Could a Scratch Golfer break 85 at Augusta?

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  • RobotDoctorRobotDoctor Senior Hacker ClubWRX Posts: 4,545 ClubWRX




    So, I'm not throwing this out there to support one side or the other because obviously the conditions are different than laid out in the OP.



    [url="http://www.golf.com/tour-news/2018/04/11/13-things-i-learned-playing-augusta-national"]This guy[/url] won the media lottery and played it. Same pins. [url="http://www.golf.com/knockdown/2017/03/20/when-really-really-good-isnt-good-enough-inside-one-golfers-attempt-live-his-dream"]He's a very good golfer.[/url]



    1) from the member tees. 6350.

    2) he's probably better than a scratch



    So, like I said, I'm not throwing that out there AT ALL as an argument for one side or the other.



    What is very illustrative, however, is the perception that people share -- with people in this thread -- about the difficulty of Augusta and/or the "greatness" of the pros. He polled his twitter followers before he played.



    35% of them said "90-99". 31% said 100+. 2/3rds of the people thought a very good golfer who was trying to go pro wouldn't break 90 at Augusta. People who are interested enough in golf to follow golf.com on twitter.



    8% said "70-79".



    He shot 75.



    Maybe it will at least put to rest any conversation like "a scratch golfer wouldn't break 90 if he hit 18 greens in regulation".



    I guess the greens must have slowed down from 15 to 9 in the course of a day.




    You're not throwing this out there to support one side or the other except you obviously are.



    I don't see how this example is even worth bringing up.



    He is a plus handicap and played the course at 1,100 yards less with a caddie and without the course/Greens in tournament condition.



    Totally different scenario.




    Exactly! It's an interesting but useless anecdote.




    Maybe he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express the night before his round?
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  • isaacbmisaacbm Members Posts: 3,273 ✭✭
    edited Apr 13, 2018 #1263
    I find it interesting that he didn’t three putt any of the greens. Honestly that’s quite incredible.

    Even if they didn’t cut the greens in the morning, the day after Masters Sunday they still would’ve been over 13 on the stimp...
  • Short PeteShort Pete Members Posts: 198 ✭✭
    edited Apr 13, 2018 #1264
    Obee wrote:

    JL1 wrote:
    Purely out of curiosity from reading this thread (which to my chagrin I think I may now be addicted to) I did a little research.



    According to the 2017 spring guide, the National Golf Foundation estimates 25.8 million unique players played golf in the US within 12 months of Spring 2017. They also claim 77 percent of golfers are male, which means there are approximately 19,866,000 male golfers. The USGA says that 1.6 percent of male golfers are 0 handicap or better. Link: https://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-index-statistics/mens-handicap-index-statistics-d24e6096.html



    This means that by definition there are around 318,000 (rounded) scratch or better male golfers. Seems unlikely to me that this many male golfers could walk onto Augusta under tournament conditions and shoot an 85. I say that I guess mainly because I think there are vast differences between golfers who carry 0 handicaps or better. There are only two such players at my semi suburban semi rural country club carrying a 0 or better. One of them carries a +1, the other a 0. Truth be told these two are about 6 strokes apart on our home course, and more than that on any given difficult away course. The guy who is the +1 is one of the top 30 or so players in a large metropolitan golf association and one of the top 50 players in the state. The other guy never competes in anything outside our club except maybe once a year in a member-guest (which is a nothing burger) at another local club. I once asked him why he never competes in anything in our own golf association or the state level tournaments and, at least here he was brutally honest. "I'm not good enough", he said. Kind of sums things up.



    I look at golf like I look at a lot of things. The higher up the food chain, the better the player. A PGA Tour Player is considered the top level player in the world. The European Tour has players as good as PGA Tour Players, but overall it is a notch below. The web.com and Asia Tour are next. Then NCAA top players. After that the Latin America and Mackenzie Tours. Then the other mini tours. That is 5 or 6 steps down before you ever hit the State Opens which the typical scratch player like the guy I described above doesn't think he is good enough to play in.



