I've only been to one tour event, the Senior PGA at Oak Hill CC this past year. The course setup/layout probably had a lot to do with it but their games were fairly relatable at times. We followed a handful of guys for a few holes, then peeled off to watch another group. Miguel Angel, Darren Clarke, Monte, Steve Stricker and Scott McCarron were the standouts. I believe it was hole 14 - downhill tee shot to an elevated green. Most played a hybrid or long iron from the tee, then a short iron or wedge in. What made them seem more human were the approach shots. Missing short and trickling back off the green or well short still in the fairway, not enough height/spin and it rolls off the back. Move ahead to 18, and most seem to effortlessly pound a drive right down the middle or hug the inside of the dogleg. Like others have said though, chipping/putting and course management are something we can all learn from I think.
This year I'll be going to a local Symmetra Tour event, and looking forward to that.
Professional athletes in any sport will blow you away.
It's not just time and hard work.
It's talent. Most people don' t have it. 1 in a million maybe.
I remember being a solid high school player with a little potential. Realistically it was foolish to think I had any chance to play on tour one day but when you're young and have big dreams you believe anything. I went to my first event which was the Buick Open in Grand Blanc Michigan in 2000. It was early on Saturday so we went straight to the range, and after a few minutes of watching them hit balls it hit me hard that I had zero chance of making it to that level. They were like machines and I was mesmerized by how effortless they made it seem. I remember watching KJ Choi warm up and he seemed like he never missed his target line by even a foot and when he was done he had the most perfect little strip of divot. My far fetched dream may have been crushed but I was thoroughly impressed.
I volunteer at the Genesis every year...so I get to see a lot of action.
Watching tee shots is incredibly dull...I have a couple friends who can hammer the ball and hit long irons like pros, or close to them.
However, watching their short games (not putting) is mindblowing...especially out of the sand. Also, recovery shots from bad lies or trouble (trees).
I wish broadcasters would show more of those non-standard shots...it really highlights the difference between the pros and excellent ams.
Bifurcation has been talked about a lot. When I watch the pros in person I realize the game is already bifurcated.
For those mentioning the seniors.. I totally recommend. Hopefully going to the Open at Sunningdale this year.
had a great day at Porthcawl few years ago. Monte shanked a short iron straight at me, Bob Tway hit a full wedge exactly one yard, laid the sod over it.
think they were both round in par that day.
I think watching a pro athlete in any sport is just plain awesome and inspiring.
Not inspiring in the sense that I have any delusions that I can approach those levels of performance, but simply appreciate what those levels can be for a human.
I've competed in a few different sports at a few different levels. Golf is a number of notches down the list when it comes to what level I've achieved compared to a couple of other sports. I've never sniffed at making a living through competing at a sport. Those that do are invariably in a different world, playing a different game, even though it may look similar on the surface. To me, it's fun to watch those that can and maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll grab a tidbit or two that might help my activities in some small way.
Maybe golf is a bit different than most other sports in that many people who don't look like prototypical athletes play the game, so there may be some inclination to think we can execute some of the same things the pros do. In reality, watching pro golfers play on the PGA tour is no different than watching the 100m sprinters in the Olympics.
I usually leave knowing I need to work on my tempo, but I also leave feeling a little better about my golf game in general.
I go in the first or second rounds, or if I go on the weekend, I watch the guys off early in the day to avoid the crowds. Personally, I think we put these guy's on super human pedestals because all we see on the telecasts are the dozen or so guys that are "on it" that week. Guys that have caught their highest gear. When you're out there watching the guys scratching and clawing for the cut line, or a paycheck on the weekend, you get to see that they are, in-fact, human. You also get to learn how to get the ball in the hole and get it around the course - Rarely do you see two bad shots, or bad decisions in a row.
I always play my best rounds immediately following going to a tour event. I've been to the (Shell) Houston Open a handful of times, and that next range session and round are always so much better in terms of ball striking. It is all tempo for me. I get the image of them in my head and try to emulate their tempo and rhythm. Also, Their ability to recover from poor shots (off the tee and approach shots both) is otherworldly.
I wish I could take this comment and plop it right into the Distance thread.
