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Anyone else get way worse after using DECADE?


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I had a two year stint with DECADE Golf while playing in college a few years ago that really damaged my confidence and hurt my game in a plethora of ways. I played a few good rounds here and there but started playing 1000x better as soon as I forgot basically everything about it. I am really interested in reading anything about course management and the mental game as there is always room for improvement in all parts of the game, especially managing the golf course well, but there are just so many things that I look back on wondering what the heck I was thinking to pay money for this. Curious to see if anyone else had a similar experience. 

 

The aspects that I liked:

  • The 9/10 rule from the trees
  • The putting speed drill
  • The Mental Scorecard
  • The "how to practice" section
  • Picking safer targets out of the rough/from outside 200 yards
  • Managing expectations in general

 

Areas where I felt like it was not a good fit for me:

  • Way too many equations to determine target on approach shots
  • I wasn't really losing many shots trying to chase pins in the first place
  • Trying to hit the same shot shape 95% of the time destroyed my golf swing (got super in to out w/ my path to make sure I could ALWAYS draw it, made me a much worse player) and stifled creativity/fun
    • The idea that people who work the ball have a ton of shots, but aren't good at any of them is so flawed, especially considering that if your completely one-dimensional swing is faltering, you are totally cooked
  • Hitting too many drivers resulted in more lost balls which resulted in me further destroying my swing and confidence
  • Incongruities that did not make sense, such as, "you will make more birdies aiming away from most pins, but trying to give yourself a certain leave from inside 60 yards will destroy your proximity"
  • "Stop trying to make putts" or "only focus on speed" made me a horrible putter from inside of 10 feet
  • Calculating which areas around the green are a 1 vs a 2 vs a 3 caused me to internalize all of the trouble and forget about where I wanted to hit it in the first place
  • Needlessly overcomplicated many basic aspects of the game, created more indecision, consumed a lot of mental energy to pinpoint a target that I might have settled on anyway
  • It will always be easier to commit to a target you WANT to aim at as opposed to one that you had to calculate in a few seconds that you have wavering confidence in
  • Almost zero chance you can retain all of the info needed about the process under pressure to hit a good shot
  • The idea that because 1/3 of the Tour is supposedly using it, everyone should. To me, it looks like 67% of guys are not using it and get by just fine
  • Scott Fawcett's personality in general

 

Perhaps I was not implementing all the concepts properly, but I tried really hard to go about it properly, and I just could not make it work. Perhaps more math-oriented people have a better chance of improving through the system, but I really hit a low point while using it. I know everyone usually thinks that the system is great and I don't mean to "yuck anyone's yum" since I know lots of guys who have been very successful in using it, but I have always wondered if I'm the only guy that tried this system and got worse.

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11 minutes ago, kiawah said:

Hitting too many drivers resulted in more lost balls which resulted in me further destroying my swing and confidence

I don't subscribe to it so I know only what gets shared here but a lot of what I've seen , the decade system seems to put a lot of emphasis on dispersion.  Dispersion is a fine discussion when we're talking about shooting a gun. I much prefer probability.

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4 minutes ago, SNIPERBBB said:

I don't subscribe to it so I know only what gets shared here but a lot of what I've seen , the decade system seems to put a lot of emphasis on dispersion.  Dispersion is a fine discussion when we're talking about shooting a gun. I much prefer probability.

I totally agree. I'm not going to sit around and account for the worst possible outcome on every shot. Sometimes it will happen, and I will accept it and move on from there. But the system seems to encourage defensive/avoidance golf at times, which is just such a difficult mindset to shake. There is so much discussion of "dispersion" and "shot patterns" that force you to think about the worst possible outcome, which, to me, is a recipe for disaster. I don't disagree with the formulas themselves per se, but microanalyzing every detail of the golf course is distracting and takes your focus away from the end goal of hitting your target. Now, if you have no clue how to pick a target and you're hunting down every flagstick, this could be very helpful for you. However, I am much better off just giving all my energy to what I am trying to do with the shot I have selected. 

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Have you emailed Scott and shared with him what you have shared with us?

 

Might prove an interesting discussion.

 

Everyone is different and not everyone will benefit from DECADE.  If you're not playing tournament golf where you see new courses you haven't played constantly, then I can certainly see how the value of DECADE might not to justify the cost.

 

It's just one of many strategies to play your best golf.  Use the one that helps you shoot the lowest score most often.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, otto6457 said:

Have you emailed Scott and shared with him what you have shared with us?

 

Might prove an interesting discussion.

 

Everyone is different and not everyone will benefit from DECADE.  If you're not playing tournament golf where you see new courses you haven't played constantly, then I can certainly see how the value of DECADE might not to justify the cost.

 

It's just one of many strategies to play your best golf.  Use the one that helps you shoot the lowest score most often.

 

 

It's a bit of the danger of systems. No such thing as a perfect system but most have some principles behind them that is what make them work. If some of those principles don't work for you  change them and keep the ones that do. 

 

This quote popped in my head as I was typing...

Egg Shen : Of course the Chinese mix everything up. Look at what they have to work with. There's Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoist alchemy and sorcery. We take what we want and leave the rest. Just like your salad bar

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56 minutes ago, RichieHunt said:

 

I can't speak for Scott, but with hitting one type of shot it's more about your 'stock swing' rather than the curvature itself.  For example, my 'stock swing' is a draw.  But it doesn't mean that it will always draw.  Sometimes it fades, sometimes it goes straight.  However, it's the swing that I generally execute the best and the majority of the time it will draw.  I'm not trying to force a draw either.  When golfers, even PGA Tour pros, start to try to make swings that aren't their stock swings the results generally suffer.  I will say that it's fine to 'work the ball' if the wind is blowing that direction to help aid in that.  So if your stock swing usually results in a draw, but you want to hit a fade and the wind is blowing in that direction for a fade...knock yourself out.  

