Thinking of becoming a Tour Player? This is what it takes!

Occasionally a golfer approaches me with the request to help with his/her game as he/she is considering trying to qualify for the PGA or LPGA Tour.  One of the first things I emphasize is just how good they have to be before they even attempt qualifying school.  Peter Sanders of Golfwrx has put together a great statistical analysis of the true difference between a scratch player and a PGA Tour player.  If you still think you can make it, give me a call.  I will be happy to help you on your journey!
You might ask: How would I know the differences between a scratch golfer and a PGA Tour player? Well, it is my full-time job to know these type of things about golf. I have been studying the game from a statistical standpoint for 27 years. I created the Strokes Gained analysis website, ShotByShot.com, and work with PGA Tour members to extract clear answers from the Tour’s overwhelming 653 ShotLink stats. My experience tells me that there is no such thing as an average game, no matter the handicap level. We’re all snowflakes and find our own unique way to shoot our number. With that said, ShotByShot.com’s 260,000+ round database enables us to create a composite sketch of the average golfer at each level. One of the beauties of our averages is that they are smooth across all five major facets so that every individual golfer’s strengths and weaknesses — and we all have them — stand out clearly by comparison.

The Data Used for this Study

  • Mr. Scratch: I averaged the 8,360 rounds in our database that match the zero handicap criteria. In other words, the rounds when Mr. Scratch actually played to his 0 handicap.
  • PGA Tour: The average of the 14,557 ShotLink rounds recorded in the 2015 season.

The Math

The USGA’s Course and Slope rating system does a sophisticated job of evaluating the relative difficulty of our golf courses. I joined my local course rating committee shortly after the new “Slope” system was added. My specific goal was to gain an understanding of how the system works so that I could effectively apply it in my analysis program. Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 2.04.31 PM For the purposes of this article, the Course Rating reflects the relative course par for the scratch golfer. The chart below tells us that the PGA Tour scoring average is 2.25 strokes better than Mr. Scratch. Further, Tour players are playing courses that are 3.2 strokes more difficult. The net result is a 5.45-shot difference between Tour players and Mr. Scratch, but let’s just call it 5.5.

Driving

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 2.05.57 PM The chart above shows us that the biggest piece of the 5.5-shot pie falls into the Driving category, or Distance, which makes sense to me. To play the game for a living, one must be able to hit it straight and far. Even Zach Johnson, with whom I have had the great pleasure of working with for five years, is often considered a short hitter. I contend that he is simply more intelligent and recognizes the true value of accuracy. Zach is averaging 281 yards this year, only seven off of the Tour average. Short? Not by my standards. The chart below indicates that the driving distance gap between the Tour and Mr. Scratch is 33 yards. The average approach shot distance on the PGA Tour is 175 yards. Adding the 33 yards to all 14 driving holes puts Mr. Scratch’s average approach distance at just over 205 yards. The Strokes Gained value of this added distance is 2.52 strokes (0.18 per attempt x 14 driving holes = 2.52).
To read the rest of this article on the difference between a scratch player and the PGA Tour players, go here! Source : Peter Sanders     Golfwrx Pictures : Peter Sanders     Golfwrx

Who is your pick for the British Open? Here are the top 13!

The first two Major Championships of the year each had their own dramatic scenes.  First was Jordan Spieth’s unexpected collapse on #12 on Sunday at the Masters, and then the whole Dustin Johnson rules debacle prior to him finally winning his first Major Championship.   What will the British Open feature?  I’m sure it will contain plenty of highs and lows for a great group of talented golfers.  Who is your pick this year?   of Golf Digest gives you 13 of the top contenders for the Claret Jug!

1.) Jason Day

To see the rest of these top British Open participants, go here Source :    Golf Digest Pictures : Getty Images

Who are the Top 10 Wedge Players on the PGA Tour?

