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who has actually played with a legit scratch golfer/pro level player?


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#61 SecondandGoal

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:13 PM

Fairly rare for the Northeast, but we've got a young kid at my club (17, HS senior this year, committed to Maryland for next year) who plays to a +4. Absolutely amazing to watch this kid play. He's got not only the consistency that marks the low-cap amateur, but the explosiveness and creativity that you see in the pros. He's an average size kid, probably 5'10" 160 pounds or so, but he absolutely bombs the ball off the tee, and has the short game to match. He's also constantly at the course, on the practice green, bunker area, range, whatever, working on various aspects of his game. Not having had any experience with guys like that to compare him to, don't know if he'll be good enough to be a tour player, but it's going to be fun to see him give it a run.

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#62 Circaflex

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:42 PM

I've played with two of these types of players:

One time was a few years back in Las Vegas at Bears Best. My friend mentioned his buddy wanted to play with us and could get us on cheap there, said why the heck not. He told me he was pretty good and played in college, but then life took over and he couldnt play full time. He used to play in a few roaming tournaments after college but now has family and a business to run. This guy, forgot his shoes, didnt warm up at all and shot one under for the day. Crazy to see such consistent ball striking and amazing chip game.

Last year I played with an up and coming top recruit who was going to play division 1 golf in college. Played at Cota de Caza with a friend his his mom who is a member, this kid blew me away with his game. The tees and flag locations were setup for the web.com or AM event that was going on there later that day, so it was challenging and this kid shot two under. He wasnt super long off the tee but man could he hit the long irons really well and had an amazing wedge game.

The one thing I took away from both of these outing, were the limited use of the driver (only really used on par 5s and if the par 4 was pretty open), otherwise it was a 3w, hybrid or long iron off the tee to a yardage that was their go-to.
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#63 Z1ggy16

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:55 PM

View PostNM44, on 15 September 2018 - 08:53 AM, said:

I play a decent amount of public course golf in the south Jersey area(usually one or two rounds a week and one on the weekend). I play a lot of my weekday rounds as a walk on single. I've been paired with all types. I am a mid capper and on a good day can get the ball out there pretty deep but i have never been paired with one who blew me away. I've seen guy hit the ball my distance, seen good putters, seen plotters that shoot in the low 80s, old guys that make a ton of pars,etc. But I've still have yet to see someone shoot within 5 of par let alone 60's or even close. Just wondering if you guys have seen the same or if its just same run of bad luck for me to not catch someone super good.
1) Older gentleman who shot a 76 by basically having the sickest wedge play inside 100 yards I've ever seen.

2) Another older guy who I only played 9 holes with but he shot even par off the same tees as me. I was constantly 40 yards ahead of him on drives, but his iron game and putting were incredible. I think he only missed one green. I'd have a wedge or 9i, he'd had a 7i and still stick it closer than me.

3) Fellow WRX'er here. Hitting bombs over 300 easy when it was maybe only in the 50's temperature wise. Didn't play his best but he's got game.

4) Monte. 340 yard drive into the wind. 180mph ball speed with range balls.

5) Younger guy who worked for USGA down the road. Didn't hit it super far but was deadly accurate and a great putter. Played 12 holes with him and he was -1 from the tips.

Edited by Z1ggy16, 17 September 2018 - 01:36 PM.

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#64 bigred90gt

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:02 PM

View PostNM44, on 15 September 2018 - 08:53 AM, said:

I play a decent amount of public course golf in the south Jersey area(usually one or two rounds a week and one on the weekend). I play a lot of my weekday rounds as a walk on single. I've been paired with all types. I am a mid capper and on a good day can get the ball out there pretty deep but i have never been paired with one who blew me away. I've seen guy hit the ball my distance, seen good putters, seen plotters that shoot in the low 80s, old guys that make a ton of pars,etc. But I've still have yet to see someone shoot within 5 of par let alone 60's or even close. Just wondering if you guys have seen the same or if its just same run of bad luck for me to not catch someone super good.

My regular group at my old course was the head pro, assistant pro, and a guy that worked in the shop. They were all + handicaps. None of them hit the ball any further than I did, but they hit more fairways and greens than I did. When we all hit the green, they were usually closer to the hole. I was a 3 index at that time, thanks to an above average short game that I no longer have. I hit the ball a lot further than I do now though (I only hit it 250-260 now, lost a ton of distance with back surgery). I would shoot anywhere from 73/76, they would shoot anywhere from 66-70. A bad round for me was around 79-80, for them it was 74-75.

