GET INTO GOLF: PGA Tour opens new season in Napa
Have you ever been out, hitting a few balls on the driving range, and every ball that you hit was perfect? Okay, well maybe some of the shots were perfect and the majority still makes us proud. Shoot, nobody hits all of them good. Or do they?
Almost every week, the efforts of Tour players (past and present) are included this column. As a group, they are truly remarkable. Consider this: a person is standing away from a ball, the ball is about an inch and a half wide, the driver is nearly four feet long, the club-head is just a few inches wide, and, with a world-class player, the club is moving more than 100 miles an hour at impact. All of this happens in the period of about a second and a half.
Generally speaking, for every degree that the clubface is off target, the ball will land approximately 10 yards offline and fairways on Tour courses can be 25 yards wide (with average of 30-ish). So, after some quick math, if a player’s swing is off by one degree, that ball is not headed for the short grass, that little orb is moving toward the rough. There is not a lot a margin for error and if you want to play golf for a living, “almost perfect” is the benchmark. For the average player on the PGA Tour, relative perfection is achieved more than 60 percent of the time and the best will hit the fairway 80 percent of the time.
If you don’t have plans for the weekend, there is a great opportunity to see “almost perfect” in action. This week the PGA Tour makes its stop at the Silverado Resort in Napa. It’s 130 of the country’s best players tee it up, the start to the Tour’s new ‘fiscal’ points year.
Granted, some of the top players may not be there. In fact, Tiger Woods was expected to make his return this week after injuries had kept him out of competition. But, according to reports, he is not satisfied with his game yet and will not be playing.
However, this week’s field for the Safeway Open at Silverado’s North Course, does have a solid, quality group of players. Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey, Retief Goosen and Matt Kuchar need no introduction.
Also, you’ll get a chance to see some of the young guns in person, such as Bryson DeChambeau and Jhonattan Vegas. It is a treat to watch them play, as well as practice. Golf, is not a game of perfection, but when you see these guys, it may seem possible.
John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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