How do you become one of the best players in the world?  By hitting your wedges close!  There have been some mediocre ball strikers on the PGA Tour who have made a very nice living with this one club!  And I must say good wedge players are also usually good putters.  A really lethal combination.  It did surprise me that Zach Johnson, who I thought would be in the top 2 along with Luke Donald, was only 8th and Luke did not make the top 10!  Maybe Luke needs to go and work on that wedge game that took him to the #1 spot in the world.  Thanks to David Dusek of Golfweek for putting together this informative list!
Adam Scott leads the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole on shots hit from within 100 yards.
Adam Scott leads the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole on shots hit from within 100 yards. (Getty Images)
 1. Adam Scott: 11 feet, 2 inches 
Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (48 degrees bent to 49, 54, 60 degrees), all with True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT X100 shafts The bomb part of the “bomb-and-gouge” strategy makes people’s jaws drop and eyeballs strain. Drives that fly 320 yards do that. But the other part of “bomb-and-gouge” – stuffing a wedge shot close to the hole after hitting the aforementioned mentioned blast – is just as impressive. And modern wedges are designed to help players lock in on the flag. Until fairly recently, most manufacturers designed wedges with the same grooves in each club, regardless of the club’s loft or where golfers were most likely to use the club. Now, several companies give pitching wedges and gap wedges grooves similar to those found in irons, because the lower-lofted wedges basically are approach-shot clubs. Designers then use different, wider grooves for sand and lob wedges, clubs that are used more in rough around the green and sand. And there are several high-toe wedges available that give players more hitting area when the face is open wide. There are more sole grinds and bounce options available, too. Several wedges have material taken out of the heel and toe to make it easier to slide the leading edge under the ball on tight lies. When a player has a shot from within 100 yards of the hole, he or she almost always reaches for a wedge of some kind. Below are the 10 players who lead the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole on shots hit from the fairway within 100 yards from the hole, along with their average distance to the hole and their wedges. When it comes to getting it close, they’re the best in the business.

• • •
/ Getty Images

2. Rickie Fowler: 11 feet, 4 inches

Cobra King Pro Muscleback (47 degrees), with KBS C-Taper 125 S+ shaft; Tour Trusty (53, 57, 62 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts • • •
/ Getty Images

3. Stewart Cink: 12 feet

Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (48, 52 degrees), with Nippon Modus 3 120 TX shafts; (56 degrees bent to 57, 60 degrees bent to 62), with Nippon N.S. Pro WV 125 S shafts • • •
/ Getty Images

T4. Chad Collins: 12 feet, 3 inches

Fourteen RM-22 (47 degrees), MT-28 V5 (52, 56 degrees), RM-22 (60 degrees), all with Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shafts • • •
/ Getty Images

T4. Hideki Matsuyama: 12 feet, 3 inches

Srixon Z 945 (46), Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 (52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shafts To see the rest of the Top 10 Wedge Players on the PGA Tour, go here! Source :  David Dusek  Golfweek Pictures : Getty Images

What did these Tour players do before they hit the Big Time?

The road to the PGA Tour is littered with hopes and dreams on making it to the “Big Show.” Every now and then someone from the rank and file of the 9 to 5 golfers makes it and the dream for everyone else starts all over again.   Who would ever have guessed that former 3 time Major Champion Padraig Harrington was formerly an accountant? Or Paul Goydos was a substitute teacher?  Yes, many players on the PGA Tour had regular 9 to 5 jobs while they toiled away at their golf game hoping for that break to go on to fame and glory!  See this interesting  list of players who broke away from various jobs and made it to the big stage.  Thanks to  of Golf Digest for compiling this interesting list.  I found it interesting reading.

With former shoe salesman James Hahn winning at Quail Hollow, we decided to look at other guys who worked regular jobs before finding success on the PGA Tour.

Rich Beem sold cell phones

Bill Lunde worked in real estate

 

US Open Gear you can purchase whether you are there or not!

Have you ever been to a US Open Championship?  It is quite a spectacle and if you wish to purchase some US Open memorabilia for Fathers Day, or anyone else, you need a plan.  Andrew Tursky of Golf Wrx lays it out in a very neat and concise manner.  If you are going to be at Oakmont, make a list before you leave home and visit the merchandise tent at the end of your day, so you’re noy burdened with swag all day!  If you don’t get a chance to go, there is a link in the article below to head to their online store!  Happy Shopping!
The Players Championship is a celebration of Mother’s Day, while the U.S. Open is a celebration of Father’s Day — since it falls on U.S. Open Sunday every year. As such, the best possible Father’s Day gifts (that aren’t on this list, of course), are in this order:
  1. Winning the U.S. Open.
  2. Having your father caddie for you while you play in the U.S. Open.
  3. Attending the U.S. Open with your father.
  4. Buying your father a gift from the U.S. Open.
  5. Anything else.
UsOPenMerch1
The merchandise tent stands tall on top of the perch of the temporary U.S. Open town of pavilions.
Let’s assume you’ll be going with option No. 4 this year, and that’s where we come in. The merchandising situation can be a little overwhelming at the U.S. Open because of the sheer size of the tent, the number of choices to make and the ridiculous amount of people. Luckily, there are some standout candidates for purchase, whether they’re for your pops or not. There are also plenty of options for women and children, which you should be sure to check out while in the tent. And if you’re NOT attending the U.S. Open, click here to browse the online store.