One of them, the assistant pro, was a little fella but he could move the ball. Played a 10 finger grip, and very rarely hit the ball straight (always a big draw or big fade). The head pro hit the ball straighter than anyone Iíve ever seen. It had almost no side to side movement on it.

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#65 me05501

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:04 PM

Back when Nationwide was the title sponsor of the developmental tour, I got to play in a couple of "not quite pro-ams." These were held when the Nationwide event came to town, but they weren't the official tourney pro-am. They were events Nationwide put on for those of us who sell their products, and the pros were always guys who had failed to Monday qualify, or maybe hadn't made the local field but didn't want to travel all the way home between tournaments.

That's how I got to play a round beside Esteban Toledo. Super nice guy. https://en.wikipedia.../Esteban_Toledo

I also took lessons and played a lot of golf with a friend who used to be on the Austral-Asian Tour. Nice guy, athletic, had all the shots. Just not a great putter, especially under pressure.

The experience of playing with these guys reminds me of the times I've been able to learn from pro musicians. While they can and do impress, it's the consistency and confidence that make them different.

Sitting in the room with them, they're just like you, except way better. That may not make any sense. :/  What I mean is that when you see them up close it's obvious that they're not changing the laws of physics or anything. They're just very experienced, capable and confident.


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#66 bradski

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:07 PM

I think a lot of people who don't play with high level players just aren't in the right locations.   In San diego, Florida, Arizona(winters), and other places you can find many scratch or better players at better courses.
I think you will find a few things in common.  
1. better players don't love short easy courses to practice on
2. Some don't love playing with high handicap players who can throw their game off
3. They play in the same or similar groups often. When you play that much you end up with groups of golfers you associate with.

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#67 sailfishchris

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:27 PM

Couple of years ago I was down in Hollywood, Fl playing Emerald Hills. I got paired up with two guys. Turned out to be a player and his caddie. He was a Web.com player. He shot a 63! It was the most amazing golf I've ever watched. A cut with every drive and worked his irons both ways. I don't think he had a putt of more than 10-12 feet the entire round. It really put a perspective on how good/great guys are at the upper echelon levels.
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#68 DavePelz4

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:36 PM

Have played with quite a few and the common theme is their course management skills.  The headcover on the driver only comes out on holes where there is an advantage, risk/reward are very calculated, and the misses are generally in a great place to get up and down.

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#69 Moonlightgrm

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:45 PM

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2018 - 07:50 AM, said:

I'm not sure why scratch is put in the same category as "pro level" with this question.  There's a ton of scratch guys.
According to USGA.org, 1.60% of golfers have a handicap index of zero or better. Using this number, If you are a member at an American club with 400 members, 6.4 players will be scratch or better.

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#70 Almostscratchonce

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 02:22 PM

I've played with a few guys over the years that have been on/off/on/off Hooters, Web, PGA & Champions Tours.  Their execution on getting out of trouble (not often) was always fun to watch.

For anyone that's looking to play with someone that has serious game, I'd suggest finding an AJGA stop in your area and sign up to play in the Jr/Am that's affiliated with the event.  Played in one earlier this year at my club and was paired with a 17 year old kid that shoots an "easy" 69 during his first look at a 7300 yard course.


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#71 ZA206

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 02:51 PM

Back in my days of playing only public courses with my buddies, I NEVER played with people who were close to scratch. The best people I ever got paired up with were high single digits 9's or 10's. I was ALWAYS better than everyone I played with. This wasn't so much about how good I was, it was that everyone I played with wasn't great.... LOL!

The MGA at my home course has 15+ guys that are a 2 or less... probably four of them are +'s. As a fairly long hitting 6, I can hang with them, but never beat them. I play with those guys all the time, and they take my money all the time, dammit. I'm working on becoming a "strong" 8.... LOL!!!!

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#72 mylo

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 03:01 PM

I had a boss at a previous job that I played with many times, never saw him shoot over par even though he only played maybe 10 rounds a summer. He had a full ride to at Temple back in the day, then got married, kids, work etc and golf was on the back burner. He hit shots that I could never on my best day hit. He once hit a 5 wood from 240 out of a bunker to 2 feet for eagle, I was awestruck.

