“It’s pretty and it’s challenging”

(major rant coming)

(DISCLAIMER: Obviously, anyone is allowed to find any kind of course suitable for their needs and desires for a good time. I should also be afforded this but am not by a large section of the golfing public and it indirectly affected my career. I also have nothing against people who shoot over 100. I actually have some of the best fun with those types.)

“It’s pretty and it’s challenging.”

I am really sick and tired of those exact words coming out of golfer’s mouths to describe a course they find fantastic. When I say those exact words, it’s those exact words…and this is not from fellow pros, top amateurs or even the solid 12 handicap.

It comes from guys who cannot break 100 on a 6000 yard muni and most of their shots look like they belong at a bowling ally, instead of a golf course. It wouldn’t be troublesome in the slightest, but these 30+ handicaps are getting in my grill for not liking these courses and then criticizing my opinion of courses I do like.

It is not a good natured debate either, they are taking it personally that I don’t agree with them and turn it around as if I have a problem for not liking these courses.

I am then dumb enough to tell them why I think they are bad and why I don’t like them. Their response is to then tell me I don’t like them because I cant hit driver all over the place and still find it.

“Did you watch me just hit iron off every tee and shoot 69 without making a putt? I didn’t find it challenging at all. The fairways are 40-60 yards wide at 270 from the back tees and they narrow down to nothing at 300+, so I can’t hit driver even if I hit it perfectly straight. It is not challenging for me to hit 2-iron in 40-60 yard wide fairways.”

What I wanted to say…”You just shot 127 and cheated to do it. I agree this place is pretty, but it would be challenging for you to get it through the clown’s mouth in less than 3 strokes.”

These are the same fellows that watch the US Open and call the great old golf courses “well manicured munis”…and complain that because those courses only have trees, they have to be tricked up with ridiculous rough, small fairways and difficult pin positions.


I wonder how many restaurants these fellows would frequent if they were only allowed to order from one side of the menu, while everyone else can order what they want.

Then they respond, “that course is so easy,” to my list of courses I like. Not coincidentally, they shoot higher scores on the “easy” courses then they do on the “pretty and challenging” courses they like so much.

Why do I care? Because this is the target audience for new courses being built and they keep building these God awful dumps that are “pretty and challenging” and then they hold Q-school there.

I have been upset about this for years and people always say “The course is the same for everyone.”

Well, it’s not. When the fairways are 40-50 yards wide at 280 and they funnel back toward the center and narrow down to 20 yards wide at 300-310 (and dogleg at 280), you have the entire field wiping it out there at 260-270 in the air, the ball rolls 40 out to 310.

I carry the ball 300-310+ and cannot risk hitting it 5 yards off line and having a lost ball so I have to hit 2-iron/hybrid back to 260-270 and don’t get much roll.

Some would say hit 3-wood, but that still goes very high and far and can cause me some trouble, plus it’s not my favorite club. Then others would say develop Tiger’s 3-wood stinger shot…but then you are talking a specialty shot that the best player in the world used and can’t even hit anymore. Now you are all starting to make my point for me. Everyone else got to play their game, where I am constantly forced to make adjustments.

Q-school is hard enough, you want to be as comfortable as possible and I am being forced into making more adjustments than everyone else, got out of my game and never was able to play at a peak level.

So I am the longest hitter in the field in theory and end up being the shortest hitter in the field in reality. I realize this is whining and if I played better, I would have made it through Q-school anyway.

However, after years of suffering through this, it is galling to have golfers who couldn’t beat me if I used one club and played left handed, tell me that I have no clue what a good course is and they do.

BTW-these are the same people who stand on the range and tell everyone to “Keep your head down, swing more inside/out, low and slow and complete your back swing.”

…and their sister’s hairdresser’s cousin’s best friend’s dog groomer’s 12 year old son hits it farther than me with a 2-iron.

I wonder if they walk up to Usain Bolt and tell him they saw a guy running after a bus that is faster than him. Probably not, because telling a world champion they know some regular schmoe that is better than them would be stupid. 😀

…and they have 4 minute pre-shot routines, draw a line on the ball and line it up to the line…and shoot 118.

Again, I understand this is all bitterness toward my inability to make it through Q-school, but now I am actually coming to the real point.

While I was giving a lesson the other day on course to a perspective new student, one of these know it alls (who I had this “pretty and challenging” debate with already) starts telling his friend that I am wrong in what I am saying and starts spouting cliches.

The perspective student was coming so far from the inside, a push slice was all that he could hit. When I told him he was coming too far from the inside, the know it all says, “You can’t hit a slice coming from the inside. When a ball slices, it is coming outside in and glancing the ball. That is what our instructor told us and everyone knows that.”

I spent the next 10 minutes explaining why that was not correct…and here is the response I got…

“Well, anyone who likes (course A) and doesn’t like (course B) doesn’t know shit about golf and I wouldn’t listen to him.”

LOL. Rant over.

Now I wait for those who fail reading comprehension and tell me I am making excuses and blaming other people for my own failures. If you have the urge to say something like that, read it again. 😀

I am upset, but take full responsibility for all my failures. I made the choices to make the bad swing changes and to go to the gurus who recommended them. I stated I could have played better and should have.

I have two points.