With iron shots in the wind, I'm okay with knocking them down a bit so the wind doesn't gobble up the ball so much.  But in general a golfer should want to make as many stock swings as they feasibly can.  Sometimes you just can't make them, but you're going to be better when you can make them more often.

As far as hitting too many drivers and that being a problem, you might either not be using the system correctly and actually be hitting too many drivers according to the system OR you're just poorly executing with the driver.  If your driver is missing a 60 yard wide cone, that's just poor execution and no matter what the strategy is you're just not going to play good golf.  DECADE nor any statistically based golf management system guarantees you're going to shoot lower scores.  But the objective of these statistically based golf management systems is to play towards the odds of what is going to happen.  You just still have to execute.  

And there are some people that do hit their 3-wood better than their driver.  It's pretty rare these days, but it does happen.  I mean, I couldn't tell Henrik Stenson or Jim Herman to hit more drivers because while they 'laid up' a ton, they were incredible off the tee using their 3-wood as much as they do.  But a lot of Tour pros and particularly low handicap amateurs lay-up way too much and it hurts their driver because not only are they missing out on valuable distance, but they'll hit a lot of bad shots with the 3-wood (particularly the toe-hook).

As far as putting goes, show me a golfer...regardless of handicap...that rarely misses low on downhill and sidehill putts and doesn't miss many putts by hitting them too firm...and you've probably got a pretty decent putter.  Uphill putts are more 'okay' to miss on the low side.  But downhill and sidehill putts, missing low is a pretty bad execution (unless the greens are really slow).  

When you putt toward the low side on downhill and sidehill putts, even if you could theoretically make the putt on that line by hitting it very firm, your odds of actually making that putt are much lower than if you have a line that is a bit on the high side (but still makeable with a softer touch).  And the low miss increases your chances of 3-putting almost exponentially over the high miss (again, this is for downhill and sidehill putts on greens with a 9.5 stimp or more).

Putting is much like billiards in the sense that amateurs and occasional players tend to strike putts too firm and play putts too low and the real world class putters then to hit putts softer and by proxy play more break.
 

 

 

 

 

RH

I've always been a terrible putter - far below my ballstriking ability - and I've never thought about line in the way that you describe. If I ever get back on the course again I'll be putting that information into effect. Thank you. 

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16 hours ago, kiawah said:

 

  • Trying to hit the same shot shape 95% of the time destroyed my golf swing (got super in to out w/ my path to make sure I could ALWAYS draw it, made me a much worse player) and stifled creativity/fun
    • The idea that people who work the ball have a ton of shots, but aren't good at any of them is so flawed, especially considering that if your completely one-dimensional swing is faltering, you are totally cooked

 

Scott isn't advocating that you reinforce your draw to make it a bigger draw.  He is saying that if your stock shot is a draw, you will have better outcomes if you stick with the stock shot instead of trying to hit a fade.  

 

16 hours ago, kiawah said:

 

  • Hitting too many drivers resulted in more lost balls which resulted in me further destroying my swing and confidence

 

If you are losing balls off of the tee, then you are not aiming far enough away from trouble on your drives.  Maybe your dispersion is too wide to hit driver, or maybe you weren't accounting for 65 yards of width between penalty areas (OB and water) and fairways at least 40 yards wide where your driver typically lands?

16 hours ago, kiawah said:

 

  • Incongruities that did not make sense, such as, "you will make more birdies aiming away from most pins, but trying to give yourself a certain leave from inside 60 yards will destroy your proximity"

 

This logic is not an incongruity.  He doesn't completely advocate for aiming away from every pin.  He talks about firing to conservative targets on greens that dont leave you short sided, and sometimes the pin is one of the conservative targets.  He says you would make more birdies because of dispersion.  For example, if you have a tucked right pin with a bunker to the right, you would aim left of the pin a certain amount (based on the math).  A shot left is then still on the green, a straight shot is on the green, and a shot hit to the right is near the pin.  However if you fire at the pin, you still end up with 2 on the green but the shot hit right is now in the bunker.

 

It's also because of dispersion that you dont want to try to leave yourself a certain leave, like 60 yards.  You might love 60 yard wedge shots, but trying to leave yourself 60 yards is too difficult.  Sometimes you'll end up 50 out, sometimes 70.  Stats show that that closer to the hole always yields lower scores (barring penalty areas or certain trouble), so trying to leave yourself 60 yards when you could try to put the ball up near the green is silly.

16 hours ago, kiawah said:

 

  • "Stop trying to make putts" or "only focus on speed" made me a horrible putter from inside of 10 feet

 

From 10 feet away, a 3 putt is low risk and you should be trying to make that putt.  Scott doesn't advocate lag putts from 10 feet away.  Now I dont think he wants you to power it by 5 feet either, but thats also because a ball hit that hard is at risk of lip out and a complete miss leaves you a 5 foot comeback putt.

16 hours ago, kiawah said:

 

  • Almost zero chance you can retain all of the info needed about the process under pressure to hit a good shot

 

thats why he offers the yardage books.  you can do as much prepwork before the round so you dont need to remember everything.  once you have your conservative target identified, you can make an aggressive swing toward that conservative target.

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4 minutes ago, kiawah said:

Didn't email him, but brought up my concerns on Twitter. Not in any sort of malicious way, just saying that I didn't get along great with his system. He immediately blocked me. He seems like a well-intentioned guy, but his whole "Will Zalatoris and other guys I work with would be nothing without me" spiel rubbed me the wrong way, as does his inability to have any sort of discourse with people who disagree with/question him. He kind of talks down to everyone he doesn't see eye-to-eye with imo. Not a terrific quality. That being said, if I shot lower scores using his system, I wouldn't care.

 

he blocked you after some tweets?  thats not cool.  

