Today is one day on a fairway that might skew the results. Jamie might not hit his best shot, Bubba may hit a 4 foot wide hard spot and get 20 extra yards of roll….etc. Variables aside, on a fairway that is uniform in both contour and firmness, Jamie is longer than all of these guys he is hitting against. By probably 20 yards or more, best shot for best shot.
Tour players are not as long as the top Long Drivers. Even the longest Tour players.
End of story.
Being possibly the only person in golf who ever was a true pro long driver and also played with many Tour players on The Nationwide Tour, anyone who would argue with me, is just not paying attention and is arguing their speculation and perception with my experience and facts.
I will tell you a story that displays how many people in the golfing public understand distance…and it’s this lack of understanding of distance that hinders many people’s golf games.
I am not casting aspersions at all of you, it has just been my experience that a very few understand distance and relative distance in golf and it’s why every sand trap short of the green is trashed and all of the sand traps over the green are pristine.
Over the years, as you all know, I have been inundated with hundreds or even thousands of stories about how someone knows someone who hits it farther than me.
More often than not, it was some schmoe, but sometimes it was a Tour player. During these years, John Daly dominated the driving stats and I knew I was longer than he was. So when someone would tell me that PGA Tour player X hit it farther than me and he was 20 yards below Daly in the stats, I would just smile and not respond.
Here is a story about how people have no perception of distance and how they put PGA Tour players on a pedestal. They deserve to be there, but in some instances, the height of that pedestal is too high.
I played with a guy one day who gets on the first tee and says, “I hear you hit it pretty far. It’s going to be fun for us today as I average over 300 and we are going to be going head to head all day.”
I get on the tee and hit one and those who have played with me will agree it doesn’t look like I hit it that far, so he was not that impressed. He hit his drive and had body language like he thought he had just out driven me by 20 yards.
We get out there and I was about 50 past him. He ripped his and was about 270. I hit mine decent and was about 320. However, not understanding how I could be so far ahead of him, he talked about how I must have nutted mine and he hit his in the heel. he was not subtle and actually very condescending.
For the next 5 or 6 holes he was coming out of his shoes and hitting it all over creation. Finally he gives himself a hernia, grunts, nuts one, looks at me and says, “That’s all I got, catch it if you can.”
By now I was quite tired of this fool, so I got on one. One of the other players in our group stepped it off at 70+ yards longer.
This clown was dumbfounded and said possibly the dumbest thing I have ever heard…”Wow, if you hit it that far, those guys on the PGA Tour must really kill it.”
Having had enough I replied, “So you average 300, I had just it more than 70 yards past your best ball and Tour players…plural…must really kill it. Meaning they hit it farther than me? I guess if I look up the PGA Tour stats I will find they average in the 400’s.”
I said it yesterday. If Bubba, Dustin, Robert, or maybe JB trained to only hit the ball far. Yes, I believe they could be competitive, but as of today they are not as long as the top long drivers and today will not change that…no matter the result.
Just like on a given day I could play with a Tour player and shoot a lower score than them…it doesn’t mean I am better golfer than they are.
This whole rant is about one thing. Golf is so subjective. Scores and distances are only meaningful in context.
I will tell you something that will sound like an opinion, but is absolutely true.
When PGA Tour players are at their best, they are better than you perceive…by a significant margin.
When PGA Tour players are bad, they are worse than you perceive…again, by a significant margin.
PGA Tour players do not hit the ball as far as you perceive.
All three of these things are a function of how golf is portrayed on TV and in the golf media…and if you think seeing them in person changes that…those perceptions are skewed by preconceptions of the previous statement.
All that is relevant…when the top PGA Tour players are in top form…good gracious are they awesome.
When top long drivers are in top form, they are longer than you can imagine.
If Jamie doesn’t win, he didn’t hit it well or someone got a favorable roll.
Long drivers spend all day long with a launch monitor practicing trajectory and spin to go along with their club head speed to get maximum distance with an extra long club. They practice getting the club in funky positions trying to achieve max distance and just enough accuracy to get them in the grid.
The Tour players practice something totally different and just grabbing a long club and gaining a few mph of speed is not the only factor. Months of practice and thousands of balls figuring how to get the max distance out of a club and testing many clubs to see the one that works for you.
You know how I know these things? Because I figured out that a 50″ driver aiming 30 yards left of the fairway, playing the ball way back in my stance and making a big sway was the way I could hit it the farthest…even though that wasn’t the way I created the most club head speed.
I found this out by hitting many thousands of balls. So even though Bubba may be only at a 10-15 mph club speed defecit, he is spending his time trying to get the ball in the hole…not trying to figure out how to get 3 more yards out of a driver. Club head speed is one of many factors that are involved in how far a ball goes.
It is the EXACT same thing as fast football players and sprinters. If you took the fastest guys in the NFL and trained them as sprinters, they would be competitive. Take them in the middle of football season and put them against world class sprinters. They eat dirt.