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My first PGA event in person was eye opening


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Yesterday morning I was given some VIP passes to the Utah Open on the Web.com Tour. I have never seen Pros play in person before and it was amazing. We got there even before anybody was on the range and when they started to arrive and hit I was dumbstruck. Now I'm at an 8 handicap right now and consider myself a competent player but, these guys were playing something different. The ball flights, the control. It was like art to watch them hit. We sat on the first hole next to a fairway bunker and some guy hit it in there about 155 away from the pin. We were about three feet away from him and his caddy and heard them talk about the shot. The players first question to his caddy was, "Where to I want to putt from?" After saying that below the hole and to the right was the best option, he proceeded to hit the ball to that exact spot and make birdie. It was crazy. I know these guys weren't PGA players, even though many have been on tour before, the skill level was astounding. Anybody else have an experience seeing Pros play for the first time in person?IMG_4873.JPG

 

 

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Been to a couple of PGA events and also a Tuesday practice session at East Lake. I've also got a buddy whose a golf pro/instructor that has some great stories about just how crazy these guys skills are. Example - PGA player on a 'having fun round' pointed out a house with a pool in the backyard distance away that was fenced. Said he was going to hit the shot into the pool but he would land the ball on the cart path, to bounce over the fence into the pool. Sure enough...

 

 

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My first and only experience was seeing the ATT here at Congressional. Tiger won this one. For me I was in awe of 4 things:

 

1. The pros putts seem to roll soooooo slow but still make it to the hole somehow

 

2. Tigers stinger is so freaking cool to watch.

 

3. The Tiger crowd roars are so freaking loud. Too bad we won't be hearing those anymore.

 

4. The courses they play are legitimately terrifying in real life. TV doesn't do the slopes justice.

 

 

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The biggest one I've been to was the LA Open. I'm not sure 96 or 97. I was an invited volunteer helping out at a few booths on the weekend. I remember picking up a few balata practice balls. Got some free stuffs and saw lots of pros. Didn't get to follow any but it was great. Lots of celebrities it was awesome.

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... I was at Riviera back in the late 90's and watched Larry Mize on the range working with his 4 iron. He was hitting to a flag about 200 out and would take a full swing and drop the ball next to the flag. Then he would take a swing and stop at the top of his back swing, turn his head and look at the position of the club, then turn his head look back down looking at the ball and after about a 5 second pause would complete his downswing and hit the ball. Flight and accuracy was no different than him taking a full swing. It was then I realized just how good these guys are. 

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My first pro tournament experience was a Champions Tour practice round around 2000 and I followed Jack around Coyote Creek Golf course in San Jose. It was pretty cool to hear him talk about where to aim since he was the designer of the course!

 

My buddy and I followed him for pretty much all 18. I do remember Lee Trevino skulling a shot out of the green side bunker on 18 and saying they needed more sand in it. He then got in his cart and wouldn't give any autographs, he was just sort of prickly that day, maybe embarrassed by his play.

 

 

Cool to see those old guys hit it though.

 

 

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I used to go to The Masters practice rounds back in the 70's.  Seeing Jack, Arnie, Seve, Raymond, Tom and all of the greats of that era simply play golf as it is intended was mind blowing.   As has been said, it was (and still is) a game with which I am not familar.  

 

Arnie's Army & Jack crowds were every bit as large as Tiger's crowds years later.  It was impossible to follow any of these 3 around the course when they were in their prime.  You had to watch a shot and then pick a place to go one or two holes ahead of them to watch another shot.  It was truly worth it. 

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I think the thing the most amateur golfers realize when they go to their first Tour event is just how high the tour players hit all of their clubs.

It makes me laugh when I hear recreational golfers say that they hit it too high; in reality most amateur golfers get nowhere near the optimal trajectory

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I was lucky enough to be working for an employer back in the late 80's that was a avid golfer and he paid for he and I to play in the Bryon Nelson Pro-Am and we were paired with Ben Crenshaw and Fred Couples.....so I got to watch Freddie bomb it all day with that almost slow motion looking swing and watch Gentle Ben drain putts from everywhere!

 

Everything Freddie hit sounded like a gun going off....he was playing those Lynx clubs back in the day and they had a very distinct sound.

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Nice thread - I've been to tons of tournaments including three US Opens, a PGA, a Women's Open, a Senior Open, Hogan Tour (web.com), Hooter's tour and mini tour stuff. I local qualified for a Hooters Tour event and didn't come close to making the cut when I was in my late 30's.

 

The question here is about that first time experience. For me it was Westchester 1982. They reversed the 9's for the tournament so 1 is a long par 3. This is balata ball, persimmon wood , traditional loft era.

 

No one was on the tee so we went behind the green. A group shows up and this little guy steps up and one hops the pin. I had never heard of Jeff Sluman so I followed him the next few holes. He was just killing it.

 

Later I followed Joey Sindelar and Ray Floyd, saw Seve, Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Fuzzy - I was blown away by how good they were and how much they worked the ball (balata). The rough was ungodly long or so I thought until I went to the US Open at Shinnecock a few years later. I swear that every par 4 I saw looked like a par 5 there.

 

BTW if you really want to be humbled go to an LPGA event. We have some plus handicappers here. Brittany Lincicome is currently a plus 3 at our course. 7200 yards 74.4/144 she always plays the tips. As an 8 she will gladly give you 6 a side from there, smile and take your money. And she's second tier on their tour.

 

And for those who continue to cling to the importance of putting I'm a better putter than she is. She's a tintsy wintsy bit better ball striker. :)

 

Okay she's a ridiculously good ball striker and a sweet young lady who is being treated unfairly in the press right now for a casual twitter remark.