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2 hours ago, RichieHunt said:

 

I can't speak for Scott, but with hitting one type of shot it's more about your 'stock swing' rather than the curvature itself.  For example, my 'stock swing' is a draw.  But it doesn't mean that it will always draw.  Sometimes it fades, sometimes it goes straight.  However, it's the swing that I generally execute the best and the majority of the time it will draw.  I'm not trying to force a draw either.  When golfers, even PGA Tour pros, start to try to make swings that aren't their stock swings the results generally suffer.  I will say that it's fine to 'work the ball' if the wind is blowing that direction to help aid in that.  So if your stock swing usually results in a draw, but you want to hit a fade and the wind is blowing in that direction for a fade...knock yourself out.  

With iron shots in the wind, I'm okay with knocking them down a bit so the wind doesn't gobble up the ball so much.  But in general a golfer should want to make as many stock swings as they feasibly can.  Sometimes you just can't make them, but you're going to be better when you can make them more often.

As far as hitting too many drivers and that being a problem, you might either not be using the system correctly and actually be hitting too many drivers according to the system OR you're just poorly executing with the driver.  If your driver is missing a 60 yard wide cone, that's just poor execution and no matter what the strategy is you're just not going to play good golf.  DECADE nor any statistically based golf management system guarantees you're going to shoot lower scores.  But the objective of these statistically based golf management systems is to play towards the odds of what is going to happen.  You just still have to execute.  

And there are some people that do hit their 3-wood better than their driver.  It's pretty rare these days, but it does happen.  I mean, I couldn't tell Henrik Stenson or Jim Herman to hit more drivers because while they 'laid up' a ton, they were incredible off the tee using their 3-wood as much as they do.  But a lot of Tour pros and particularly low handicap amateurs lay-up way too much and it hurts their driver because not only are they missing out on valuable distance, but they'll hit a lot of bad shots with the 3-wood (particularly the toe-hook).

As far as putting goes, show me a golfer...regardless of handicap...that rarely misses low on downhill and sidehill putts and doesn't miss many putts by hitting them too firm...and you've probably got a pretty decent putter.  Uphill putts are more 'okay' to miss on the low side.  But downhill and sidehill putts, missing low is a pretty bad execution (unless the greens are really slow).  

When you putt toward the low side on downhill and sidehill putts, even if you could theoretically make the putt on that line by hitting it very firm, your odds of actually making that putt are much lower than if you have a line that is a bit on the high side (but still makeable with a softer touch).  And the low miss increases your chances of 3-putting almost exponentially over the high miss (again, this is for downhill and sidehill putts on greens with a 9.5 stimp or more).

Putting is much like billiards in the sense that amateurs and occasional players tend to strike putts too firm and play putts too low and the real world class putters then to hit putts softer and by proxy play more break.
 

 

 

 

 

RH

I'll try to address your points sequentially.

 

I understand your idea about the stock swing now, but the way Scott phrases it in his Foundations video makes it seem like you have to have the most one dimensional swing and ball flight ever to benefit from his system. I went from being somewhere between 1.5 and -1.5 with my swing path to around 3-6 in to out to try and achieve this. Maybe I misinterpreted the concept, but he basically says that the best players almost never deviate from their stock shot unless they are behind a tree or forced to play around some sort of obstacle. Regardless, my mentality is I am going to hit the most simple shot to the target that is likely to warrant the best results on the majority of my swings, regardless of what that shot calls for. Agreed that you want to make the most stock swings you can, but that also really hurt my wedge play. I am not the kind of guy who is going to put a full swing on a wedge, period. Trying to just play all my wedges close to their "stock" yardage introduced a lot of issues for me personally. I'm sure there are many people who are trying to do too much on these shots who would benefit from this, but I was already a collegiate player when I started using DECADE. I was already doing my own version of this with success.

 

I literally kept a copy of the driver decision tree in my yardage book and printed many DECADE yardage books for various courses, so I don't think I was misunderstanding the system. I didn't and don't drive the ball too far (around 265 carry) so driver was the logical club per his system on many holes. I just don't get on with the idea that I need to be as close to the hole as possible all the time to be able to score. I am the kind of guy who really plays great from certain distances that I see a lot and I am better off from distances I am comfortable with and committed to than just bashing the ball as far as I can 14 times a round. I have the strokes gained data to prove it. 

 

I don't hit my 3-wood better than my driver, per se, but on holes where I WANT to hit it, I am almost always going to be better off choosing to hit the shot I want to hit and committing to it rather than trying to force a square peg into a round hole with driver. Since I quit using DECADE, I have driven the ball much better. I put up plus handicap driving numbers almost every round per Golfmetrics. 

 

As for putting, I actually fit the description you provided pretty well. I play most putts with die speed or center of the cup pace and my usual miss is an overread. DECADE was a recipe for disaster with my putting because I am already so speed oriented that I completely neglected line and stopped using the line on my ball. I would take so many short putts off the cup and miss them high side the exact distance of the cup. Again, I could have just misunderstood the system, but my putting also has gotten much better since I stopped DECADEing. I still rarely ever hit a putt too firm. I don't think I've hit the back of the cup on purpose from outside of 2 feet more than 5% of the time at any point. 

 

Ultimately, the biggest problem for me with the system is that I think I already knew what I was doing (and it wasn't THAT dissimilar from DECADE) but being constantly aware of it wore me out and introduced a lot of distrust in my own game. It is just far less fun to constantly have a system make decisions for you instead of going with your gut. And harder to commit to those shots, too. I'm not saying the system doesn't have merit, it really seems to make mathematical sense when Scott explains it, but I already avoided aiming for the vast majority of flagsticks and it just seemed to make me play scared.

 

 

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14 hours ago, iacas said:

 

I disagree that it's about the "worst possible outcome."

 

It's what I have been teaching for over ten years, and it's mathematically sound: you aim for your dispersion, not ALL shots you could possibly hit. You're still gonna hit a few in the water. You're still gonna hit some OB or in the thick rough. Etc.

 

It's pretty aggressive off the tee, and conservative into the greens… but it (and my stuff) still has you hitting greens.

 

I've never cared for the numbers; we've always taught it as "shades of grey" and just having what we call a "Decision Map" of the areas where it's smart to aim.

 

You can be "aggressive" to that somewhat conservative target, then.

