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Second Commandment: Covet Not the Skills of PGA Tour Players, And Design Not for Them, Unless They Will Show Up
The oldest question in golf architecture is “who do you design for?” The best players are so talented that no hole is too long or difficult. The famous Robert Trent Jones philosophy of “Hard par, easy bogie” is now “Hard birdie, easy par.”
To make matters worse, the physics of new technology benefits the best players most. Einstein’s Relativity Theory tells us that power increases with the square of velocity. Typical professional swing speeds of 120 mph receive four times the distance increase from new technology than swings at 60 mph.
Average Tour Pro Tee shot distance increased 8 yards between 1962 and 1992, 8 yards from 1992 to 1998, and 6 yards alone in 2000 when most started playing solid core balls! Irons also travel farther, partially because a five iron today is actually the four iron of yesterday! Manufacturers gradually decreased loft and increased shaft length to advertise “More Distance,” then invented gap wedges for traditional pitching wedge shots!
The following table demonstrates how wide distance variances are now for common skill levels, based on research of Bill Amick, ASGCA, but allowing for distance increases for Perry and Pam Pro and Gary Good since 1996. For top tour pros, add another 10%!
|Club||Perry Pro||Gary Good||Pam Pro||Mal Middle||Sam Senior||Gail Good||Mal Middle||Sally Senior|
With almost 200 yards tee shot difference from top tour pros to “Aunt Sally,” we can provide either eight multiple tees, presumably in place of the fairway, or choose not to design for a professional tournament that will likely not ever occur.
This commandment extends to sizing target areas, and designing hazards, as the accuracy and strength of tour players far exceeds that of average players. We can let all players enjoy the course by designing for the broad middle, who are most likely to play every day!
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