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If "The difference between a Tour pro and a scratch is 15 strokes" then....

Tour Tour vs. Scratch How good is a scratch Joes vs Pros

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#1 Obee

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 06:49 AM

Hello ladies and gents!

I see this statement quite frequently: "I've heard the difference between a tour pro and a scratch amateur golfer is, like, 15 shots." Well if that's true, what is the difference between a scratch 45 - 60 year old golfer and a solid Champions Tour player like Goydos or Colin Montgomerie?

Asking for a friend.... ;-)

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#2 WidespreadPanic

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 06:54 AM

Well, if the HC system means anything, it should be the difference in that. BUT, since a pro really has a good chance of scoring to their ability, and the amateur does it just every so often, I’m going to say about 10.4 strokes.
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#3 Caddykev

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 07:05 AM

 Obee, on 07 October 2018 - 06:49 AM, said:

Hello ladies and gents!

I see this statement quite frequently: "I've heard the difference between a tour pro and a scratch amateur golfer is, like, 15 shots." Well if that's true, what is the difference between a scratch 45 - 60 year old golfer and a solid Champions Tour player like Goydos or Colin Montgomerie?

Asking for a friend.... ;-)
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I def wouldn’t want to play him at rec Park, skylinks, or el dorado haha.

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#4 Obee

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 07:33 AM

 Caddykev, on 07 October 2018 - 07:05 AM, said:

 Obee, on 07 October 2018 - 06:49 AM, said:

Hello ladies and gents!

I see this statement quite frequently: "I've heard the difference between a tour pro and a scratch amateur golfer is, like, 15 shots." Well if that's true, what is the difference between a scratch 45 - 60 year old golfer and a solid Champions Tour player like Goydos or Colin Montgomerie?

Asking for a friend.... ;-)
https://www.google.c...o-am-scores/amp

I def wouldn’t want to play him at rec Park, skylinks, or el dorado haha.

Yeah, he's at Dove Canyon. Plays there with scratch ams all the time.
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#5 Loki

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 08:59 AM

I thought it was something like "it's easier for a 15 hcp to get to scratch than a scratch to be a pro."

Or something like that.


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#6 Jagpilotohio

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 09:11 AM

 Obee, on 07 October 2018 - 06:49 AM, said:

Hello ladies and gents!

I see this statement quite frequently: "I've heard the difference between a tour pro and a scratch amateur golfer is, like, 15 shots." Well if that's true, what is the difference between a scratch 45 - 60 year old golfer and a solid Champions Tour player like Goydos or Colin Montgomerie?

Asking for a friend.... ;-)

It’s certainly not 15 strokes different between scratch and tour pro.

If a player plays a variety of different and difficult courses and uses all rules all the time (no 3 foot gimmees), then a true scratch player and a tour pro should only be about as different as the difference in their indexes, plus a couple strokes.

Most tour pros are about +5-to +6, but they are +6 on a variety of very challenging courses from the tips.  That’s why I say index plus a couple strokes.

The same should go for champions players. Index plus a couple strokes.
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#7 golfandfishing

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 09:29 AM

We talking Monty playing a casual round money game with ams or a scratch am trying to play in a tour event?  In a tour event I’ll let the scratch am have 12, Monty post 68 and see if scratchy scratch can break 80 at, say.... PGA West in the Bob Hope.

In a money game at a club - scratchy scratch better be at 75ish depending on the rating/slope. Monty’s game doesn’t change much and he’s around 68 still, so I’d allow the scratch 3 a side.

I know why you are asking, and I hope you have a blast playing with Monty. He’s a great guy by all accounts, I know a few people who have played with him and his reputation in the US is not indicative of who he is in person. I also thought you were a few better than scratch?  Don’t go sandbagging the scot. :).

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#8 grantc79

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 09:30 AM

I play with two friends all the time one is on the Web and has had success there and in PGA events. The other is a scratch or +1. The scratch generally gets 3 strokes a side and its pretty even. Heck I'm a 5.3 and I'm only getting 6 per side.

If I go out and shoot 78 the pro has to go 66 to tie me that's not exactly a given.
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#9 Shilgy

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 10:10 AM

 grantc79, on 07 October 2018 - 09:30 AM, said:

I play with two friends all the time one is on the Web and has had success there and in PGA events. The other is a scratch or +1. The scratch generally gets 3 strokes a side and its pretty even. Heck I'm a 5.3 and I'm only getting 6 per side.