10Necessary gadgets

What’s something you use on nearly every hole of golf you play? A ball marker. Most golfers use a quarter or a type of coin. Why not use something unique, like these markers with the awesome Oakmont-U.S. Open logo on them. Even if your dad doesn’t hit many greens in regulation, the divot repair tool can still help him repair the ball marks in his putting line from golfers who do. The repair tool sets are available for $32.

9Coasters

Dads drink beverages. Whether it’s coffee, tea, water, or something cold and frosty, they’ll want a coaster to keep from ruining their table. For only $13 dollars, these coasters are a steal, and they’ll always be put to good use.

8Man cave

While the furry squirrels are cool, and so are the metallic U.S. Open at Oakmont signs, the star here is the hanging bottle opener with a bottle cap catcher. It’s well worth the $52.

7Dad’s stomach is growling… for beers

These are the most awesome growlers I’ve ever seen. The U.S. Open-Oakmont logo is on the front, and U.S. Open winners from Oakmont are listed on the back. They’re available for $75, while the Steins (bottom) sell for $22 each.

6Hats, hats, and more hats 

There’s an entire corner of the merchandise tent dedicated to just hats. It’s a lot to handle, especially if you’re shopping for someone else. I’ve picked out my favorite, and what I believe to be the most unique, but you might be on your own trying to judge what dad will like best. UsOPenMerch6 This hat is a bit outlandish, but when he shows up to that July 4th cookout rocking it, he’ll be getting all of the compliments. It’s $34. UsOPenMerch10 If you’re dad is into camo, or hunting gear, this hat from Imperial is a drop-dead winner for $27. The squirrel cartoon logo comes on a 47 Brand hat ($27), and on a flat-and-yellow brim, snapback version as well. If your dad is into snapbacks, there’s a few other options he may like, pictured in the gallery above. UsOPenMerch11 The plaid white-and-green fitted hat, with the USGA logo and a clover as the back emblem, is a can’t miss for a dad who likes to be a bit eccentric with his fashion choices. UsOPenMerch13 Bring dad back a taste of Pittsburgh, and its sports teams, with one of these black-and-yellow hats from Imperial. The highly recommended Tour visor is $32.
To see the rest of this great merchandise and to learn how to get your hands on it, go here! Source : Andrew Tursky  GolfWrx

Are you a betting man? Here are tempting odds for the US Open.

 of Golf Digest has put together an interesting list of sleeper picks and the Under/Over for possible bets for the US Open.  I think it will be fun to get a group of buddies together and take a shot at predicting these outcomes.  Something to talk about on Monday morning!
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OAKMONT, Pa. — We’ve produced our U.S. Open favorites and sleeper picks, but how about a list of side bets and wagers for the degenerate gambler in us all? Using odds from Top Bet Sportsbook, here are the 10 best props, wagers and odds for the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club:

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What will the winner make on the first hole on Sunday? Par or better (-105), Bogey or worse (-130)

The 482-yard par 4 is one of the most challenging opening holes in the game. At the 2007 U.S. Open, the field averaged a 4.515 score on Oakmont’s first, the third-highest mark on the course behind the 18th and 10th holes. Figures like that would seem to indicate bogey is the prefered route.

However, there were more pars and birdies (230) than bogeys and higher (207) in 2007. Moreover, Angel Cabrera, the winner that year, recorded a par in his victory march, which is why we are going par or better for this bet.

Winning Nationality: American (-115), European (+220), Rest of the World (+275)

For those scoring at home, that “rest of the world” umbrella covers tournament favorite Jason Day (7-1), as well as Adam Scott (30-1), Hideki Matsuyama (30-1, and a guy a lot of people like this week) and Louis Oosthuizen (50-1). If you’re booking with Day or the aforementioned trio, include this prop as a parlay.

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2015 Getty Images

Will Jordan Spieth finish in the top 5? Yes (+125), No (-200)

Well, here are his last five finishes in majors: 1st, 1st, T-4th, 2nd, T-2nd. It’s an absurd streak, one that doesn’t seem sustainable…but I’m sure as hell not going against the Golden Child.

Will there be a hole-in-one? Yes (+240), No (-320)

There’s a 300-yard par 3, basically rendering the field to just three opportunities, and the last par 3 is a 231-yard bear. Wet weather on Thursday and Friday will give players a fighter’s chance, but Oakmont and the USGA have too much pride in this layout to bestow an ace. Circle “no.”

Winning margin: 1 stroke (+250), 2 strokes (+375), 3 strokes (+475), 4 strokes or more (+300), Playoff (+260)

Jason Day said Oakmont’s set-up could lead to a runaway victor. Far be it from me to question 1) The world’s best player and 2) An Aussie. Four strokes or more is our pick.