Maybe it isn't about the "worst possible outcome." But I do think it was just an overwhelming amount of information for me. I process things really quickly in most cases but it just filled my head with so much stuff that it was a case of paralysis by analysis. I have since learned that I am best off just visualizing the shot I WANT to hit with all of my senses and then trying to recreate that when I hit the ball. I just think DECADE makes things out to be too black-and-white with the stats. I think golf is far more situational than Scott lets on.  

 

It did make me a bit blindly aggressive off the tee. The decision tree had me hitting driver on 90% of par 4s and par 5s. I simply don't need to optimize every single shot from a strokes gained standpoint to play well. I can hit a 100 yard or 130 yard wedge from the fairway pretty good and can get down in 3 shots or fewer probably 8 or 9 out of 10 times. Is that rate better from 60 yards? Yes. But how many times am I going to draw a bad lie in the rough or get out of position trying to get my ball up that far? I don't really care to find out. 

 

I am breaking par around once every 5 or 6 18 hole rounds and even more frequently in my 9 hole rounds this year. I'm not following his system at all. All I am trying to do is hit the max number of fairways and greens and go after the pins it won't hurt me to attack. That's it and that's all. When I'm out of position, I take my medicine and go try to grind out a par and take a bogey if it doesn't work out, knowing that I will likely get one back if I keep playing one shot at a time and string one or two good ones together. There were also other factors involved with me playing poorly while I was doing DECADE (suboptimal mental state, team politics on my college golf team, and a poorly-fitted set of irons to name a few), but it is so night and day to me now that I no longer do it. My game is so so so so much better now than it ever was during DECADE. 

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17 hours ago, kiawah said:

I had a two year stint with DECADE Golf while playing in college a few years ago that really damaged my confidence and hurt my game in a plethora of ways. I played a few good rounds here and there but started playing 1000x better as soon as I forgot basically everything about it. I am really interested in reading anything about course management and the mental game as there is always room for improvement in all parts of the game, especially managing the golf course well, but there are just so many things that I look back on wondering what the heck I was thinking to pay money for this. Curious to see if anyone else had a similar experience. 

 

The aspects that I liked:

  • The 9/10 rule from the trees
  • The putting speed drill
  • The Mental Scorecard
  • The "how to practice" section
  • Picking safer targets out of the rough/from outside 200 yards
  • Managing expectations in general

 

Areas where I felt like it was not a good fit for me:

  • Way too many equations to determine target on approach shots
  • I wasn't really losing many shots trying to chase pins in the first place
  • Trying to hit the same shot shape 95% of the time destroyed my golf swing (got super in to out w/ my path to make sure I could ALWAYS draw it, made me a much worse player) and stifled creativity/fun
    • The idea that people who work the ball have a ton of shots, but aren't good at any of them is so flawed, especially considering that if your completely one-dimensional swing is faltering, you are totally cooked
  • Hitting too many drivers resulted in more lost balls which resulted in me further destroying my swing and confidence
  • Incongruities that did not make sense, such as, "you will make more birdies aiming away from most pins, but trying to give yourself a certain leave from inside 60 yards will destroy your proximity"
  • "Stop trying to make putts" or "only focus on speed" made me a horrible putter from inside of 10 feet
  • Calculating which areas around the green are a 1 vs a 2 vs a 3 caused me to internalize all of the trouble and forget about where I wanted to hit it in the first place
  • Needlessly overcomplicated many basic aspects of the game, created more indecision, consumed a lot of mental energy to pinpoint a target that I might have settled on anyway
  • It will always be easier to commit to a target you WANT to aim at as opposed to one that you had to calculate in a few seconds that you have wavering confidence in
  • Almost zero chance you can retain all of the info needed about the process under pressure to hit a good shot
  • The idea that because 1/3 of the Tour is supposedly using it, everyone should. To me, it looks like 67% of guys are not using it and get by just fine
  • Scott Fawcett's personality in general

 

Perhaps I was not implementing all the concepts properly, but I tried really hard to go about it properly, and I just could not make it work. Perhaps more math-oriented people have a better chance of improving through the system, but I really hit a low point while using it. I know everyone usually thinks that the system is great and I don't mean to "yuck anyone's yum" since I know lots of guys who have been very successful in using it, but I have always wondered if I'm the only guy that tried this system and got worse.

 

Let me preface this by saying I have zero business giving anyone golf advice but after reading your post I sort of feel your plight.

 

I looked at DECADE as best as I could without subscribing.  It seemed a little "too mathy" for my tastes.  Like you, I think there are valuable components or premises within it that can be used.

 

One of the best approaches I have found is that of @iacas has in https://lowestscorewins.com/ book.  It takes the SG stuff from Broadie and creates a practical application for golfers, both from a long term improvement and short term strategy standpoint to help you shoot lower scores and play better golf.

 

The shading is helpful but I am not a strict practitioner of it.  But even if I were I wouldn't think it would rise to the level of clouding my mind with equations.  I rather think it a guiding principle that is just almost unconsciously guiding my decision making.

 

I do sort of agree with the concept of having a go-to shape that is well behaved.  But I also see the need to move the ball both ways (see my thread on needing help playing a specific hole at my club).  I also tend to think that I play who has the ability to move the ball both ways, at will, has a really good understanding of what is happening to do that, and can self-diagnose face-to-path issues based upon ball flight, when things don't come off the way they want them to.  Plus moving the ball both ways is fun golf for me.

 

As far as putting goes, I don't even sweat that stuff.  If it is outside of ten feet I may not even really read it as I am just trying to get it near the hole.  I am not going to waste mental energy on a shot that has not much chance of going in, and even if I did vex over it, the chances of it going in are not materially better than if I had not.  I just try to get it on the right side and with the correct speed.  I only really worry about a true line or picking a spot to putt to for putts less than ten feet.

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29 minutes ago, mstuewe said:

 

Scott isn't advocating that you reinforce your draw to make it a bigger draw.  He is saying that if your stock shot is a draw, you will have better outcomes if you stick with the stock shot instead of trying to hit a fade.  