1. I want the same privilege to like or dislike whatever course I want and don’t want to listen to some chop claim to be an authority and tell me what the deal is and my opinion is wrong.

2. I want that same chop to stop corrupting everyone else with his rancid views of the golf swing, spouting cliches and making my job harder. Like that kid’s dad the other day.

Bonus point #3…I want that same chop to play faster and stop creating 6 hour rounds.

OK, now the rant is over. 😀

Wow, I feel much better now. Just because it’s a bitter rant, doesn’t make it untrue…just makes me bitter.

In case you are all wondering, I was just as bitter about all these things before I was taking medication that made me bitter and depressed. Actually I used to be more bitter. Maybe maturity is offsetting the emotional affects of the medication.

The bad news is I am going to go from mature to a bitter old man pretty quickly. I am guessing less than 10 years. Then I will be ranting about how all the young bucks hit the ball too far with all these ridiculous depleted uranium golf balls that go 500 yards.

Then they will design golf courses with par 5’s that are 700 yards where the fairways end at 250…so they play exactly like par 5’s on many courses play for me now.

I am going to write a later post on exactly why these courses play so poorly for players of all skill levels…and why the designs don’t fit.

PS-Just because a course is pretty and hard, does not make it good. Pebble Beach is pretty and hard, but it is designed properly and not hard just for the sake of being hard.

There are some courses that are fairly easy and not that much to look at, but are designed perfectly for players of all skill levels to enjoy.




  1. woody

    Nice rant, and funny. What you need is “chop” lessons so you’d be hitting it the same distance as everyone else.

    Just hold the lag? By the way, although I usually find Jim MacLean’s instruction to be rancid, and all of that other stuff, I believe he actually presented a beautiful explanation of lag. It’s using the body, not pulling with the arms.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3Yl-zccaww&feature=related (0:33) MacLean

  2. Paul

    I see you’re feeling better. Excellent. 🙂

  3. thomas

    What I did not like is how you between the lines compared yourself to Usain Bolt. Winning world long drive championship somewhere in the 90s when it was amazingly small sport is quite different. If you would go there now and compete in the open league I would give you some respect but now I think you are just talk. But hey, that is what a good golfer need, arrogance.

    I have been meaning to ask your opinion about this article which is all about holding lag: http://www.aroundhawaii.com/lifestyle/health_and_fitness/2011-11-pga-tour-clubhead-lag-part-2.html

    Reading your blog I get the idea no one else in the world has good ideas or knowledge about the golf swing. It doesn’t give a good impression about your personality, I would like to read more you giving credit to people and not always talking about exaggerated cliches.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      The same ignorance I made fun of today is exactly what you displayed here. Normally I wouldn’t respond to such drivel, but since you exhibited exactly what made fun of today, I will respond to you.

      “amazingly small sport”

      10,000 people competed at the local level qualifiers and the same group of guys that I beat is the same group of guys that were still dominating the sport until they got a little long in the tooth and now dominate the senior division.

      Fister, James, Miller, Pavlet, Wilson, Mobley are just a few of the guys I beat. Ever heard of them?

      I haven’t competed because I have admitted I had swing problems that made me hit it not far enough to compete at that level. I have already said I will try and compete next your in both the open and senior. Ruined point #2

      I really Like Kelvin and have given him credit here several times…which ruins your third point.

      Anything else?

  4. Greg

    I used to live in Downey Ca. and played quite a bit at Rio Hondo C.C. Back then it was maybe 6,000 from the tips. Whenever the topic came up people used to say they hated that course because it was too narrow, green’s too small and too much sand. I would say learn to play it and any course seem’s easy. I could go over to Lakewood C.C. and play it from 6,800 yards and shoot 8 – 10 strokes better.

  5. Harold

    Monte, you post brings up something I’ve started to wonder about- having only been playing for about a year, where enjoyment is simply having the ball do what I intended it to do- what are the kind of things a beginner should learn to appreciate about a given course?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      This post wasn’t supposed to be everyone should think the way I think. It was I should be allowed to think what I think.

      That being said. A well designed golf course should allow good golfers different legitimate opportunities to play each shot…and high handicappers and beginners a place to miss the ball and find it most of the time.

      In other words, if a good player is forced to play each shot one specific way and a bad player loses two dozen balls, that is a terrible golf course. IMO, almost every course that is “pretty and challenging” falls into this category. It makes the course boring for someone like me and unfair for golfers who only have a vague notion where it is going.

  6. Wally

    I love RANTS

  7. John

    Monte, I stumbled on this blog, while looking for tips, a few months after you first started it, and have been following it closely ever since. Your tips, ideas and simple approach have helped me enormously, and helped me see a lot of the ‘instruction’ out there for what it is, and enabled me to filter out a lot of the c**p. THANKS.

    At my level ALL courses can be ‘challenging’ (pretty or not), but I agree that a ‘good’ course should appeal to and cater for all levels of golfer, without making it too easy, or impossibly hard, for any of them, it’s a game played for FUN after all… If the game was too hard it would be too frustrating all the time… and no one would play, if it was too easy it would be dull… and no one would play (but at least the courses would be empty and we could get round in two and a half hours).

    Best wishes on the diagnosis.

    John (UK)

  8. Calvin

    You know what they say about opinions.


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