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#73 trilerian

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 03:57 PM

I have played with a few + handicaps.  The biggest thing I noticed was how high and far they hit the ball.  I guy I worked with was a +1 and he carried his driver 290 yds.  I remember being on a 200 yd par 3 with him and he hit his 7i sky high, that was the moment that I knew I didn't hit my shots high enough.

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#74 Almostscratchonce

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 04:10 PM

View Postrxk9fan, on 15 September 2018 - 04:32 PM, said:

Use to play a fair amount with Boyd Downey who played on the Hooters tour.  While he was not always consistent, when he was on it was ridiculous.  We use to play a little "birdie game " from the tips at Loma Linda (now Eagle Creek) in Joplin.  We were all 5HC or better so usually no one got hurt too bad giving each other $5 bucks from the tips but Boyd usually came out on top.  One day he threw up a 66 which I think is still the course record from the tips.  With 8 of us in the game he did pretty well that day.  I remember on number 6 (a little 360 yard slight dog leg left across a long pond which guards the whole front edge of the green) he hit driver to about 12 feet.  It was stupid good because it had to carry 330 to 340.  He eagled that hole for $10 bucks a person LOL.
His putting was good, his iron play was good, but his distance off the tee was what set him apart from most low HC guys. There is a real difference between someone who sneaks a few 300 plus vs a guy who hits it that far on average.

Any chance that Boyd lived around Hilton Head a few years ago?  Had a caddie named Boyd at Harbor Town that was from Joplin, and talked like he'd played competitively for a while... dude was dead-on with his reads that day.

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#75 Range Pro

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 04:31 PM

It has been many many years ago. Metal woods weren't widespread yet on the PGA Tour.  A single joined us and asked us if he could play from the back tee.  Of course we step aside and let him hit.  He had a set of Titleist persimmon woods and muscle back irons.  He hit the prettiest draws all day with an occasional fade on dogleg right holes or right pin greens.  His handicap was a +4.  He was an Ivy League grad with a mid 6 figure salary working on Wall Street.  Professional golf had to take a backseat to his work.

Edited by Range Pro, 17 September 2018 - 04:33 PM.


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#76 Obee

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 04:32 PM

Practically every time I tee it up, I'm playing with other scratch or below golfers or tour pros. scratch/below golfers and pros tend to play golf together, for the most part....
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#77 Hstead

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 04:36 PM

The foursome I played in this saturday had a combined handicap of 2 between the 4 of us.  We shot 70, 71, 72, 72 on a par 70.  No one exactly lit it up.  Most of my rounds are with guys with handicaps below 10, probably most are under 6 really.
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#78 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 04:43 PM

View PostObee, on 17 September 2018 - 04:32 PM, said:

Practically every time I tee it up, I'm playing with other scratch or below golfers or tour pros. scratch/below golfers and pros tend to play golf together, for the most part....
Obes, you are so lucky.  If it isn't a state tournament I never play with anyone near scratch, much less pro level.  That is one of the reasons I play at least one tournament with the kids each year.  I get torched, but it is a fun 3 days of golf with some real good players.
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#79 Bonesaw

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 07:13 PM

View PostAlmostscratchonce, on 17 September 2018 - 04:10 PM, said:

View Postrxk9fan, on 15 September 2018 - 04:32 PM, said:

Use to play a fair amount with Boyd Downey who played on the Hooters tour.  While he was not always consistent, when he was on it was ridiculous.  We use to play a little "birdie game " from the tips at Loma Linda (now Eagle Creek) in Joplin.  We were all 5HC or better so usually no one got hurt too bad giving each other $5 bucks from the tips but Boyd usually came out on top.  One day he threw up a 66 which I think is still the course record from the tips.  With 8 of us in the game he did pretty well that day.  I remember on number 6 (a little 360 yard slight dog leg left across a long pond which guards the whole front edge of the green) he hit driver to about 12 feet.  It was stupid good because it had to carry 330 to 340.  He eagled that hole for $10 bucks a person LOL.
His putting was good, his iron play was good, but his distance off the tee was what set him apart from most low HC guys. There is a real difference between someone who sneaks a few 300 plus vs a guy who hits it that far on average.

