Monday, July 6, 2015

Elk, Dufner and Perez Get it Right

Here's a video from Steve Elkington at the Secret Golf YouTube Channel (one of my favorites) discussing their strategy for the 15th hole at TPC River Highlands (296 yard par-4)

I do this work every week on Tour for my clients and for the past four years, #15 is one of the 'Critical Holes' at TPC River Highlands. I don't think it's a big revelation as to the strategy employed by Elk, Perez and Dufner if you were to ask other Tour players and their caddies. Since 2011, I've only encountered a handful of players that have layed-up on the hole.

However, I tend to think that lower handicap amateurs are more apt to use a different and inferior strategy of laying-up on a hole like this. They are too much in fear of playing for a 'bad swing' instead of playing for the likely results if they take a 'decent' swing at the ball.

For the amateurs that are say, 5 handicap or less, there is the assumption that playing safe "guarantees a par." However, that is more often than not the EXACT OPPOSITE of being true.  As Pat Perez astutely pointed out...this green is not easy to hit into and leaving yourself with a 90 yard shot doesn't guarantee you will find the green or even get it close. 

The other thing about laying-up on a hole like this is that it takes a possible eagle out of the equation.  Since 2011, there have been 44 eagles on the 15th hole.  In general, the numbers show that for the Tour if the eagle percentage gets to around 2% or more on a par-4, then players should go for it if feasible.

In essence, going for this par-4 off the tee is a strategy that creates a lower expected score because you're more likely to hit your approach shot closer to the cup.


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