    Stewart Hagestad won the Mid Am in 2016 and played in the 2017 Masters and shot 79-81. Our +1 is not in his league, and our 0 is not even close to our +1. This, I guess, sums up all of my addiction prompted postings here in this thread. I crazily think there are 6 or 7 huge notches of talent between the tour players and the typical scratch player, and several huge notches even between a guy like a US Mid Am champ and a "typical" scratch.



    Ok, I'm out to the course now. Time to see if I can get my own swing in proper order.




    Might want to re-check your Hagestad numbers....



    This year's Mid-Am champ (Parziale?) did not fare well (79, 81). In the past, the Mid-Am champs have not done too well either, but Hagestad was a big exception in 2017, he played superbly and made the cut.



    Average score of the Mid-Am champs is prolly 77(ish)? over the last 10 years, I would guess.



    These guys are ~2 - 3 shots better than a guy like me when I'm playing a decent amount of golf (and not injured) on a reasonably difficult course. They are prolly 3 - 6 better on a really tough track like Augusta in Masters conditions, on average.



    How do I know? I've been playing tournament golf with these types of guys for the better part of 20 years and have tournament results that prove it.



    Short courses, long courses (7400ish at The Carlton Woods Invitational), and everything in between.




    @obee



    Please correct me if I don't get this right: The Mid-Am champs are not scratch, they are better than that. The guys who compete there (not the winners, the competitors) are 3-6 strokes better on tough courses than you when you are firing on all cylinders. You consider yourself to be a "real scratch" (which I don't doubt). The best of the bunch of Mid Am competitors (the winners!) have had an average of 77 over the last years. This best of the bunch may be even one stroke better than the mere competitors. That means he is 4-7 strokes better than you (the true scratch) on a tough course (for example Augusta National). The Mid Am champs have had plenty of time to practice on the course, let's just add only 5 strokes to the average when you don't have that advantage and have no caddie who tells you where to hit it. 77+4+5 is 86, right? If you take 77+7+5 it's 89. That seems to make it a little unlikely that a true scratch should have a real good chance to break 85 without having set his foot on the course beforehand.



    Nothing personal here, I don't and won't belittle how well you and other true scratch players play, I just think that you have proven yourself wrong by stating the above.
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  • MfelixMfelix FelixUCF Members Posts: 88
    You can't understand the greens at Augusta until you have seen them in person. First time around, not knowing the breaks and where to put them, throws handicap right out the window. I'd say chances are slim of sub 85
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  • EdEdEdEd Members Posts: 32 ✭✭




    So, I'm not throwing this out there to support one side or the other because obviously the conditions are different than laid out in the OP.



    This guy won the media lottery and played it. Same pins. He's a very good golfer.



    1) from the member tees. 6350.

    2) he's probably better than a scratch



    So, like I said, I'm not throwing that out there AT ALL as an argument for one side or the other.



    What is very illustrative, however, is the perception that people share -- with people in this thread -- about the difficulty of Augusta and/or the "greatness" of the pros. He polled his twitter followers before he played.



    35% of them said "90-99". 31% said 100+. 2/3rds of the people thought a very good golfer who was trying to go pro wouldn't break 90 at Augusta. People who are interested enough in golf to follow golf.com on twitter.



    8% said "70-79".



    He shot 75.



    Maybe it will at least put to rest any conversation like "a scratch golfer wouldn't break 90 if he hit 18 greens in regulation".



    I guess the greens must have slowed down from 15 to 9 in the course of a day.




    You're not throwing this out there to support one side or the other except you obviously are.



    I don't see how this example is even worth bringing up.



    He is a plus handicap and played the course at 1,100 yards less with a caddie and without the course/Greens in tournament condition.



    Totally different scenario.




    Exactly! It's an interesting but useless anecdote.