Any chance that Boyd lived around Hilton Head a few years ago?  Had a caddie named Boyd at Harbor Town that was from Joplin, and talked like he'd played competitively for a while... dude was dead-on with his reads that day.

I played there once, he was my caddie!  He was excellent, perhaps why I still remember his name haha.  It would be pretty cool to hear he is a good stick.

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#80 GolfChannel

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 07:39 PM

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2018 - 07:50 AM, said:

I'm not sure why scratch is put in the same category as "pro level" with this question.  There's a ton of scratch guys.

That was the point I was making, scratch may be the dream goal of many of us on this forum, but it is hardy elite.

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#81 MtlJeff

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 08:56 PM

View PostGolfChannel, on 17 September 2018 - 07:39 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2018 - 07:50 AM, said:

I'm not sure why scratch is put in the same category as "pro level" with this question.  There's a ton of scratch guys.

That was the point I was making, scratch may be the dream goal of many of us on this forum, but it is hardy elite.

I would consider top 1.6% of people keeping an index (meaning top <1% of total golfers) elite.

Scratch players aren't pros but they aren't chumps either

Pretty sure people consider the top 1% of earners "elite" for example. A pro saying a scratch player isn't elite is like a billionaire telling a millionaire he's poor.

Edited by MtlJeff, 17 September 2018 - 09:00 PM.

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#82 cbutcher1547

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 09:50 PM

This was a few years ago that i played with this guy, he is the best friend of my cousin. He was and still is the best golfer i have ever seen. He wasnt quite scratch, about a 2 or 3. I dont remember much about the round now, but a few things stand out. Absolute bomber off the tee, a bit wild though. He hit his irons so high i would lose sight of them. But his putting was pretty poor. The thing i remember most about the round with him was his tee shot on a 200 or so yard par 3. He hit a 5 iron i believe, could have been 6. He hit a beautiful shot that landed just a foot or two short of the cup, and ended up a couple feet past. He missed the putt.

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#83 Ghostwedge

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 10:32 PM

I play weekly with former mini tour players and college players, all now have day jobs and are still scratch or better.
My son and his buddies are around scratch and lighten my wallet on occasion.
Hit a bucket of balls beside Bo Van Pelt, and talked for a few minutes, super cool guy.
I also noticed his iron shots “sizzle” and mine don’t.

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#84 Bonesaw

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 10:39 PM

View PostMtlJeff, on 17 September 2018 - 08:56 PM, said:

View PostGolfChannel, on 17 September 2018 - 07:39 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2018 - 07:50 AM, said:

I'm not sure why scratch is put in the same category as "pro level" with this question.  There's a ton of scratch guys.

That was the point I was making, scratch may be the dream goal of many of us on this forum, but it is hardy elite.

I would consider top 1.6% of people keeping an index (meaning top <1% of total golfers) elite.

Scratch players aren't pros but they aren't chumps either

Pretty sure people consider the top 1% of earners "elite" for example. A pro saying a scratch player isn't elite is like a billionaire telling a millionaire he's poor.

This is a great analogy.  Tiger:Bezos as I:used car dealer

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#85 GolfChannel

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 05:30 AM

View PostMtlJeff, on 17 September 2018 - 08:56 PM, said:

View PostGolfChannel, on 17 September 2018 - 07:39 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2018 - 07:50 AM, said:

I'm not sure why scratch is put in the same category as "pro level" with this question.  There's a ton of scratch guys.

That was the point I was making, scratch may be the dream goal of many of us on this forum, but it is hardy elite.

I would consider top 1.6% of people keeping an index (meaning top <1% of total golfers) elite.

Scratch players aren't pros but they aren't chumps either

Pretty sure people consider the top 1% of earners "elite" for example. A pro saying a scratch player isn't elite is like a billionaire telling a millionaire he's poor.

Relatively speaking, millionaire to billionaire is a wide margin in wealth. Again, you are banking on the fact that most covet scratch just like we would covet settling for millions. Some of us want more than that in life.

In my previous employ, I have worked for both, I have saved the finances for both. They are very different worlds.