If I go out and shoot 78 the pro has to go 66 to tie me that's not exactly a given.
No, it's not a given for the pro to shoot 66, but then you should only shoot 78 a quarter of the time. And that's on a course with rating the same as par. A more difficult course it would be less often.
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#10 Shilgy

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 10:16 AM

 Caddykev, on 07 October 2018 - 07:05 AM, said:

 Obee, on 07 October 2018 - 06:49 AM, said:

Hello ladies and gents!

I see this statement quite frequently: "I've heard the difference between a tour pro and a scratch amateur golfer is, like, 15 shots." Well if that's true, what is the difference between a scratch 45 - 60 year old golfer and a solid Champions Tour player like Goydos or Colin Montgomerie?

Asking for a friend.... ;-)
https://www.google.c...o-am-scores/amp

I def wouldn’t want to play him at rec Park, skylinks, or el dorado haha.
Sandbagging sob. Doesn't even post as T scores lol. :)

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#11 grantc79

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 07:26 AM

 Shilgy, on 07 October 2018 - 10:10 AM, said:

 grantc79, on 07 October 2018 - 09:30 AM, said:

I play with two friends all the time one is on the Web and has had success there and in PGA events. The other is a scratch or +1. The scratch generally gets 3 strokes a side and its pretty even. Heck I'm a 5.3 and I'm only getting 6 per side.

If I go out and shoot 78 the pro has to go 66 to tie me that's not exactly a given.
No, it's not a given for the pro to shoot 66, but then you should only shoot 78 a quarter of the time. And that's on a course with rating the same as par. A more difficult course it would be less often.

I hear you, I'm just saying from a NUMERICAL standpoint there isn't that many digits between +6 and scratch.

From an ability standpoint its probably about another 10,000 hours of practice lol.
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#12 pappaf2

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 07:42 AM

 Obee, on 07 October 2018 - 06:49 AM, said:

Hello ladies and gents!

I see this statement quite frequently: "I've heard the difference between a tour pro and a scratch amateur golfer is, like, 15 shots." Well if that's true, what is the difference between a scratch 45 - 60 year old golfer and a solid Champions Tour player like Goydos or Colin Montgomerie?

Asking for a friend.... ;-)

So when are you going to tell us the story?
We're not here for a long time,
just a good time.

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#13 Shilgy

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 08:14 AM

 grantc79, on 08 October 2018 - 07:26 AM, said:

 Shilgy, on 07 October 2018 - 10:10 AM, said:

 grantc79, on 07 October 2018 - 09:30 AM, said:

I play with two friends all the time one is on the Web and has had success there and in PGA events. The other is a scratch or +1. The scratch generally gets 3 strokes a side and its pretty even. Heck I'm a 5.3 and I'm only getting 6 per side.

If I go out and shoot 78 the pro has to go 66 to tie me that's not exactly a given.
No, it's not a given for the pro to shoot 66, but then you should only shoot 78 a quarter of the time. And that's on a course with rating the same as par. A more difficult course it would be less often.

I hear you, I'm just saying from a NUMERICAL standpoint there isn't that many digits between +6 and scratch.

From an ability standpoint its probably about another 10,000 hours of practice lol.
I thought we were referring to the +6 to the 6(you).

12 is huge.



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#14 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 08:24 AM

Obee is such a tease!  Throws the lure out there and gets you hooked. Then you can’t wait for the full story!

Count me as one who has taken the bait. I’ll be looking forward to more!
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#15 scooterboy59

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 08:27 AM

3 to 5 shots per round for a good Champions player. 12 to 15 shots over the couse of three rounds.


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#16 MtlJeff

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 08:33 AM

Yeah I'd guess on average maybe 5 shots, because I assume champions tour players are around +5 indexes.
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#17 mosesgolf

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:01 AM

Scratch players will almost never play to their index when paired against someone who plays as if their from another planet.  I played with two former PGA Tour players.  They are highly underrated as to how good they are vs your average Joe scratch player who thinks they have some level of tour talent.  :D
I used to be WRX long and they both out drove me easily 10-15 yards and they weren't even swinging that hard.  And then there is their wedge and putter well that's just not fair.  :D
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#18 dmac4g

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:06 AM

I am going all in with Obee wins, straight up, no shots...............

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#19 The General

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:11 AM

 Jagpilotohio, on 07 October 2018 - 09:11 AM, said:

 Obee, on 07 October 2018 - 06:49 AM, said:

Hello ladies and gents!

