Today's Front Nine in the Beacon News talks about how amateur players often incorrectly look at the total yardage on the scorecard to determine which set of tees to play.
The yardages you should look at are on the par 3's and the par 4's - not the toal yardage. The difficulty of those holes can change drastically for the average player depending on the tee box chosen - and oftentimes player's ego prevents them from choosing the right set of tees to play.
Says Phillips Park and Fox Valley Golf Club head pro Jeff Schmidt: "It comes down to enjoyment of the game when you're out there playing with your buddies and having a good game, I want to play it where I've got a chance to compete with my buddies and not at a point where I'm just going to get killed. I don't want a skin because I got a bogey -- I want to make skins because of birdies."
"What guys don't understand is you can really do a lot with a golf course without having to add yardage. It's not so much growing the grass longer or things like that, but it's where you position the pins or tee placements. All these little factors add up to a few yards here or there to help you dictate your score."
This led into a talk about Driving Distance on the PGA Tour, and how many times amateur players see the big boys cranking the big stick for miles on end and then somehow, begin to overestimate their own prowess with the driver.
Schmidt says that many times players think they're driving the ball 26-270 yards, but when they get fit they're actually only hitting it 220-230.
"A lot of these amateurs do not realize (on the PGA Tour) they dry everything out," Schmidt said. "They make the conditions suitable for the long hitters. They're not all concrete fairways and I'm not doubting the guys and how strong they are, but they're not getting 5, 10 yards roll -- they're getting 15, 20 yards of roll because everything is mowed so tight. Unless it's a wet golf course, when it lands it just takes off and runs."
And, a final note on course yardage by famed architect and Dubsdread renovator Rees Jones: "What we're really doing in adding length is giving the tour officials a better opportunity to be flexible in set up. It used to be they would mark the tees as a 7,000 yard golf course and they would play the same tee every day. Now when the weather changes, they have much more flexibility because we've built them from 7,4(00) to 7,1(00), we can make some holes shorter on certain days, longer on certain days. I think it's a better test for the best golfers in the world. That's why we added length. We don't expect them to play the total yardage."
Read on for Jeff's full tip on breaking chipping down into 1/3-2/3...