OT: Pinehurst #2 from the tips

Just watched a series of four YouTube videos shot last year of three amateurs playing a round from the US Open tees at Pinehurst #2: A scratch player (female), an 8 handicap and an 18.8 (yes he was that specific). She was trying to shoot 80. The guys were trying to shoot 90.

This girl was GOOD. Made the only birdie of the bunch and shot 39 on the back for an 84. The other two? The 8 couldn’t stay off the pine straw and the waste bunkers, the 18.8 was taking four tries to get out of greenside sand. But the 18.8 beat the 8, 113 to 116.

Course looked hard as hell and the turtleback greens definitely came into play. But it also looked like a course you want to play at least once. But not from the Open tees (which were about 7500 yards). Maybe once my game is in better shape…

They were playing with caddies (the local knowledge helped) and one of the loopers said the highest score he’d ever caddied was a 183. I think I could beat that even now.

Playing the tips on any PGA venue is just asking for a miserable day IMO, unless you are a scratch golfer and used to playing the extra length. The trouble off the tees are different bc of the distance factor and how you have to shape ball flight, plus it’s a lot different hitting woods and long irons into greens versus mid irons and down. I watched my sons play Harbor Town and PGA NOLA from the tips, and my oldest is scratch with plenty of length, but the twins are 4 handicap. Twins struggled on both courses but my oldest did fine, and both those courses are not considered long on tour.

Pinehurst(I’ve never played it) has a rep for those turtleback greens repelling decent shots, so you’ve gotta have a solid short game around the greens to limit the damage. I would not play the tips there…that’s just asking for a beating & no fun. It has plenty of other obstacles around the course, so go enjoy it without all the pressure of the tips.

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That’s a very tough golf course… greens are treacherous and you can lose a lot of shots rolling off them. Pretty much got to be able to spin the ball to have much of a chance to hold those greens.

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You are really knowledgeable about golf and I wanted your opinion of Mystic Creek. Thanks.

20 years ago when I started playing golf my goal was to break 100. It took a few years but I got it done. I quit playing when my sons got old enough to play sports. I took it back up around 2015.

I was back in the high 90’s and low 100’s. 3 years ago a friend of mine talked me in to joining the Golf Week Am tour. I was terrified but your flighted by handicap so there were plenty of people just as bad as me. My goal was to break 90 and try and win a couple of tournaments in my flight.

It took one year for me to start breaking 90 and win a few tournaments. About a year ago I tweaked my back on the driving range and my swing went south. I somehow developed the biggest over the top move ever seen. It go so bad I thought about quitting the game.

One lesson, some you tube videos and I was back in the race. Yesterday I played the Arlington at Hot Springs Country Club. I never count up my score until the round is over. I bogeyed #18, got to my truck and added my score and it was an 80. I was happy and mad all at the same time…lol…Golf is quiet the game.

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Here’s the first video, holes 1-4. The others can be found from there.

From watching the series, not all of the greens are turtleback (fortunately) but enough are to make it, uh, interesting.

I underestimated the length; the Open tees are nearly 7600 yards. The scratch woman, or maybe it was the narrator, said if she was playing from merely the blue tees (6961 yards) she might have been close to par. I can see how an extra 600 yards would affect your score a great deal.

I think if I ever do play #2 (it’s 140 miles from Casa SF). I’d probably play the green tees at 5801. And save up for it; it can cost up to $500 plus a caddie which is recommended. Best way to get on is to stay at the resort; the cheapest price I can find for one night and a round on #2 is $793. Plus caddie.

Razorblack, no way you have the biggest over the top move ever. I have that. I’m finally starting to get rid of it; I fixed my takeaway to avoid getting myself in a position where I almost HAD to come over the top. Or at least I’ve fixed it on the range. On the course, not sure yet.

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Over 30 years ago me and a buddy played Lagoon Legends in Panama City Fl. (Today it’s been rebuilt with a new name) It was a TPC layout that was tough, tough, tough. My buddy was a 4 handicap I was around a 10. We pulled up to #1 talked to the starter and headed for the blue tees. The starter walked up and asked if we wanted to have a good day. We said of coarse we do. He said “play from the whites”. Was he ever right. It was the toughest I’ve ever played. My buddy shot an 84 and I shot 102 and was proud to do it. We still laugh about it.