 

 

If you are losing balls off of the tee, then you are not aiming far enough away from trouble on your drives.  Maybe your dispersion is too wide to hit driver, or maybe you weren't accounting for 65 yards of width between penalty areas (OB and water) and fairways at least 40 yards wide where your driver typically lands?

 

This logic is not an incongruity.  He doesn't completely advocate for aiming away from every pin.  He talks about firing to conservative targets on greens that dont leave you short sided, and sometimes the pin is one of the conservative targets.  He says you would make more birdies because of dispersion.  For example, if you have a tucked right pin with a bunker to the right, you would aim left of the pin a certain amount (based on the math).  A shot left is then still on the green, a straight shot is on the green, and a shot hit to the right is near the pin.  However if you fire at the pin, you still end up with 2 on the green but the shot hit right is now in the bunker.

 

It's also because of dispersion that you dont want to try to leave yourself a certain leave, like 60 yards.  You might love 60 yard wedge shots, but trying to leave yourself 60 yards is too difficult.  Sometimes you'll end up 50 out, sometimes 70.  Stats show that that closer to the hole always yields lower scores (barring penalty areas or certain trouble), so trying to leave yourself 60 yards when you could try to put the ball up near the green is silly.

 

From 10 feet away, a 3 putt is low risk and you should be trying to make that putt.  Scott doesn't advocate lag putts from 10 feet away.  Now I dont think he wants you to power it by 5 feet either, but thats also because a ball hit that hard is at risk of lip out and a complete miss leaves you a 5 foot comeback putt.

 

thats why he offers the yardage books.  you can do as much prepwork before the round so you dont need to remember everything.  once you have your conservative target identified, you can make an aggressive swing toward that conservative target.

That first point makes sense to me, but that isn't how I or the other guys I played with who used the system took it to mean. They were so concerned with eliminating the double cross and achieved that by making their swing "un-double-crossable," so that is what I did. It did not actually work. Sometimes you are going to double cross it. Not much you can do other than commit to the next one and try again. 

 

I understand that the pin is occasionally the target, but even when I played aggressively to my spot, it just didn't yield any birdies for me. It was just too much mental gymnastics in trying to pick a target. I also think that the short-sided point is overblown. Obviously I am not aiming at a sucker pin. But there are lots of pins that DECADE would have me steer clear of that would have left me a basic short chip or pitch if I missed since my distance control is quite strong. I have a really solid short game. I just don't need to worry so much about leaving myself a long flat chip shot or avoiding a miss by so much that two-putting is now difficult. Again, maybe I was implementing the system wrong in certain areas, but I really think I had it right a lot of the time and was picking the right spots and just not able to execute anything well to a spot that I had no confidence would do me any good.

 

I am usually against trying to give myself an exact leave, but I am totally fine playing from shorter than a drive would leave me. I would often hit driver on short par 4s and leave myself a 30 yard pitch over a bunker to a front pin on a downslope. I would almost always think to myself "there is no chance this is any easier than a stock sand wedge from 80 yards that I can land somewhere pin high and spin back." That's just one example, but the concept rings true. I am just better at executing the shot I want at times instead of the one that might "statistically" warrant the best results. I'm not gonna sit here and contest the stats, because they probably contradict my outlook, and I won't deny that. All I know is that my scores have plummeted since I have just started using MY judgment and playing MY game. 

 

I also did use a ton of the yardage books. It still just made me overthink stuff that I already knew how to do. That was essentially my main problem. As I have said, this system might be great for someone who has zero course management skills, but it just weakened my strong suits and did not do much to strengthen any of my weak points. 

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11 minutes ago, smashdn said:

 

Let me preface this by saying I have zero business giving anyone golf advice but after reading your post I sort of feel your plight.

 

I looked at DECADE as best as I could without subscribing.  It seemed a little "too mathy" for my tastes.  Like you, I think there are valuable components or premises within it that can be used.

 

One of the best approaches I have found is that of @iacas has in https://lowestscorewins.com/ book.  It takes the SG stuff from Broadie and creates a practical application for golfers, both from a long term improvement and short term strategy standpoint to help you shoot lower scores and play better golf.

 

The shading is helpful but I am not a strict practitioner of it.  But even if I were I wouldn't think it would rise to the level of clouding my mind with equations.  I rather think it a guiding principle that is just almost unconsciously guiding my decision making.

 

I do sort of agree with the concept of having a go-to shape that is well behaved.  But I also see the need to move the ball both ways (see my thread on needing help playing a specific hole at my club).  I also tend to think that I play who has the ability to move the ball both ways, at will, has a really good understanding of what is happening to do that, and can self-diagnose face-to-path issues based upon ball flight, when things don't come off the way they want them to.  Plus moving the ball both ways is fun golf for me.

 

As far as putting goes, I don't even sweat that stuff.  If it is outside of ten feet I may not even really read it as I am just trying to get it near the hole.  I am not going to waste mental energy on a shot that has not much chance of going in, and even if I did vex over it, the chances of it going in are not materially better than if I had not.  I just try to get it on the right side and with the correct speed.  I only really worry about a true line or picking a spot to putt to for putts less than ten feet.

Yep, my outlook is very similar. I think I do have my own system but it doesn't require any kind of extra work to figure out the best path forward. Having a go-to shape is certainly ideal, and I know exactly how I would play all of my shots from a driving range lie in the fairway, but trying to make yourself do the same thing over and over again just for the sake of consistency did not help. Now I just try to play the shot that is demanded of me on each swing that will warrant the best results. My path is very neutral usually around 0 but can get to -1.5 or around positive 2 on some days so it is not hard for me to move it one way or the other with a couple basic setup changes. 

 

My putting has gotten much better since I stopped thinking about anything other than lining my ball up and just rolling it. I don't care if I make it or miss it as long as I just rolled the ball on the line I wanted to. I also don't even think about speed. I am so much better just judging it with my eyes and making the most natural stroke. DECADE really made it so hard to trust myself and do things subconsciously. It felt like everything became so manual and that I was thinking my way through every part of the game instead of just reacting. I already think plenty without the system. The last thing I need is to let myself get bogged down by even more crap. 

