The other day I read an article about the handicaps of Tour players. That basically, you need to be a plus 6 handicap that can play to it anywhere. Not just be the star of your home course.
Also, I don’t think most people understand how crazy good a plus 6 really is. In fact, I don’t think most people understand how good a scratch player is … and a plus 6 Tour player is in a totally different world than a scratch player.
Here’s what I’m talking about. Years ago, when the Oldsmobile Scramble was a big deal, our tournament here was so big that we qualified 4 teams for the State tournament. That meant 4 PGA pros to play with the qualifying teams … so, I needed to invite one or two Pros from different clubs to fill the teams. And, I always invited Pros who were good players.
One year after the State tournament, one of our teams complained to me that their Pro wasn’t great and they didn’t use many of his shots. I asked if he was a consistent player and usually hit playable shots. They agreed that he hit decent shots, but not great shots. I explained that a scratch golfer isn’t always a great scramble partner. He’s scratch because he’s consistent, keeps it in play, plays smart, and has a good short game. They didn’t get what I was saying. They wanted a Tour player – someone who could overpower the golf course.
He was a much better player than they realized. To be in control of your shots is a difficult thing to achieve. To be in control with power and razor-sharp feel … well, that’s freakish … and that’s a Tour player.
A good scramble player is a youngster with a lot of power and an aggressive personality—and is probably about a 12 handicap.
Here’s an analogy: A Tour player is like a race car driver – they can’t take their foot off the gas if they want to win. But, if most of us played golf like that … we’d crash and burn. The scratch golfer won’t win the race … but he won’t have accidents – or at least not fatal ones.
Would it be fun to have a Tour player on your scramble team? Sure, but you probably wouldn’t hit many shots. You’d probably just watch and say “nice shot” … again and again. That’s who a plus 6 handicap is.
GM/Head PGA Professional