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Will Rickie Fowler finish in the top 10? Yes (+220), No (-300)

Fowler’s 2014 campaign, one in which he finished in the top five in every major, seems long ago. Fowler’s best performance last season was a T-12 at Augusta. Worse, Fowler is not bringing his “A” game into Oakmont, missing the cut at the Masters, Players Championship and Memorial.

Fowler thrives on longer courses, but Oakmont is one of the few major venues that doesn’t cater to bombers. Add it up and the answer is “no” for Fowler this week.

To see the rest of these interesting Bets and odds, go here!

Source :   Golf Digest

Pictures : Getty Images

Who are the best drivers on Tour and what equipment do they use?

According to Mark Brodie, whose book “Every Shot Counts” presents a new way of measuring stats, driving distance is more important than driving accuracy.  The old way of measuring driving prowess was “Fairways Hit” which Mark Brodie proved to be wrong.  Brodie found that the long hitters had a distinct advantage over the shorter hitters even though the shorter hitters hit more fairways.  Golf Digest Stix gives us the best drivers on the PGA Tour who lead in “Strokes Gained Driving.”  As you can see they all hit the ball a long way.  What does this mean to you, the average golfer?  Go to the range and work on hitting the ball further not straighter!    
GD STIX
PGA Tour: Stat Leaders
Nearly every major championship puts a premium on driving the ball well, but it’s even more so at Oakmont Country Club for this week’s U.S. Open. The course is not only long—avoiding the long, thick rough makes distance and accuracy off the tee critical to contend. In 2007 Angel Cabrera averaged 310.9 yards off the tee (ranked second for the week) and hit enough fairways to rank T-3 in greens in regulation. Look for a similar performance from this year’s champion, with the following five players—who rank at the top of the PGA Tour’s strokes gained/off the tee category—among the most likely candidates. 1. Rory McIlroy. Strokes gained/off-the-tee: 1.227 Driver: Nike Vapor Fly Pro, 9.5 degrees Few players on tour can match McIlroy’s prowess off the tee. The four-time major winner uses a 45.25-inch Nike Vapor Fly Pro driver set at 9.5 degrees with a Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 70 XTS shaft and Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound ribbed white/black grip. Prior to this year’s Northern Trust Open in February, McIlroy (above) adjusted the loft of his driver plus 1 degree (from 8.5 to 9.5 degrees) in order to create more spin to help him draw the ball more.
2. Bubba Watson. Strokes gained/off-the-tee: 1.087 Driver: Ping G, 7.5 degrees As one would expect with an individual as unique as Watson, his Ping G driver isn’t exactly standard-issue. For starters, the 9-degree pink clubhead is set at 7.5 degrees, and the “dragonfly” technology on the crown (areas where the crown is made thinner) is black. Though one of the tour’s longest hitters, the True Temper Grafalloy BiMatrx x-flex shaft (which is graphite with a steel tip section) is on the short end of the spectrum at 44.5 inches, which Watson says offers him greater control of his tee shots. The grip is oversize with 11 wraps of tape on the top and 13 wraps on the bottom, set 10 degrees open. Watson will use this club as he tries to improve on his fifth-place showing at Oakmont in 2007.
To see the rest of the Top Drivers on the PGA Tour, and the equipment they use, go here! Source : Golf Digest Stix Pictures : Golf Digest Stix

What is your take on the study on increased distance on Tour?

The USGA and the R&A stated that these was no immediate plans to change the rules on equipment.  Using the words “slow creep” in regards to increased distance on Tour, the governing bodies see no need to panic at the moment.  I completely disagree with  that! At the current rate of a 1% gain in distance each year, it would mean that in 17 more years (not that long, considering this study is over 13 years) the Tour Pros will be hitting the ball over 400 yards! We’re talking average here, the longer hitters will be driving short par 4’s with ease and turning 500-yard par 4’s into a drive and a lob wedge.  The time to act is now, not like the anchored putter debacle when they waited too long to change the rule.  I agree with Jack, change the ball for the pros, but let the amateurs play with regular balls so they can enjoy an extra few yards and thus increase participation in the game!
USGA/R&A publish research on driving distance gains on PGA Tour
 It seems that everyone, from media critics to former players, has a solution for the problem of distance gains in golf today, whether it’s to dial back the golf ball, change regulations on equipment or to continue to lengthen golf courses. Even Jack Nicklaus offered his advice: “Change the friggin’ golf ball.
On Thursday, the USGA and R&A published research from a joint study on driver distance that may put those concerns to rest for the near future. The study looked at data on driver distance across seven major professional golf tours — the PGA, European, Japan Golf, Web.com, Champions, LPGA and Ladies European. As presented in the research, distance gains are at a “slow creep,” as opposed to what some critics have suggested. Click here to read the full study.  The chart below was used in the research study, showing yearly driving distance averages across the seven major tours — data for the PGA Tour dates back to 1980. DistanceUSGARA Also included is a look at yearly scoring averages, which the report also refers to as a “slow creep” downward.
Scoringaverages
Pictures : USGA & R&A

We interrupt this program with some news from the PGA Tour!