    Yea it is a totally different scenario. So a guy who is at least a scratch, playing from the members tee (which is 1100yd shorter), hitting wedges into every green according to his post, didn't 3 putt at all (pretty incredible), having the caddie showing him the lines and places to miss, might have had the caddie moving his balls a couple of times to better lies/angles to the pin and he only shot 75. If anything, this is telling me that a scratch playing there for the first time with no caddy and with final round condition is highly unlikely to shot below 85. Not impossible, but very improbable.
  • bscinstnctbscinstnct Members Posts: 26,381 ✭✭
    Horses for courses.



    Not sure if applicable.



    Just always wanted to say "Horses for courses".



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  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,290 ✭✭
    EdEd wrote:


    Yea it is a totally different scenario. So a guy who is at least a scratch, playing from the members tee (which is 1100yd shorter), hitting wedges into every green according to his post, didn't 3 putt at all (pretty incredible), having the caddie showing him the lines and places to miss, might have had the caddie moving his balls a couple of times to better lies/angles to the pin and he only shot 75. If anything, this is telling me that a scratch playing there for the first time with no caddy and with final round condition is highly unlikely to shot below 85. Not impossible, but very improbable.




    And then consider the greens. It's highly unlikely that a scratch player would get around without a few three putts on tournament speed greens.
  • isaacbmisaacbm Members Posts: 3,273 ✭✭
    edited Apr 13, 2018 #1269
    I wish I could play all of these scratch golfers who have absolutely zero chance of breaking 85 for money ! I would quit my day job !

    Any legitimate tournament scratch who doesn’t have the confidence that he can break 85 is somebody I want to gamble with !!
  • MtlJeffMtlJeff MontrealMembers Posts: 28,360 ✭✭
    I just want to hang out with everyone in this thread, mostly because I feel like we're all family now. I've dated girls for less time than we've been discussing this!
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  • McgeenoMcgeeno Members Posts: 1,958 ✭✭




    And then consider the greens. It's highly unlikely that a scratch player would get around without a few three putts on tournament speed greens.




    They could have lots of 3 putts. 6 or 8 or maybe even 10.



    And still break 85.



    We are not talking about a mythical or scary number like 72 or 75 here. I don't see that happening at all. The score target is +13 on a really tough 78 rated course with little or no trouble off most tees.



    I assume a good tournament tested scratch is gonna slap in one birdie on a par 3 or par 4 over the course of the day. There are at least a handful of holes where you have a chance. I bet he will be able to somehow figure out a way to hit one iron close over 18 holes LOL. Add in a couple par 5's where you have a chance at birdie and the number is more than doable.



    I mean even 10 three putts. Two doubles and a triple playing conservatively. Add in a half dozen pars and a birdie or two and the number is 84.



    Not every scratch is gonna have a chance. But drop a handful there under the same scenario and someone gets it done no doubt.
  • dan360dan360 Paisano Members Posts: 5,280 ✭✭
    Yes
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  • nsxguynsxguy Just anudder user FloridaMembers Posts: 5,593 ✭✭
    dan360 wrote:


    Yes




    Short and sweet. image/good.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':good:' />



    And quite obvious to anybody that understands what "could" means,,,,,,,, image/yes.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':yes:' />

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  • JL1JL1 Members Posts: 78 ✭✭
    Obee wrote:

    JL1 wrote:
    Obee, I do not know who your friend is but he sounds more like the exception and less like the rule. Plus, Salem CC from the Championship tees is 6916 yards with a course rating of 73.5 and a slope of 134. Augusta is a much more difficult golf course than that.



    I have been reading this thread since it started and to me the question isn't black or white. It isn't, to me anyway, whether one scratch golfer can score 85 at Augusta. Of course if you got all scratch golfers on that course some of them would score better than that. The question to me is whether it would be rare, and I think it would.



    I have a buddy who when he was a small school college AA and +1.5 and who got thru more US Open local qualifiers than I can remember. Beat loads of young college players who were + handicaps. He played Augusta and did not score 85.