I see this statement quite frequently: "I've heard the difference between a tour pro and a scratch amateur golfer is, like, 15 shots." Well if that's true, what is the difference between a scratch 45 - 60 year old golfer and a solid Champions Tour player like Goydos or Colin Montgomerie?

Asking for a friend.... ;-)

It’s certainly not 15 strokes different between scratch and tour pro.

If a player plays a variety of different and difficult courses and uses all rules all the time (no 3 foot gimmees), then a true scratch player and a tour pro should only be about as different as the difference in their indexes, plus a couple strokes.

Most tour pros are about +5-to +6, but they are +6 on a variety of very challenging courses from the tips.  That’s why I say index plus a couple strokes.

The same should go for champions players. Index plus a couple strokes.

yeah totally agree with this. All scratch are not created equal. If you are scratch and play the same course every weekend and another scratch plays the tips from courses all over, that's a huge difference.

IMO, the big diff between scratch and a tour player is the mental game. The players brain is everything and the tour player is a cerebral assassin! (also, they never miss the sweet spot!!!!)

Edited by The General, 08 October 2018 - 09:12 AM.


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#20 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:16 AM

 mosesgolf, on 08 October 2018 - 09:01 AM, said:

Scratch players will almost never play to their index when paired against someone who plays as if their from another planet.  I played with two former PGA Tour players.  They are highly underrated as to how good they are vs your average Joe scratch player who thinks they have some level of tour talent.  :D
I used to be WRX long and they both out drove me easily 10-15 yards and they weren't even swinging that hard.  And then there is their wedge and putter well that's just not fair.  :D

A lot of people  play better when playing with substantialy better players.

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#21 Frostfield

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:30 AM

Tour pros are probably closer to 8 shots better than the scratch on average.

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#22 Obee

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:37 AM

Didn't play with Monty, unfortunately. Have played a bunch with Goydos and Pernice over the years.

Friday we played at Victoria Club in Riverside. It's a 1923 Max Behr (re)design. Very quirky and fun. Greens receptive, but lots of break. Course has five par-5's and five par-3's. 6500 yards, 71.3, 129. Pernice had not played it before, most of us had played it anywhere from a bunch of times to a few times.

We played there because our home course had a ladies event. It was also a practice round for a several of us (not Pernice) because we had a tournament at Victoria on the weekend. Pernice had lots of bets (as usual) and grinded like he always does. Guy is just a pro.

Scores were:

Pernice: 69
+2 Am: 69
+1 Am: 70
4 Am: 72
Pro: 72
2 Am: 72
0 Am: 73
0 Am: 73
1 Am: 74
Obee: 74
2 Am: 75
+3 Am: 77
0 Am: 78

I had an off day on Friday and did not play well at all. Followed that up with back to back 70's on Saturday and Sunday in the tournament and my partner fired 72, 68 good for better-ball 64, 64 which had us finish at 2nd place, one back of the winners. Always enjoy playing Victoria Club.

Make of that what you will, but that's quite standard when we play with the top Champions Tour guys. Sometimes one or two of us will beat them, but usually they are within the top couple scores all the time. The easier the course (and Victoria is only 6517, 71.3/129), the more bunched the scores are and the better chance a scratch or below am has of beating a pro. The tougher the course, the more it will test ALL of one's game, and that's where the pros really separate themselves from good ams.

During the tournament, we played the course a bit shorter and there was a 7-under 65 by a 0. I would expect Pernice's "live-in" range to be 64 to 68 there. Mine is 69 to 74.

Make of that what you will. I just think it's valuable to give real-world examples of pros playing with ams -- especially a pro like Pernice who never "messes around" when he's playing golf. Goydos is the same way. Both guys are just consummate professionals.

Feel free to ask questions. I love talking about these rounds. By the way, Pernice is now almost 60 years old and you would NEVER know it. Guy is in fantastic shape and is still top-20(ish) in the world on the Champions Tour. Amazing how long these guys have been able to extend their careers.

Edited by Obee, 08 October 2018 - 09:51 AM.

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#23 Obee

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 09:42 AM

 Frostfield, on 08 October 2018 - 09:30 AM, said:

Tour pros are probably closer to 8 shots better than the scratch on average.

Yeah, with the young guys.

Pernice would never take a bet giving a guy like me 8 strokes on a course like Victoria. Not a chance in hell. And I'm only scratch nowadays.

We play him as a +4 (which matches up with Goydos' index in one of the posts above) in our bets and he probably gets the best of us a bit due to his consistency.

Edited by Obee, 08 October 2018 - 09:45 AM.

