RENSLOW: PGA Tour makes stop in Reno |

RENSLOW: PGA Tour makes stop in Reno

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 4-feet long, the club-head is just a few inches wide, and, with a world-class player, the club is moving over 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 requirement. For the average player on the PGA Tour, finding the short grass 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 this weekend, there is a great opportunity to see “almost perfect” in action. The PGA Tour makes its stop at the Montreux Golf & Country Club in Reno. Starting Thursday, approximately 130 of the country’s best players tee it up, trying to capture a coveted tour victory.

Granted, many of the household names will not be there, due to a “World Golf Championship” event that is taking place in Firestone Country Club in Michigan. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and their band of elites will test their skills at one of golf’s major properties half-way across the country. This is not one of golf’s “majors,” yet it is seen as one step toward a possible global tour.

However, this week’s field for the Barracuda Championship at Montreux CC in Reno does have a solid, quality group of players. Yet a host of major championship winners including Davis Love III, Geoff Ogilvy, Retief Goosen, Y.E. Yang, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington are in the field.

One more interesting note: This the only event on the PGA Tour that uses a Stableford scoring system in which the player’s score is converted into points. The format encourages aggressive play as the points for holes played under par receive a greater score than the “penalty” for holes played over par.

So hop in the car and enjoy a cooler day in the Reno/Tahoe area. It’s likely the shortest drive to the biggest PGA Tour event in our area.

John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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