    Jon Smoltz is a +1.7 according to his GHIN profile. I saw him play 18 holes vs Tom Glavin one nite on The golf channel. He shot 81 on a track that isn't on the same level as Augusta. Tony Romo is a + 1 point something. We all saw what that opposite field event did to him. He never came close to winning anything in Dallas, let alone the whole state of Texas. Forget winning anything, or even competing, nationally.



    Your "average" scratch player is a piker whose game does not travel compared to better players in any large Golf Association. Your friend is either much better than an average scratch or he shot the rounds of his life plus made some putts he doesn't normally make.



    For the best in the world, Augusta can be scored on. But that course punishes weakness in anyone's game. Your average scratch has plenty of holes in their game. Not that they are outright bad at anything, just that there are some aspects of their game that are not strong. That's why their handicap doesn't travel, because where ever they go their weaknesses get exposed. Augusta will expose the weaknesses.




    Not disagreeing with much you have said here. It's the guys claiming "No chance," "1 in a thousand," etc. that I really don't get.



    And amateurs (like Smoltz, et al.) can, of course, put up big numbers. That's a given. But citing a high score or two makes as much sense as ONLY citing a player's good scores.



    We all have a range relative to the course we're playing and its rating and slope. Pros and ams alike.



    The very best pros in the world have a full range that is comparatively huge at Augusta: 63 to 78(?). Their range is higher at Augusta than it is at many courses because it is both very long, AND has a high slope (water, trees, fast, undulating greens, etc.).



    Amateurs would similarly have a huge range there. It would be even larger, in fact.



    In my mind, a true scratch (defined as someone who AVERAGES scratch golf over a year -- some months a a +1, others as a 1, others as a 0, etc) with decent tournament experience (former college golfer, competitive mid-am, etc), would have a low-end range of 77ish (which would be about as rare as a pro shooting the low end of THEIR RANGE, a 63) to 95.



    Top tour pros are ~8 to 12 strokes better than a scratch golfer. 8 better on an easy course, 12+ on the most difficult.



    Think about it. On a relatively easy 6700 yard course with a rating of 72 and a slope of 130, a scratch golfer is going to shoot 72 quite often, and average about 75, with a low of about 67



    A Tour pro is going to shoot 63-64 quite regularly and average 65-66. Low end of range is 57 or 58.



    The tougher the course gets in length/course rating, the higher the LOW scores become. If you also increase the slope rating, the larger the variability becomes, especially for the scratch player versus the pro.



    If we are talking about a 10-handicapper, all bets are off, low range is probably 90ish, but high range is pushing 120 if playing it down and in because a very high slope kills the mid and high capper. That's why a 14.0 index on a course with a 160 slope becomes a 20(!) course handicap!



    Btw, contrary to what many here think, it's my firm belief that the guys with the better short games as amateurs that will generally score in a tighter range at Augusta. Most scratch ams are going to miss at least 10 greens out there regardless of how long they hit it. And if you miss greens there, your short game better be pretty darn good to keep it under 90! :-)



    Meaning: Taken as a group, my guess is that the scratch players with the better short games but that are shorter hitters outperform the long hitters with marginal short games. :-)




    I mentioned that one score for Smoltz because it was the one score I knew about where he played on TV in front of a national audience. Lights, cameras, bogeys sort of thing.
  • lchanglchang Members Posts: 543 ✭✭
    No practice, no caddie today at Shinnecock. Any chance a scratch breaks 85 today?! I'd have to put (a lot of) my money on No!!



    Just played with a friend who's a 0.0-index (out of Olympic, whose handicaps generally travel well). So if we use that particular scratch player...definitely No!!
  • IThinkSoIThinkSo Banned Posts: 93 ✭✭
    Yep, could probably break 80 most of the time as well.
  • TheCityGameTheCityGame Traj like Minaj Members Posts: 15,235 ✭✭
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  • golfer929golfer929 Members Posts: 231 ✭✭

    After seeing this years edition of The Masters, has the opinion of anyone changed? Any new ideas brought to the table?

