Tour Golf v PGA Golf

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Crazyface

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I had a very interesting chat with a young lad in the pro shop where I played on Friday. I got there early and just started up a conversation with the lad holding the fort in the shop. He was a Tour Pro. Whoooo. Well not a full one, but went around Europe trying playing in Open qualifiers to try and get a place in the opens. he was off to France on Saturday to try to get a place in the French Open. 75 vying for 4 slots apparently. Bullet points of the conversation:-

1. The fairways they play on were "like the greens here"
2. They get 35 yards of extra roll out from the fairways.
3. The greens were I was to play were described as "bobbly" and slow. Bobbly they are most certainly NOT. Maybe a little slow though. Although two players I met going round were from my ex club,and they thought the greens there were "fast".
4. He refuses to play in these greens as he cannot play on them, due to these differences.
5. PGA golfers (your shop Pro) cannot play golf. Turn pro at H/C of 4 or 5. Then do exams, pass them but cannot get the required standard golf bit.
6. Just to back this up. They had PGA comp there three weeks ago and some were shooting 14 over par. I woul;d say that at this place a decent golfer should shoot par at least. No problem. Standard scratch is under the par! And I can usually shoot my H/C no problem.
7. Tour Pros, like him, would need to shoot 2 / 3 under this week to qualify. Usually need better. Difference between each Tour Pro is who gets their putts to drop. Simple as that.
8. PGA pros have their little comps where they play for £250 pot and 1 under could win it. a Tour Pro could rock up and shoot 4-5 under and pocket the money no problem at all.
9. The greens they play on are lightening quick. Take aim and just (tiny tap) set the ball rolling.

I also got a putting tip from him to help my putting. It really helped.
Anyway, just reporting what was said. I'm sure, having re read this some will think he's a bit of a xyz, but I can assure you he's a really nice bloke and there wasn't a hit of a malice in his words. They were just his thoughts.
 
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Generally agree with the bit about Club Pros. In the main these are guys who were not quite at the level to make a living professionally, and most will have honed their golfing talents towards teaching / club fitting etc.

Most will have been decent amateurs but after working at a club for a few years, doing lessons, working in a shop, they will clearly not have been practising for the required several hours per day to really improve or even stay at the level.

However I'd be interested to see the real difference between the conditioning and things being quite so quick. Ultimately a members club is aiming at being in play 7 days a week and so they are going to resist taking things too far in terms of the speed - apart from maybe a few one off competitions.

But lets be honest, most of the Euro Pro / Alps Tour / Challenge Tour events are playing at members clubs anyway, who will just move their tees as far back as they can and maybe reduce par from 72 to 70 or 71. They are hardly rocking up at Wentworth and Paris National. So do they really ramp things up for what is a lower level Pro event?
 

MendieGK

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Generally agree with the bit about Club Pros. In the main these are guys who were not quite at the level to make a living professionally, and most will have honed their golfing talents towards teaching / club fitting etc.

Most will have been decent amateurs but after working at a club for a few years, doing lessons, working in a shop, they will clearly not have been practising for the required several hours per day to really improve or even stay at the level.

However I'd be interested to see the real difference between the conditioning and things being quite so quick. Ultimately a members club is aiming at being in play 7 days a week and so they are going to resist taking things too far in terms of the speed - apart from maybe a few one off competitions.

But lets be honest, most of the Euro Pro / Alps Tour / Challenge Tour events are playing at members clubs anyway, who will just move their tees as far back as they can and maybe reduce par from 72 to 70 or 71. They are hardly rocking up at Wentworth and Paris National. So do they really ramp things up for what is a lower level Pro event?
That’s my view. Europro plays some pretty average courses.

The bit about not putting on ‘these’ greens though. That did make me laugh
 

chrisd

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I'd say he is mainly correct we had a lad who qualified for the European Tour via a good season on the Challenge tour. He lasted one season rarely made a cut and is now returning to amateur status. He, though, was miles better than our club pro who would probably have been truly a 3 to 4 handicapper. Andy Sullivan said on a GM video that when he plays at his club they play him off +6
 

Scozzy

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Interesting chat although for me it just confirms that we don't ever really need bifurcation as the big boys,in many ways,are playing a different game already.