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The short-sided boogieman is definitely overblown.  Short-sided with the green sloping away from you or into a deep bunker is obviously bad. Short sided to a flat or up-slope green is very easy and makeable chips.

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37 minutes ago, kiawah said:

I literally kept a copy of the driver decision tree in my yardage book and printed many DECADE yardage books for various courses, so I don't think I was misunderstanding the system. I didn't and don't drive the ball too far (around 265 carry) so driver was the logical club per his system on many holes. I just don't get on with the idea that I need to be as close to the hole as possible all the time to be able to score. I am the kind of guy who really plays great from certain distances that I see a lot and I am better off from distances I am comfortable with and committed to than just bashing the ball as far as I can 14 times a round. I have the strokes gained data to prove it. 

 

 

If you really have the strokes gained data to show that you are better from say 180 in the fairway vs 140 in the rough AND that you hit the fairway significantly more with your 3 wood than your driver, then by all means you should stick with that.  Scott's philosophy is using strokes gained data to come up with the optimal approach to each hole, and thats exactly what you'd be doing here.  With that said, maybe you need a better driver if your 3 wood is THAT much better.  

 

12 minutes ago, kiawah said:

I understand that the pin is occasionally the target, but even when I played aggressively to my spot, it just didn't yield any birdies for me. It was just too much mental gymnastics in trying to pick a target. I also think that the short-sided point is overblown. Obviously I am not aiming at a sucker pin. But there are lots of pins that DECADE would have me steer clear of that would have left me a basic short chip or pitch if I missed since my distance control is quite strong. I have a really solid short game. I just don't need to worry so much about leaving myself a long flat chip shot or avoiding a miss by so much that two-putting is now difficult. Again, maybe I was implementing the system wrong in certain areas, but I really think I had it right a lot of the time and was picking the right spots and just not able to execute anything well to a spot that I had no confidence would do me any good.

 

This is where the +/- 1 point when selecting your target comes into play.  if you have a pin tucked right, and you are confident you can get up and down from the right side, then thats a -1 on the right side of the green.  Effectively that means your target is 2 yards further right than if it was a difficult up and down from the right side, likely meaning you can fire at the pin.

 

 

45 minutes ago, kiawah said:

As for putting, I actually fit the description you provided pretty well. I play most putts with die speed or center of the cup pace and my usual miss is an overread. DECADE was a recipe for disaster with my putting because I am already so speed oriented that I completely neglected line and stopped using the line on my ball. I would take so many short putts off the cup and miss them high side the exact distance of the cup. Again, I could have just misunderstood the system, but my putting also has gotten much better since I stopped DECADEing. I still rarely ever hit a putt too firm. I don't think I've hit the back of the cup on purpose from outside of 2 feet more than 5% of the time at any point. 

 

Sounds like you over-decaded and you were following the principles that speed is king before you learned of the decade system.  Pick a line, start the ball on that line, and focus entirely on speed so you aren't leaving yourself a 3+ foot comeback putt, theres not much more to it.

 

Your other points are well covered.  Kiawah, this is a nice back and forth conversation.  Rare on the Internet.

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14 minutes ago, kiawah said:

I am usually against trying to give myself an exact leave, but I am totally fine playing from shorter than a drive would leave me. I would often hit driver on short par 4s and leave myself a 30 yard pitch over a bunker to a front pin on a downslope. I would almost always think to myself "there is no chance this is any easier than a stock sand wedge from 80 yards that I can land somewhere pin high and spin back." That's just one example, but the concept rings true. I am just better at executing the shot I want at times instead of the one that might "statistically" warrant the best results. I'm not gonna sit here and contest the stats, because they probably contradict my outlook, and I won't deny that. All I know is that my scores have plummeted since I have just started using MY judgment and playing MY game. 

 

I feel you on that.  That is a tough one for me too.  Distance is not a problem for me off the tee, but direction is.  My irons are surprisingly good for someone who is as wild as I am off the tee.

 

So, I always felt I scored better by staying in the fairway at the cost of a longer approach, especially when "longer" was maybe the difference between 50 yards and 115 yards.  But the data does say that all skill levels of golfers hit the ball closer to the target when they are closer (at the ranges mentioned).

 

I think there are always specific circumstances that "the rules" may not apply to.  And I do think you have a point about being confident in your decision as that impacts how the shot comes off.

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9 minutes ago, SNIPERBBB said:

The short-sided boogieman is definitely overblown.  Short-sided with the green sloping away from you or into a deep bunker is obviously bad. Short sided to a flat or up-slope green is very easy and makeable chips.

That's very true. I do not care about what the numbers say, I will take the shorter chip from the rough over the much longer one from the fairway all day. I'm not playing on PGA tour green complexes all that often, which I believe is where Scott's data came from in the first place. Obviously if the putting surface is raised/elevated it's a bit of a different story, but I would say that I play pretty fearlessly to any pin that would play flat or slightly sloped from the rough if I were to miss on that side. I will take the chance to hit one close if the chip I'm left with is straightforward. I just think the way the system has people aiming leads to lots of great misses but very few good shots. Had one tournament on very firm greens and just ended up in the fairway short of the very hard and slopey green complexes with a tricky long pitch or chip every time. Was that the optimal miss? Probably. Did I ever have a great chance to make birdies? Rarely. 

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So as an okish golfer (HC 15) I've read most of decade and I think a lot of it comes down to how the player interprets it to their game.  

 

The tee game stuff has improved my game a lot. I was always trying to be in the FW leaving longer approached. I've learned that 160 from the rough is way better than 190 in the fairway at the courses I frequent.  I use the grint and I now say FIR if I'm in play not in a hazard and have an unobstructed 2nd shot. This got me out of thinking about that number so much. 