  • BuzzkillBuzzkill Marshals Posts: 6,734 mod

    For 9 holes, probably!

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  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Countdown to The Masters! ClubWRX Posts: 17,687 ClubWRX

    @golfer929 said:
    After seeing this years edition of The Masters, has the opinion of anyone changed? Any new ideas brought to the table?

    Yes, I’m not touching this with a ten foot pole!

  • cdnglfcdnglf Members Posts: 3,173 ✭✭

    Now that the scratch can leave the pin in, no problem.

  • Fairways_and_GreensFairways_and_Greens Members Posts: 759 ✭✭

    @ZBigStick said:
    If he can hit it 320+ off of the tee, like most Golfwrxers, then yeah. No problem.

    Wait, they’re letting people in here that don’t hit at least 320?

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  • MB GOLFMB GOLF Members Posts: 334 ClubWRX
    edited Apr 14, 2019 8:11pm #1284

    Tell your Bud... NOT A F'ING CHANCE. The better bet is: Same conditions, Break 45 putts.

    @golfer929 said:
    Friend and I were having a discussion. He says he could do it and would not only break 85, but 80 as well! Stipulations are no caddie, no cart, no walking the course beforehand, and 1 hour warmup before the round. Sunday tournament conditions, from the back tees. He said he wouldn't make a double bogey, and would birdie #13. What do you all think?

  • GolfSRQGolfSRQ Members Posts: 45 ✭✭

    Would be lucky to break 90. There are lot of “scratch” golfers who can shoot par at their own course. Then they go play a local tournament and shoot 83. Scratch golfer is an overused term. Most guys who pop off about stuff like this don’t even belong to good clubs , they play at the local semi-private where the grass is all the same length, the greens are slow and there’s no water.

  • MtlJeffMtlJeff MontrealMembers Posts: 28,360 ✭✭

    @GolfSRQ said:
    Would be lucky to break 90. There are lot of “scratch” golfers who can shoot par at their own course. Then they go play a local tournament and shoot 83. Scratch golfer is an overused term. Most guys who pop off about stuff like this don’t even belong to good clubs , they play at the local semi-private where the grass is all the same length, the greens are slow and there’s no water.

    Scratch is just a math equation. Your shots factoring in slope and rating. If it adds up to scratch you're a scratch. It doesn't mean anything beyond that

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  • RobotDoctorRobotDoctor Senior Hacker ClubWRX Posts: 4,545 ClubWRX

    Where is the "beating a dead horse" imoji when you need one?

    The answer is still NO!

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  • GolfSRQGolfSRQ Members Posts: 45 ✭✭

    Technically yes, but most of these guys who talk about it , do not put all their scores in, and when taken to a good course shoot in the 80s. A true scratch golfer should be able to play anywhere , anytime from the back tees and shoot par or close too it.

  • RobotDoctorRobotDoctor Senior Hacker ClubWRX Posts: 4,545 ClubWRX

    @GolfSRQ said:
    Technically yes, but most of these guys who talk about it , do not put all their scores in, and when taken to a good course shoot in the 80s. A true scratch golfer should be able to play anywhere , anytime from the back tees and shoot par or close too it.

    Go back and re-read the original criteria. Based on that, and that only, no way.

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  • cdnglfcdnglf Members Posts: 3,173 ✭✭

    @RobotDoctor said:
    Where is the "beating a dead horse" imoji when you need one?

    The answer is still NO!

    Your opinion is still no. The numbers still say yes.

  • SimpSimp Members Posts: 2,908 ✭✭

    I think I heard on the coverage today that one of the annoucers mention that Sam Snead (I think) said that he would give the average golfer every green in regulation but let him put the ball on the green where he wanted to put it and they wouldn't break 90. But what did Sam know?

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