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#24 jt2gt

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 10:32 AM

 Obee, on 08 October 2018 - 09:37 AM, said:

The easier the course (and Victoria is only 6517, 71.3/129), the more bunched the scores are and the better chance a scratch or below am has of beating a pro. The tougher the course, the more it will test ALL of one's game, and that's where the pros really separate themselves from good ams.


This quote sums up most of the discussions I have seen on WRX regardin pros vs. ams...even the LPGA pro vs scratch male.  It really is the mental aspect that separates...Ive seen pros get out of mentally challenging situations without issue and even birdies where a good am would be bogie or worse (example -- saw Toms par from the rocks in a creek at Firestone and even had a putt for birdie).

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#25 bladehunter

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 10:36 AM

probably around 7-9 shots...But if you get Monty on a course with alot of dogleg lefts and talk them into left pin placements , maybe only 4...lol

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#26 Obee

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 10:42 AM

 jt2gt, on 08 October 2018 - 10:32 AM, said:

 Obee, on 08 October 2018 - 09:37 AM, said:

The easier the course (and Victoria is only 6517, 71.3/129), the more bunched the scores are and the better chance a scratch or below am has of beating a pro. The tougher the course, the more it will test ALL of one's game, and that's where the pros really separate themselves from good ams.


This quote sums up most of the discussions I have seen on WRX regardin pros vs. ams...even the LPGA pro vs scratch male.  It really is the mental aspect that separates...Ive seen pros get out of mentally challenging situations without issue and even birdies where a good am would be bogie or worse (example -- saw Toms par from the rocks in a creek at Firestone and even had a putt for birdie).

It's actually a LOT more than just the mental. Their ball-striking is simply significantly superior on a day-in-day-out basis. There are solid scratch players who do one or two things as well or close to as well as a Champions Tour pro (putting, driving, short game, mental game), but none of them has the complete game that the pros have. And none of them have the consistency of strike that the pros have, or they'd be playing professionally and making a living. :-)
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#27 jt2gt

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 11:01 AM

 Obee, on 08 October 2018 - 10:42 AM, said:

 jt2gt, on 08 October 2018 - 10:32 AM, said:

 Obee, on 08 October 2018 - 09:37 AM, said:

The easier the course (and Victoria is only 6517, 71.3/129), the more bunched the scores are and the better chance a scratch or below am has of beating a pro. The tougher the course, the more it will test ALL of one's game, and that's where the pros really separate themselves from good ams.


This quote sums up most of the discussions I have seen on WRX regardin pros vs. ams...even the LPGA pro vs scratch male.  It really is the mental aspect that separates...Ive seen pros get out of mentally challenging situations without issue and even birdies where a good am would be bogie or worse (example -- saw Toms par from the rocks in a creek at Firestone and even had a putt for birdie).

It's actually a LOT more than just the mental. Their ball-striking is simply significantly superior on a day-in-day-out basis. There are solid scratch players who do one or two things as well or close to as well as a Champions Tour pro (putting, driving, short game, mental game), but none of them has the complete game that the pros have. And none of them have the consistency of strike that the pros have, or they'd be playing professionally and making a living. :-)

You're right...but I think one leads to the other and vice versa. What gives them that mental confidence -- knowing their strike is so good, they can hit the shot off the rocks (or under the tree, around the bush, etc.)  Its really a different thought process for most ams.

Edited by jt2gt, 08 October 2018 - 11:01 AM.


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#28 rangersgoalie

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 12:32 PM

 MtlJeff, on 08 October 2018 - 08:33 AM, said:

Yeah I'd guess on average maybe 5 shots, because I assume champions tour players are around +5 indexes.

There’s probably a pretty big spread top to bottom in Champions Tour index

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#29 ShutSteepStuck

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 01:26 PM

We need you to wax eloquently about Pernice's short game.

Let's hear some stories...

Obviously the guy has tons of mental grit, but how much of his ability to grind well is due to that phenomenal short game?

I would think that having a short game like his is roughly equivalent to having an ace up your sleeve. IOW, when clanking it a little bit I don't imagine he gets to worked up knowing he can scramble and STILL score.
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#30 MtlJeff

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 03:17 PM

 rangersgoalie, on 08 October 2018 - 12:32 PM, said:

 MtlJeff, on 08 October 2018 - 08:33 AM, said:

Yeah I'd guess on average maybe 5 shots, because I assume champions tour players are around +5 indexes.

There’s probably a pretty big spread top to bottom in Champions Tour index

I suppose that's likely true!

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