Opinions are my own and are never to be taken seriously.
and for God's sake, if you're going to whine about Jim Nantz, have the respect to spell his name correctly.
Driver: Callaway XHot Pro 9* Stiff
3W: Tour Edge Exotics 13* Stiff
3-4 HY: Callaway Rogue Stiff
5-PW: Callaway Rogue Stiff steel, True Temper
48* Titleist, 52* Callaway
Putter: Nike Method
Ball: ProV1 -- or whatever I find in the woods while looking for my ProV1
You don't have to go to a pro event. A guy at my club who I from time to time practice and play with and compete against hits his 3-wood 275 in the air. With the World Handicap System that came into effect March 1st in Sweden his index got revised to +2.9.
After watching him hit a few shots and seeing the TM numbers your own practice session feels completely futile.
Golf is a little different though. There are more tour level golfers percentage wise than there are NBA tier basketball players, for example. I actually know a lot of golfers who are just as good as a lot of tour players, but for some reason or another, stopped going for the dream. There’s a former Canada World Cup player teaching lessons at my course to hackers who have no idea they are learning from someone who has won on multiple world tours. This guy competes in local professional events, and believe it or not, doesn’t win most of the time he plays, because there are other players who are unbelievably good.
A sport like basketball though, if you are one of the best, a team will find you and sign you. Doesn’t work like that in golf. You could replace half of the top 125 on the tour with other top tier golfers and likely not notice a drop off in quality of play. If you took the bottom half of the players in the NBA and replaced them with other players, you’d notice a big drop off.
I'm never "blown away" by their distance. I play with guys that can outdrive half the guys on tour. I'm impressed with their consistency. With their ability to judge lies and manage spin on rock hard greens. And mostly...im jealous of their putting and short game.
Driver: PING g410 plus 9* with even flow black 75x
Fairway: PING g410 16.5* Tensei orange 70x
Hybrid: PING g410 19* Tensei blue 85x
4iron: PING iblade Project x lz 6.5
5-PW : PING blueprint Project X lz 6.5
Wedges: PING glide forged 50/54/58 Project x lz 6.0
Putter: Odyssey stroke lab
Exactly. And that's why I think golf still has a long ways to go too in terms of elevating the field athletically. But I'm not going down that road anymore.
I love watching the pro's and the most impressive thing to me is their ball striking. Very consistent and ball>dirt thump. Their short game and even temperaments are also awesome.
Love this question.
Short answer: Virtually every shot they hit inside about 150 nowadays, "****, I can do that."
Every Driver or long iron (as I've gotten older): "Sigh...." LOL
Long story: I was a baseball player in college, got hurt and took up golf at 20ish. My second lesson ever, I told the local pro that I was good enough to be a pro ball player and had played golf a few times, loved it, and wanted to dedicate myself to it and turn pro in a couple/few years. We talked a bit and I had my lesson. The next week, he said he was going to Riviera to watch the L.A. Open and I should come with him.
Well we went and enjoyed the day and followed Don Pooley around a bit because my teacher was also one of Don's teachers. Didn't talk much about the golf swing, etc. Just watched and he would point things out to me.
We we leave for the day and he asks me on the drive home: "So do you really think you can do this. Wanted to bring you out and show you just how good they are."
At the time, I was 21 and to me, anything was possible. I had just watched Pooley shoot even or 1-over at Riv and watched several pros hit mediocre to bad shots (and many excellent ones, of course). But in my mind, I could DO that. I didn't hesitate when I answered.
"No question I can do that. Not sure if I'll ever make the PGA Tour, but I can do what they do."
And so began my journey. Only took another one lesson from Cliff because he was up in the high desert, which was a one-hour drive. Became almost exclusively an autodidact after that. :-)
I was scratch in about two years and got as low as +3.6 and played for 10 years between +1.5 and +3. Could easily have "turned pro" and bumped around on the mini tours rarely cashing a small check, but I had a wife and three kids by the time I was 24 and I knew I didn't have what it took. I had it inside 170ish, but I was just never long enough or consistent enough to really make it as a pro, and I had a weak mind when I was young (which contributed to my inconsistency).
So there you have my answer. :-)
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