Over the next few days I’m going to share some lessons learned at the annual UT Open. I’m
confident these lessons will help you lower your scores.
First of all, you may be wondering what the UT Open is. It’s a typical guy’s golf weekend. I’m
a graduate of the University of Tennessee and for nearly 20 years now, a group of us gets
together at various places around the US and plays 72+ holes of golf over 3 days. And of
course, there’s a fair amount of gambling and beer involved.
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This year’s event was held in North Carolina. We stayed at a house on Lake Norman with
spectacular views and played a few courses in the area (Verdict Ridge and Rock Barn) – a
total of 90 holes over 3 days.
We had 8 to 10 golfers depending on the round. Myself and one other guy (let’s call him Harold
to protect the guilty) are the only two capable of consistently breaking 90 – so not a group of
spectacular golfers by any stretch of the imagination.
The first lesson learned (or reinforced) was the first thing I talked about in my best-selling
Kindle book “How to Consistently Break 90.” It’s simple common sense. And it was violated
before the first tee shot was stroked.
Actually I was pleasantly surprised the group had elected to play the white tees as opposed to
the blue tees – the white tees of course being shorter and therefore easier – at least in theory.
You can see the scorecard here: http://verdictridge.com/coursetour/
Aside from distance, the course slope tells bogey golfers how difficult the course plays. The
slope is a number from 55 to 155, with the average slope being 113. The higher the slope, the
more difficult the course. Simple.
As you can see, the slope from the white tees as Verdict Ridge is 126 – more difficult than
average. And the slope from the blue tees is significantly higher at 138. Clearly the appropriate
choice for this group was to play the white tees.
Harold lives in southern California and was an all-conference golfer in high school. But that
was over 20 years ago and his game has clearly gone south over the years. And he raised a
big fuss about the choice of tees.
I believe his words were: “I didn’t fly across the country to play a 5700 yard course!” We
argued for a few minutes but to no avail. We conceded to Harold’s wishes and played the
blue tees – BIG MISTAKE if you’re a mid to high handicap golfer serious about
Harold promptly duck hooked his first tee shot out of bounds and played horribly on the front
nine. I don’t recall his exact score but I’m certain it was north of 50. And on the 10th tee box,
the group decided we were playing the white tees on the back 9. Harold happily agreed. He
shot a 102 for the round.
So there’s the first lesson from the UT Open. Play the appropriate tees – even if it means
swallowing some pride. And the course slope is a better indicator of which tees to play
Some courses (municipal courses in particular) are more open. It’s more difficult to lose a ball.
But I wouldn’t classify Verdict Ridge as wide open. There wasn’t much room to miss
fairways (trees) and there wasn’t much room to miss greens (water and bunkers).
As amazing as this may sound, my next message is about how 3 hackers in this group
Dedicated to Better Golf and Lower Scores,
Robert “Play the Proper Tees” Phillips