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#86 GMR

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 06:26 AM

View PostGolfChannel, on 18 September 2018 - 05:30 AM, said:

View PostMtlJeff, on 17 September 2018 - 08:56 PM, said:

View PostGolfChannel, on 17 September 2018 - 07:39 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2018 - 07:50 AM, said:

I'm not sure why scratch is put in the same category as "pro level" with this question.  There's a ton of scratch guys.

That was the point I was making, scratch may be the dream goal of many of us on this forum, but it is hardy elite.

I would consider top 1.6% of people keeping an index (meaning top <1% of total golfers) elite.

Scratch players aren't pros but they aren't chumps either

Pretty sure people consider the top 1% of earners "elite" for example. A pro saying a scratch player isn't elite is like a billionaire telling a millionaire he's poor.

Relatively speaking, millionaire to billionaire is a wide margin in wealth. Again, you are banking on the fact that most covet scratch just like we would covet settling for millions. Some of us want more than that in life.

In my previous employ, I have worked for both, I have saved the finances for both. They are very different worlds.
I think that's why the analogy works...  Rory (or even Harris English) and a 0.0 handicap golfer are so far apart they aren't even comparable.

Edited by GMR, 18 September 2018 - 07:47 AM.


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#87 MtlJeff

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 07:42 AM

View PostGolfChannel, on 18 September 2018 - 05:30 AM, said:

View PostMtlJeff, on 17 September 2018 - 08:56 PM, said:

View PostGolfChannel, on 17 September 2018 - 07:39 PM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2018 - 07:50 AM, said:

I'm not sure why scratch is put in the same category as "pro level" with this question.  There's a ton of scratch guys.

That was the point I was making, scratch may be the dream goal of many of us on this forum, but it is hardy elite.

I would consider top 1.6% of people keeping an index (meaning top <1% of total golfers) elite.

Scratch players aren't pros but they aren't chumps either

Pretty sure people consider the top 1% of earners "elite" for example. A pro saying a scratch player isn't elite is like a billionaire telling a millionaire he's poor.

Relatively speaking, millionaire to billionaire is a wide margin in wealth. Again, you are banking on the fact that most covet scratch just like we would covet settling for millions. Some of us want more than that in life.

In my previous employ, I have worked for both, I have saved the finances for both. They are very different worlds.

That wasn't the point I was making, it was that to a PGA player Scratch might not be great, but they are still better than 99% of the population (nearly everyone else)

Same as someone with a net worth of 5M dollars or whatever, to a billionaire tech CEO this person does not have a lot of money.... however he has more than 99% of people, and would still be seen as "the 1%" to the hippies
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#88 KAndyMan

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 09:15 AM

Depends on which part of my bipolar game shows up that day! Some days 3-4 under is easy and i know where i left a few that couldve gone lower. Other days im fighting tooth and nail for bogey golf. Never seems to be an in between. Usually go in streaks of shooting low for about a month then like a light switch one day ill spend a month trying to save a bogey seems like every hole. Constant back and forth that mostly depends on where my irons and chip/pitch game are.  Ahh golf.....

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#89 GMR

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 09:23 AM

View PostKAndyMan, on 19 September 2018 - 09:15 AM, said:

Depends on which part of my bipolar game shows up that day! Some days 3-4 under is easy and i know where i left a few that couldve gone lower. Other days im fighting tooth and nail for bogey golf. Never seems to be an in between. Usually go in streaks of shooting low for about a month then like a light switch one day ill spend a month trying to save a bogey seems like every hole. Constant back and forth that mostly depends on where my irons and chip/pitch game are.  Ahh golf.....
3-4 under your handicap or 3-4 under par? Don't know I've run across many guys that alternate between shooting 68s and 92s...

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#90 Obee

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 10:22 AM

View PostThinkingPlus, on 17 September 2018 - 04:43 PM, said:

View PostObee, on 17 September 2018 - 04:32 PM, said:

Practically every time I tee it up, I'm playing with other scratch or below golfers or tour pros. scratch/below golfers and pros tend to play golf together, for the most part....
Obes, you are so lucky.  If it isn't a state tournament I never play with anyone near scratch, much less pro level.  That is one of the reasons I play at least one tournament with the kids each year.  I get torched, but it is a fun 3 days of golf with some real good players.

Bummer. Why is that? Are there just not very many scratch/below guys where you play?

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