If you're a young guy with stars in your eyes off +1, maybe+2 by all means give it a ride but week in week out that's a million miles away from the big time wth big boy set ups and greens worthy of him🤔
 
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That’s my view. Europro plays some pretty average courses.

The bit about not putting on ‘these’ greens though. That did make me laugh
Yes - you see enough close up videos of pros hitting putts to see that it isn't quite an Augusta level carpet every week.

Some of the PGA events early in the year in California are being played on fairly uneven surfaces. Likewise any of the Pro events played at a Links course or somewhere with a bit of wind blowing, will not have lightning speed greens.
 
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Interesting chat although for me it just confirms that we don't ever really need bifurcation as the big boys,in many ways,are playing a different game already.

If you're a young guy with stars in your eyes off +1, maybe+2 by all means give it a ride but week in week out that's a million miles away from the big time wth big boy set ups and greens worthy of him🤔
agree with this. If a scratch golfer is +1, he's probably still averaging above par over a season, on what is likely to be a much easier set up compared with a Tournament venue. He'd probably need to be 3 or 4 better than that, maybe more.

At a tournament venue, every tee will be back and / or on an angle to make the targets smaller. Pins will be tucked so there will be no free birdies for hitting into the middle of a green. And the rough will be left well alone.

The problem I have with Bifurcation is that those guys who do get to +3 or +4 as an amateur, at some point will have to play with the 'Pro rules'. Most likely bifurcation would take the form of a different ball. It would seem like a very difficult transition to play an amateur comp one week (where playing a 'pro' ball would needlessly handicap yourself) to going to a Pro event qualifying day and putting a different ball in play.

Ultimately the course set ups and the handicapping system can continue to do it's job effectively.
 
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Crazyface

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What was the tip?
well I struggle when binging the putter head towards the ball. I can actually see the thing re-adjusting as I swing the club!!!!! So he suggested a much shorter stroke, so my stupid brain does not have time to adust the putter head. little two footers were sailing in. Whereas before I'd miss 'em.
 

jim8flog

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The greens will be very much about your home course and I have played quite a few where the greens are every bit as good as a Tour Pro would expect and on the other hand I have played a great many where I have wondered why I took the putter with me.

One course many years ago the putter went in to the bag after the third hole and never came out again during the rest of the round.
 

HomerJSimpson

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Think the comment regarding club pros not being able to play is a bit unfair. Our last club pro managed to get to final open qualifying and always managed to make a few quid locally in the regional pro-ams. Sometimes people simply have different aspirations and are happy to have a steady income, work regular hours and be with friends and family each evening rather than travelling a lot of the time chasing a dream. In fact I'd counter that this guy in the OP was the one being unrealistic thinking they'd get one of the 4 spots available regularly.

Also we had the Jamega tour (a developmental tour) at my club recently and the winning score over two rounds was -8 so the notion that these low level pros can't shoot decent scores to win sounds like him simply boasting. A lot of local pro-ams are won with scores well under par and yes, some pros will chop it round well over par, but isn't that the same at any event and its just a matter of scale?
 
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I think most of what he said is true to be honest. I was lucky enough to play 18 holes with a Challenge Tour / European Tour player a couple of months ago and was asking him similar questions about just how good the courses were and how good you had to be to get to where he was.

We were playing at his home club and it was the first time I'd played there. The greens were absolutely rapid compared to what I usually play on but he said they were really slow compared to what he plays on. He told me a story about when he played Pebble Beach and was describing just how crazy fast the greens were!

I think what he said about the gulf in class between a PGA Pro and a Tour Pro is probably right as well. A PGA Pro might shoot 1, 2 or 3 under on a good day, these Tour Pros are shooting 6/7/8 under. Not all of them granted but the ones that are really pushing to get to the top. Coincidently he shot 6 under on the day without even breaking sweat. It was ridiculous how good he was. He'd wipe the floor with the PGA pro at my club. I also asked him what's the difference between Challenge and European Tour and apart from the obvious step up in quality he said the set up was just much bigger with regards to TV, media and fans etc.
 