 

 

 

 

 

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Unfortunately I've never been to any PGA events, but if ever given the opportunity, I'd take someone up on it in a heartbeat. I'd love to see how effortlessly these guys make it seem in person, which I'm sure is 1000x better than on tv

 

 

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Unfortunately I've never been to any PGA events, but if ever given the opportunity, I'd take someone up on it in a heartbeat. I'd love to see how effortlessly these guys make it seem in person, which I'm sure is 1000x better than on tv

 

 

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The tickets are generally affordable. I highly recommend checking out the schedule to see if any come close to you.

 

The smaller tournaments or practice rounds give you a better chance to see them up close if you really want to see the ball flight and hear their conversations. That being said, nothing beats the huge crowd roars.

 

 

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I have been to PGA, Web.com, Senior PGA, LPGA, and Symetra events.  All I can say is that at every level there are some great ball strikers.  Spending some time on the range will show you have poorly you personally hit the ball.  I am always amazed at their ability to hit the ball specific distances.   I have been volunteering at events for about the last 10 years and walking inside the ropes and listening to the interaction between player and caddie is a great learning experience.   I highly recommend any golfer go see the pros if an event is near them.  

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Played in the NEPGA Pro/Superintendent tournament for years.  One time was pair with Dana Quigley when he was a club pro.  I spend 18 holes going WOW and holy sh--t.  They don't play the same game we do.

 

While I served as an office of GCSAA, I attended many majors, 2 Ryder Cups, and play in a couple of Pro Am events.  Was paired with Paul Stankowski one year in the John Deere Pro Am at Deere Run.  He's the only pro to win on the then Hogan Tour one week, get the field promotion to the PGA tour and win on that tour the next week.  He made all in our group very at ease and we won!!. ( 2009.)  Paul's tee ground was typically 75-100 yards behind the amateur players and his drives were usually by us all.  And he got it up and down from everywhere!!   I had 2 birdies on holes he made par and a friend of mine chipped in for eagle.

 

If you have a chance to attend a PGA event, I strongly recommend that you spend some time at the range.....watch their ball flight, how effortless their swing looks, and how different the sound of the strike is compared to we mortals.

 

Jim, the retired GC Super.

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I went to the Wells Fargo two of the past three years.We go on Thursday so we can see everyone play.We followed Phil for 9 holes and watched some of his "MAGIC " on a few holes.Also ,watched Rory and I was amazed how far he and Ricky Fowler drove the ball for fairly normal sized guys.

 

 

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I never will forget the first time I stepped on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National and watched those pros work their magic.    A big old country boy wide eyed as a kid in a candy store watching ball striking like he could not ever imagine. You boys & girls who have never watched the pure ball striking of a tour professional,,,, need to enlighten your lives to what golf looks like at it's finest. 

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I have been to PGA, Web.com, Senior PGA, LPGA, and Symetra events.  All I can say is that at every level there are some great ball strikers.  Spending some time on the range will show you have poorly you personally hit the ball.  I am always amazed at their ability to hit the ball specific distances.   I have been volunteering at events for about the last 10 years and walking inside the ropes and listening to the interaction between player and caddie is a great learning experience.   I highly recommend any golfer go see the pros if an event is near them.

 

I've been to tournamenf on all those tours as well, including this weekends Seniors Players that I have a thread on.

 

Today when I was on the rane wirn my buddy and Tom Byrum, I was watching Byrum hit 6 irons to a 180 flag. What impressed me the most was I watched his ball flight and every single time, it went throgh this same little gap in the clouds thst appeared to be about 3 feet in Diameter. Just shot after shot. And the grouping on the green had to be able to be covered with a nice size blanket. And no offense, this is Tom Byrum, not Tom Watson

 

Oh and Jlukes is spot on about the height. I too shaks my head when I hear the same comment from a lot of my friends thst they are hitting the ball too high. I actually have one guy I know where that is the case. Only one!

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I've been to many golf tournaments over the years.  Went to the Waste Management Phoenix Open this year and I have played the TPC Scottsdale course several times.  It's fun playing the course and then watching the pros play.  It's a different game for sure.

 

I also watched them play at the CareerBuilder in La Quinta, CA.  I've seen the women play at the ANA (then the Kraft-Nabisco) in Rancho Mirage, CA and last year at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Sahalee in Seattle.  I was also at Sahalee several years ago when Langer beat Freddie at the Senior PGA.  Their games are so unlike anything I play!!

 

In my city our local private country club used to host a web.com event just before the Albertson's Boise Open. They stopped hosting many years ago now because the club members didn't want to give up their course for a week.  It was the Hogan, Nike, buy.com, Nationwide tour back then.  One of our local pros who won the Washington State Amateur many years ago used to Monday qualify and play in the event.  He never made a cut in all the years I used to go watch him play, and he knew the course!

 

An interesting story at one of those events... I was following a guy that I didn't know and he was on #17, a long par 3 with an elevated tee and a creek down the left side and behind the green.  He was not going to make the cut.  He said to his caddy: "I wonder what club I should hit."  I said in my outside voice:  "I usually hit my hybrid on this hole."  He said:  "I guess I'll hit my hybrid."  He did and stuck it by the hole!!  Who was that guy??  A couple of years later he was an on-course announcer on The Golf Channel.  Still is... Jerry Foltz.

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I don't know if anyone saw the, "left handed" challenge at the Scottish open but let me say this, most pros are better with their non-dominant hand than we are playing regular!

 

 

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I went to the RBC Heritage this year at Hilton Head and followed Snedeker, D Love III, and Furyk. It was a great experience. The best golf lesson I learned from watching them play was to only hit the ball as hard as you can control. I hit my driver 75% now and my scores are slowly improving. IMG_2650.JPG

 

 

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