You’re playing a harder course than the Tour pros.

Today’s post is somewhat of a follow-up to last week’s article that noted the vast difference between your game and that of PGA Tour professionals.  What I want to show you is how the course(s) you play on a regular basis are “harder” than the courses the tour professionals tackle each week.  And that makes for less fun than we are supposed to have out there.

To understand the premise I’m sharing, you have to fairly look at the distance challenges your course throws at you, versus the courses and players you see on TV each week.

  1.  You very likely do not have the ability to reach many . . . if any . . . par five greens in two shots.  In contrast, PGA Tour pros routinely hit mid-irons, or even short irons, into most of the so-called par five holes on their courses.  So, if they can reach these holes with two shots, how can they really be considered par five holes?  The premise of par is that a par four hole is one in which a golfer can be expected to reach the green with two shots, so doesn’t that mean there are very few “real” par five holes for these guys.  And if there are so few “real” par five holes, doesn’t that reduce almost all PGA Tour courses to a “real” par of 68 or maybe 69?
  2. How many of the par four holes on your course can you not regularly reach in two shots?  If you consider those as “real” par five holes for you, then you might be playing a golf course with “your own personal par” of 75, 76 or even higher.
  3. In your typical round of golf, how many par four and par three approach shots do you hit with an 8-iron or less?  The PGA Tour average is somewhere around 10-11, more for the shorter courses and /or the longest hitters.
  4. How many par four and par three holes require you to hit your approach with a five-iron or longer club?  You almost never see those holes on the PGA Tour.

This doesn’t even take into account that you play greens that are not as smooth as those on Tour, and the bunkers you encounter can be nearly anything, but PGA Tour perfect they are most certainly not.

So, before you beat yourself up about your scoring, give your course a fair assessment of its real difficulty.  To throw the same challenge at the PGA Tour, courses would have to be well over 8,000 yards.  In the recent U.S. Open at Erin Hills, which measured over 7,700 yards, champion Brooks Koepka hit wedge or short iron to almost every green, and was able to reach almost all par-fives in two shots.  Not to take anything at all away from his win, isn’t championship golf supposed to test a golfer all the way through the bag?

But back to our real world and the golf we play, to make the game more enjoyable . . . and to play it as it is meant to be played . . . move up to a set of tees that makes the published par a realistic measure of your own golf.

5 thoughts on “You’re playing a harder course than the Tour pros.”

  1. My gripe is less about distance, Terry, and more about green speed and pin placements. On some courses, tough greens are viewed as a test of manhood. When you reach a green in regulation, and then 3 or 4 putt largely because of ultra-fast or tricked-up greens, it takes the fun out of the round and the game.

  2. I’m convinced that on some courses, the guys who set the pins either don’t play the game, or purposely put them in locations that are unfair. Apart from taking the fun out of the game, this slows down the pace of play.

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