Dan2501

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This thread made me think of Tom Coyne's book - Paper Tiger:

And here's the news about the Best Players You Know: They're shit. Scratch is shit. The Best Players You Know simply cannot play." Think about that for a minute. Think about all the people you know that you would happily trade golf swings with. Colleagues, college friends, guys at your country club, players with silky-smooth swings. Think about never slicing a drive into the woods; think about getting out of the sand trap on the first swing. Think about dreaming of reaching scratch. Then realize how far down the golf ladder scratch players really are.

Club Pros are next on the pyramid. These are the guys we take lessons from. They may have once dreamed of making a living on tour, but they are now chained to the clubhouse. I have played a round with my golf teacher; he is in his late 40s, and I can only dream of hitting the ball like him. Every time I ask him about replacing one of my clubs, he picks it up, hits a beautiful, straight shot well beyond where I was hitting it. And as he hands it back to me, he asks, "What is wrong with this club?" But the truth is: he never plays anymore, so he cannot really go low.

Then there are the Stud Amateurs: the golfers who compete in the USGA's amateur events each year. One of my golfing goals is to some day play in one of the USGA's amateur qualifying tournaments, like the Mid-Amateur. But that is years away. In order to apply to play in the USGA Mid-Amateur tournament, for example, you must have a handicap index of 3.4. And that is just to fill out the application to be eligible to play in the qualifying events! And the stud college kids under the age of 25 are not allowed in the mid-amateur. Imagine actually playing on the last day of such an event. In his article "How Low Can You Go?" in the June 2011 issue of Golf Digest (republished on Golf Digest Canada's website), Max Adler explores this same subject. He quotes Butch Harmon: "A good amateur's handicap is based on traveling to different courses and competing. If you're not shooting four or five under ever time you tee it up at your home course, where you know every little break, then you're no good." Four or five under par! I just want to shot par — once.

Next are the Attached Club Pros. They are hired by country clubs just so the members can watch them on the driving range and follow them at tournaments. They actually win the USGA's amateur tournaments.

Mini-Tour Philanthropists are above the Attached Club Pros on the pyramid. These are the kids who played college golf but are not ready to join the real work world. They play in the Hooters Tour, the Gateway Tour, the Pepsi Tour, and others. But they rarely win. Their parents and friends are helping them pay their way. They are simply donating their entry fee each weekend, hoping to find their swing.

The Mini-Tour Grinders take the money from the Mini-Tour Philanthropists. They actually make money playing golf. As Coyne says, this is "where the pyramid moves out of the red and into the black." These players travel the world searching for a payday. But how many golfers dream of playing on the Asian or Australian tours?

Then come the Nationwide Earners (now the Web.com Tour Earners), professionals with a steady, set schedule. If you live in the Dallas area and you want to know how good these guys are, drive up to the TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney during October 25-28, 2012, for the Web.com Tour Championship. These guys are on TV, albeit the Golf Network on cable. But they have sponsors and can realistically dream of catching a break to play in PGA Tour events.

PGA Tour Survivors are next. They are the guys that earn their tour card the hard way. Want to know more about PGA Tour Survivors? Then read Tales from Q School: Inside Golf's Fifth Major by John Feinstein, which is also an excellent book. These guys do not automatically receive a tour card; they have to qualify again each year. But they can still make six figures based on sponsorships and a few good weekends. As of this post, the 126th player on tour had winnings of $586,758. But he will not receive a free invitation back to the PGA Tour next year!

PGA Tour Players are the ones who keep their playing card. They make better livings than most Americans, but how many names do you know on the PGA Tour's money list between 50 and 125? Not many.

PGA Tour Superstars are at the top. You don't just know their names, you know their first names: Tiger, Phil, Rory, Bubba, Hunter, Zach. Once you reach single-name recognition, you know you have arrived.

