ever play golf as well as he’s playing.

“I never dreamed that he would play quite as well as he has and that the operation actually leveled out his head and leveled out his swing.”

High praise, indeed! What do you think about the 18-time major winner’s remarks, GolfWRX members?

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