 

As for the approach game I took two takeaways. One play for your normal shot. Do I know how to draw and fade a ball yes, but that takes a lot of swing thought. Playing for my normal stock shot has kept myself from short siding myself (anecdotal from my memory). Also when an approach is in your stock shot then you can set yourself up better. I.E. I good iron for me will start about 5 yds left and fade to 5 yards right. On a right sided pin I'm aiming middle green hoping to bring it in. Pin to the left probably aiming at or just right of the pin if it goes straight I'm ok fade I'm putting. It's just playing the percentage of what my swing outcome is a majority of the time. 

 

Personally, putting I don't follow per se. I think it's the most mental and personal thing in golf. I do believe that without proper speed you're screwed, but how does one get there judgement wise I think there's many good ways.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, mstuewe said:

 

If you really have the strokes gained data to show that you are better from say 180 in the fairway vs 140 in the rough AND that you hit the fairway significantly more with your 3 wood than your driver, then by all means you should stick with that.  Scott's philosophy is using strokes gained data to come up with the optimal approach to each hole, and thats exactly what you'd be doing here.  With that said, maybe you need a better driver if your 3 wood is THAT much better.  

 

 

This is where the +/- 1 point when selecting your target comes into play.  if you have a pin tucked right, and you are confident you can get up and down from the right side, then thats a -1 on the right side of the green.  Effectively that means your target is 2 yards further right than if it was a difficult up and down from the right side, likely meaning you can fire at the pin.

 

 

 

Sounds like you over-decaded and you were following the principles that speed is king before you learned of the decade system.  Pick a line, start the ball on that line, and focus entirely on speed so you aren't leaving yourself a 3+ foot comeback putt, theres not much more to it.

 

Your other points are well covered.  Kiawah, this is a nice back and forth conversation.  Rare on the Internet.

I wouldn't argue that I'm better from 180 than 140, and I think I am usually about as good with my 3 wood and my driver, but I can definitely count on my 3 wood to turn over when I want it to more so than the driver. My philosophy is a bit different. In short, I am just trying to get myself a wedge, and I will just hit the safest club that still guarantees (or close to guarantees) me a wedge shot from a good position. 

 

My line of thinking is that I am going to make sure to give myself a wedge or short iron from the fairway as often as I can. Once I have a wedge in hand, I no longer care about getting any more aggressive. This strategy comes into play predominantly on holes shorter than 420 yards, and on holes longer than that I am by and large always hitting driver. But I find that once I have that wedge, it's no longer worth it for me to bite off more of the hole. If I can't regularly hit the green from 130, then I have a lot of work to do regardless. I could really get into the weeds about this, but I don't think it's all that necessary. I just think that there is a subjective difficulty to certain shots and everyone is different. I can hit fairways all day with my 3 and 7 wood, so I don't see much reason to hit a driver that puts the ball in jeopardy a bit more when I can regularly get myself a good scoring opportunity. Could I be gaining some fraction of a shot if I belt a driver down the middle? Yes. Knowing what I know about myself and my game (a decent bit), is it worth it for ME to go chase down that fraction of a shot when I don't feel that I have to? Not in my experience.

 

Over-DECADEd is probably the best way to describe it. I will also say that trying to learn the system while playing under a lot of stress and pressure in college might not have made for the best scenario in which to learn and implement it. I agree about the -1/+1 system around the greens, but it's hard to do that kind of prep thoughtfully/in earnest for EVERY single round you play. I have a very steadfast commitment to putting in the work and practicing/taking care of the details, but a system that requires that level of thoroughness just required a lot of thinking and it felt like I was at a major disadvantage if I simply didn't have time to go through and prep for all of that stuff before every given round. At the end of the day, I think one thing that rings true for most about this funny game is that if you think that something will help you, it probably will. I think that the reverse is likely true, too. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to participate in this little discussion. I always really enjoy talking about course management and mental game stuff, I think it is often overlooked by much of the "Help me turn my 13 degrees out to in move into a shallow george gankas pivot" thread crowd. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, kiawah said:

Didn't email him, but brought up my concerns on Twitter. Not in any sort of malicious way, just saying that I didn't get along great with his system. He immediately blocked me. He seems like a well-intentioned guy, but his whole "Will Zalatoris and other guys I work with would be nothing without me" spiel rubbed me the wrong way, as does his inability to have any sort of discourse with people who disagree with/question him. He kind of talks down to everyone he doesn't see eye-to-eye with imo. Not a terrific quality. That being said, if I shot lower scores using his system, I wouldn't care.

I see the merits of his system and have found it helpful, but his narcissistic tendencies do him zero good. He does have the data and evidence on his side, particularly in his disagreements with the boujee faux architecture snob/Tron Carter (iT's AlL aBoUt pLaYiNg AnGlEs) types, but he can't be satisfied to just let the data win the debate. You being blocked for having the audacity to express that you weren't helped much is just another brick in the wall.

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I do think there is a ton of good information that Scott provides, and it seems like it’s getting lost in translation for your tournament play.

 

The key tenets I think are really good, which is basically 1) use distance to your advantage as much as possible (especially considering we’re talking about college golf where guys hit it miles) 2) the goal is “boring” pars/avoid doubles and 3) dispersion cone dictates where you aim. You should be driving it as far up as you can where your dispersion still gives you a decent shot at the green. Yes you need to avoid clumps of trees/tall grass/OB/water etc., but most players can hit something to get you far enough up where your dispersion on shorter irons gives you more opportunities to get on the green.  

 

On your 30 yard pitch over a bunker vs. an 80 yard wedge shot example, if the goal is to just get it on the green, mathematically you’ll have an easier time with the shorter shot, assuming there’s not some fundamental mechanical issue with your short game. My wedge has a smaller cone than my 8 iron, my 8 iron has a smaller cone than my 5 iron, so why not give yourself the smallest possibilities of outcomes. 