Coyne concludes: "Most people don't consider the bulging pyramid of golf talent. They know nothing of how much good golf is really out there. The scratch players at your club—they are, by any statistical analysis, great golfers, top-tier, 1 percent players. And yet, the Club Pro and the Stud Amateur and the Attached Pro, they could dispatch The Best Player You Know using persimmon woods and a guttie. And none of them are quite as battle-hardened as the Mini-Tour Philanthropists who are already making hefty donations to the Grinders, and the Grinders don't even dream about the steady life of the Nationwide Earner, who would still ask a PGA Tour Survivor for their autograph. All of them would stand in line to shake hands with a PGA Tour Player. And as for the Superstars up in the stratosphere looking down on all of it? They should amend those ads on TV — These guys are good. How good? You've got no f@&#ing idea."
 

Kellfire

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I had a very interesting chat with a young lad in the pro shop where I played on Friday. I got there early and just started up a conversation with the lad holding the fort in the shop. He was a Tour Pro. Whoooo. Well not a full one, but went around Europe trying playing in Open qualifiers to try and get a place in the opens. he was off to France on Saturday to try to get a place in the French Open. 75 vying for 4 slots apparently. Bullet points of the conversation:-

1. The fairways they play on were "like the greens here"
2. They get 35 yards of extra roll out from the fairways.
3. The greens were I was to play were described as "bobbly" and slow. Bobbly they are most certainly NOT. Maybe a little slow though. Although two players I met going round were from my ex club,and they thought the greens there were "fast".
4. He refuses to play in these greens as he cannot play on them, due to these differences.
5. PGA golfers (your shop Pro) cannot play golf. Turn pro at H/C of 4 or 5. Then do exams, pass them but cannot get the required standard golf bit.
6. Just to back this up. They had PGA comp there three weeks ago and some were shooting 14 over par. I woul;d say that at this place a decent golfer should shoot par at least. No problem. Standard scratch is under the par! And I can usually shoot my H/C no problem.
7. Tour Pros, like him, would need to shoot 2 / 3 under this week to qualify. Usually need better. Difference between each Tour Pro is who gets their putts to drop. Simple as that.
8. PGA pros have their little comps where they play for £250 pot and 1 under could win it. a Tour Pro could rock up and shoot 4-5 under and pocket the money no problem at all.
9. The greens they play on are lightening quick. Take aim and just (tiny tap) set the ball rolling.

I also got a putting tip from him to help my putting. It really helped.
Anyway, just reporting what was said. I'm sure, having re read this some will think he's a bit of a xyz, but I can assure you he's a really nice bloke and there wasn't a hit of a malice in his words. They were just his thoughts.
So you usually shoot your handicap, eh? Weird because you shouldn’t be.
 

duncan mackie

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So you usually shoot your handicap, eh? Weird because you shouldn’t be.
If you read between the lines - he is saying he expects to be able to play to par off his handicap on that specific course.
And that SSS is below par on that course (which seems to come as a surprise...strange as we have loads of tees rated well below par; although in the bar frequent discussions go along the lines of played to my handicap today, really?, yep net 72, but playing to handicap is 68...🤔
 
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Crazyface

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So you usually shoot your handicap, eh? Weird because you shouldn’t be.
Par 70
SSS 69

Wide open fairways. Big greens that are a pleasure to putt on. (albeit slow sarcastic LOL). If I find it an easy course then PGA golfers should....but apparently some did not, which sort of backs the lads comments up. Plus, post 16, backs the initial post up big time. So it appears the lad is right in what he was telling me.
 

Kellfire

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Par 70
SSS 69

Wide open fairways. Big greens that are a pleasure to putt on. (albeit slow sarcastic LOL). If I find it an easy course then PGA golfers should....but apparently some did not, which sort of backs the lads comments up. Plus, post 16, backs the initial post up big time. So it appears the lad is right in what he was telling me.
Easy course or not, you shouldn’t “usually” play to your handicap as your handicap should be reflective of your course.
 
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