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Quantifying the myth of the Tour professional


maintain handicaps of 3 or lower. “When the fl ag goes up for the club champion- ship,” this pro says, “rarely does anyone shoot under par. For the most part scores in the range of 73 to 75 are pretty darn competitive.” The mastery of much tougher playing fi elds is only one way Tour pros differ from amateurs. Take their extreme sensitivity, for ex- ample. This is manifested in their equipment, but also in an uncanny ability to detect the ever-changing playing conditions. Al Geiberger, the original Mr. 59, used his face to determine the direction of the wind. When he felt the breeze evenly on each cheek he knew his nose was point- ed directly into the wind, a mini weather vain. Today’s pros calibrate their equip- ment even more precisely. Some amateurs can tell


the difference between a stiff Al Geiberger


Caddie Joe LaCava with his new boss, Tiger Woods


B


y way of perspective, another question I get a lot is, “If a Tour event came to my


home course tomorrow what would the guys shoot?” If your home course is Oak- mont, outside Pittsburgh (eight-time host of the U.S. Open, more then any other course), than the scoring would be reasonable. But let’s say it is a standard golf course with an above average rating, say 72.9, and slope of 130. Say this course has fast greens and plays to a par of 72. It’s a pretty good chal- lenge for most players but it’s


a pitch-and-putt for players who are used to 7,600-yard courses with skinny fairways, gnarly rough, cavernous bun- kers, brick-hard greens and hole locations tucked three paces from oblivion. Put 156 Tour players on this course and there would be mul- tiple rounds in the 50s. The winning score over four days would be around -36. Maybe lower. This is not a knock on this fi ctitious course—Tour players would eviscerate any everyday layout. By way of comparison, according to a local head pro, his club has a half a dozen players who


SPRING 2013 / NCGA.ORG / 37


PHOTO: USGA


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