 

I’m a massive proponent of the 1 shot idea for normal swings. When you start thinking day to day, different conditions, different feels etc., it is extremely hard (especially under pressure) to start trying different shots, and it that case the success rate will absolutely shrink. I’ve given up entirely on working the ball and I’ve dropped into plus handicap range, which is funny because it feels so boring. 

 

The approach really starts to highlight how designers build courses and you start to see patterns on where to go. You need to forget where the pin is and just start using the shotgun/dispersion cone and it becomes apparent the vast majority of courses can be mapped out pretty easily. Some holes or shots for sure just need a good swing, but most places give you tons of room. Then with decent chipping and lag putting, it makes it super easy.

 

Last point, there is some situational nuance which would be on you to determine. If you’re in match play that might change the strategy. If you traveled to an event and it’s Bermuda grass which you haven’t practiced on, it might tweak the strategy for the day. Over the long run though, those principles would get you to the lowest average. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Warrior42111 said:

So as an okish golfer (HC 15) I've read most of decade and I think a lot of it comes down to how the player interprets it to their game.  

 

The tee game stuff has improved my game a lot. I was always trying to be in the FW leaving longer approached. I've learned that 160 from the rough is way better than 190 in the fairway at the courses I frequent.  I use the grint and I now say FIR if I'm in play not in a hazard and have an unobstructed 2nd shot. This got me out of thinking about that number so much. 

 

As for the approach game I took two takeaways. One play for your normal shot. Do I know how to draw and fade a ball yes, but that takes a lot of swing thought. Playing for my normal stock shot has kept myself from short siding myself (anecdotal from my memory). Also when an approach is in your stock shot then you can set yourself up better. I.E. I good iron for me will start about 5 yds left and fade to 5 yards right. On a right sided pin I'm aiming middle green hoping to bring it in. Pin to the left probably aiming at or just right of the pin if it goes straight I'm ok fade I'm putting. It's just playing the percentage of what my swing outcome is a majority of the time. 

 

Personally, putting I don't follow per se. I think it's the most mental and personal thing in golf. I do believe that without proper speed you're screwed, but how does one get there judgement wise I think there's many good ways.

 

 

I think you are dead on in saying it depends on how it is interpreted. To me, what kind of threw me off was when Scott said something like "if you aren't doing all of this on every shot then it will never work because the percentages will always work out over time, etc." So naturally I took all of it as gospel and gave myself no room to make decisions any other way, which may or may not have been flawed, I couldn't really be the one to tell you. 

 

I think you are also dead on in saying that putting is very personal. There are so many different ways to go about it. Now, I am really just focused on getting comfortable and reacting rather than being mechanical or thinking excessively about any aspect of it. 

 

Moving my ball flight around from draw to fade on certain shots comes easier to me than trying to force my "stock" shot on a lot of holes. I don't have to think much about the swing, I just move the ball up in my stance by a ball and closer to me by a ball to cut it and one ball back and further away to draw it. It all comes down to comfort level and I think DECADE just got me so far out of my comfort zone trying to do so many things "optimally" that I lost all of my feel for how to get around the golf course. 

 

I think it's a really well thought out system and it clearly works for lots of people, but it just wasn't making my scores any better and I wasn't enjoying myself all that much on the golf course turning every shot into an equation. I did it for over a year and it never really felt any more intuitive or natural to me. Hence why I started this thread to see if anyone else felt similarly or if I am just an odd duck. 

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I don't know DECADE in depth but I think it's a successful method that per se won't ruin your golf.  And true, you don't need to stick to it 100%, especially at our level.  But much of what I've seen from this guy is to do with conservative golf and avoiding bit time trouble.  I agree it's a way of playing that a few talented explosive players may not adhere to, but in general it works fine for most players.  

 

I know a kid who is into DECADE and we sometimes play together.  He explains some of it to me and the stuff he tells me does make a lot of sense.  It's like Bob Rotella  fully developed into a method to leave no room for hesitation when you're playing.    

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I think a lot of these systems are developed to help high-level professional players. Then they get marketed to everyday players who have little chance of implementing them. The profit potential of selling a lot more subscriptions is too juicy to pass up. 

 

I remember reading the Pelz Short Game Bible years ago. Many of the practice methods he said were essential also proved to be pretty impractical for me as a muni/daily fee golfer. He said to find an area on a range that's perfectly flat and lay out a straight line of towels every ten yards for dialing in your wedge distances. How many people have access to a range where they can regularly do that without getting in anyone else's way? I know I didn't. 

 

 

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      2024 John Deere Classic - Monday #2
      2024 John Deere Classic - Tuesday #1
      2024 John Deere Classic - Tuesday #2
      2024 John Deere Classic - Tuesday #3
      2024 John Deere Classic - Tuesday #4
       
       
       
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Jason Day - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Josh Teater - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Michael Thorbjornsen - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Austin Smotherman - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Joseph Bramlett - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      C.T. Pan - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Anders Albertson - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Seung Yul Noh - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Blake Hathcoat - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Jimmy Stanger - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Cole Sherwood - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Anders Larson - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Bill Haas - WITB - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Tommy "2 Gloves" Gainey WITB – 2024 John Deere Classic
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      Garrick Higgo - 2 Aretera shafts in the bag - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Jhonattan Vegas' custom Cameron putter - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Bud Cauley's custom Cameron putter - 2024 John Deere Classic
      2 new Super Stroke Marvel comics grips - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Swag blade putter - 2024 John Deere Classic
      Swag Golf - Joe Dirt covers - 2024 John Deere Classic
       
       
       
       
       
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      • 3 replies
    • 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic - Discussion and Links to Photos
      Please put and questions or comments here
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic - Monday #1
      2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic - Monday #2
      2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic - Monday #3
       
       
       
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Nate Lashley - WITB - 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic
      Hayden Springer - WITB - 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic
      Jackson Koivun - WITB - 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic
      Callum Tarren - WITB - 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic
      Luke Clanton - WITB - 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic
       
       
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      Jason Dufner's custom 3-D printed Cobra putter - 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic
       
       
       
       
       
       
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