It certainly makes a whole lot of sense to me that the PGA Tour would consider having its own network.  In fact, I’m surprised that this has not happened sooner.  With the great success of the Golf Channel, it is obvious that people are willing to tune-in to their favorite pastime 24/7. Thanks to Dave Shedloski of Golf World Digital for this breaking and interesting story! 2895706635_836d260d39_b
A shakeup in televised golf’s established order might be in the offing, according to the Sports Business Journal. A May 16 story reports that the PGA Tour, which is in the midst of long-term rights deals with CBS and NBC/Golf Channel, could exercise an opt-out clause three years early—in 2018—to either seek new agreements or perhaps launch its own network. Network sources told SBJ that the tour has had preliminary discussions with several media companies to gauge interest in bidding on rights, although those same sources later expressed skepticism that the tour would end its current deals early. An industry source told Golf World that the tour’s exploratory initiative was driven by the lucrative USGA and R&A deals recently signed with Fox and NBC
To read the rest of this story and the complications involved, go here! Source : Golf World Digital   @DaveShedloski  STAN BADZ/PGA TOUR Pictures : Michael Gray   

Learn to wedge it inside 14 feet like the best on the PGA Tour!

Putting a wedge in the hands of these 10 players almost guarantees a shot that will finish inside 15 feet every time.  I must admit I am surprised that Zach Johnson and Luke Donald are not on this list as I regard both of them as the very best.  Getting the ball inside 15 feet every time you have a wedge in your hands will bring huge chunks off your score.  So head to the range, leave the driver in the bag and practice those wedges, you won’t be sorry!  Thanks so much to  David Dusek  of  GolfWeek for putting this list together!
Adam Scott leads the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole on shots hit from within 100 yards. Adam Scott leads the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole on shots hit from within 100 yards. (Getty Images)
 The bomb part of the “bomb-and-gouge” strategy makes people’s jaws drop and eyeballs strain. Drives that fly 320 yards do that.
But the other part of “bomb-and-gouge” – stuffing a wedge shot close to the hole after hitting the aforementioned mentioned blast – is just as impressive. And modern wedges are designed to help players lock in on the flag. Until fairly recently, most manufacturers designed wedges with the same grooves in each club, regardless of the club’s loft or where golfers were most likely to use the club. Now, several companies give pitching wedges and gap wedges grooves similar to those found in irons, because the lower-lofted wedges basically are approach-shot clubs. Designers then use different, wider grooves for sand and lob wedges, clubs that are used more in rough around the green and sand. And there are several high-toe wedges available that give players more hitting area when the face is open wide. There are more sole grinds and bounce options available, too. Several wedges have material taken out of the heel and toe to make it easier to slide the leading edge under the ball on tight lies. When a player has a shot from within 100 yards of the hole, he or she almost always reaches for a wedge of some kind. Below are the 10 players who lead the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole on shots hit from the fairway within 100 yards from the hole, along with their average distance to the hole and their wedges. When it comes to getting it close, they’re the best in the business.

1. Adam Scott: 11 feet, 2 inches (pictured above)

Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (48 degrees bent to 49, 54, 60 degrees), all with True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT X100 shafts (above) / Getty Images

2. Rickie Fowler: 11 feet, 4 inches

Cobra King Pro Muscleback (47 degrees), with KBS C-Taper 125 S+ shaft; Tour Trusty (53, 57, 62 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts / Getty Images

3. Stewart Cink: 12 feet

Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (48, 52 degrees), with Nippon Modus 3 120 TX shafts; (56 degrees bent to 57, 60 degrees bent to 62), with Nippon N.S. Pro WV 125 S shafts / Getty Images

T4. Chad Collins: 12 feet, 3 inches

Fourteen RM-22 (47 degrees), MT-28 V5 (52, 56 degrees), RM-22 (60 degrees), all with Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shafts / Getty Images

T4. Hideki Matsuyama: 12 feet, 3 inches

Srixon Z 945 (46), Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 (52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shafts To see the other 5 top wedge players on the pGA Tour, go here! Source : David Dusek   GolfWeek Pictures : Getty Images