It was a resort in those days (still is) when we walked in to pay our green fees the young lady asked if we were staying in the resort. We said no. She then said “if you tell me you’re staying in the resort the green fee is only $30, if you tell me you’re not staying in the resort the fee is double”. We said “oh yeah we’re staying in the resort”. Then she said the greens had been aerated and she couldn’t let us pay full price.

My brother-in-law was able to play St Andrews once years ago on a business trip. He has always been about a 20 handicap so didn’t have very high expectations. Sure enough it ate him alive. I tried to squeeze his exact score out of him but never got it. He said between the wind and pure intimidation on each hole, when you finally get a beauty off of the tee box, it ends up in a pot bunker. You’re thinking this is my chance to get a par so instead of going out backwards to make certain you have a clean shot into the green, you risk it and go out side ways. You may not get out and even if you do your third shot ends up in a bunker close to the green. After negotiating your wedge and three putting you’re looking at a 7 or 8 before you know it. I have a feeling his score was in the 130 area…and that probably included a couple of mulligans.


As I understand it (and I spent several years trying to plan a golf trip to Scotland and thus researched the heck out of it), the trouble at the Old Course is largely on the right (OB, mainly) and if you aim to the left you avoid most of that. A lot of the bunkers are either the result of (a) places where the sheep huddled in a low spot to get out of the wind and wore the grass down to nothing, or (b) places where a lot of tee shots wound up and the number of divots taken there made it impossible for the grass to grow back, so they became bunkers.

Remember that at one time, the course was played in the opposite direction (they still have the occasional day of playing it backwards just for fun) and there were originally 22 holes, not 18. The fact that the course once played backwards is why many bunkers are not visible from the tee. Also, the greens are huge, and if you’re not a very good lag putter, you can three- and four-putt all day.

I played Pinehurst #2 three weeks ago. Four of us from Mountain Home went for a week. We did not play the tips. It is a beast but it is mainly because of the greens. As others said on here it is difficult to get the ball to stick and if you miss your target a lot of the times your ball is gone over the back. We all had some decent stretches during the round but then of course some blow up holes. For example I was even par 10-16 and imploded on the last two holes to shoot 42 on the back. We used caddies. It was the first time I have done that so enjoyed it but some of their advice was questionable at times. All in all I would say every true golfer must play that course once. But I will also say, if you make the trip you must play Tobacco Road which is about 30 minutes away. Simply the most amazing character of any golf course I have ever played.

I’ve heard that. That’s a Mike Strantz design; he died in 2005 at age 50 but in his short design career turned out some beastly courses.

There’s another Strantz course in the Myrtle Beach area, in fact in the town where my son lives. Might have to check that one out combined with a trip to see the kiddo.

I have rarely played any course from the tips. Why would you do that?

Only time of late was when I was playing as a guest at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

I was a single and the starter said he’d work me in and I’d have to play whatever tees the group played. He added me to Japanese men, both avid golfers but with not much game. The starter said, “They want to play the tips. If you don’t want to, you can wait 30 minutes and go off with two regulars. They play the men’s tees.” I elected to go with these two and get done probably 45 minutes sooner and make my dinner reservation with Jean Ann.

It wasn’t horrible because the ground was hard and the ball rolls a lot at Plantation Course, since many of the shots are downhill, downwind on the longer holes. I shot 84 because I made a couple of putts and my playing partners slapped back anything under 5 feet “as good.” They both shot over 120. Two nice fellows. They didn’t speak much English other than to say “great shot” anytime I got it airborne and straight. They were amazed that I could hit a long iron. This was quite a few years ago before the arrival of all the nice hybrids that replace the long irons.

That’s a long course, around 7,500 yards. But it doesn’t play that long because there are several long par four and par fives straight downhill with the prevailing wind. I hit several tee shots that rolled and rolled and might have gone as far as 330 yards. I probably only carried them 230, but they just don’t stop until they get to a flat spot.

The only other time that I played a significant course from the back tees was at Augusta National (the year Larry Mize won). Jack Stephens put me and my dad on the course in the media lottery event (and we didn’t draw) on that Monday. You play the same pins as on Sunday.

The media plays the member tees. But dad suggested to Jack that I should play the championship tees that were used the day before. They were not the tips. Several tees had been moved up because of the wind on Sunday. So I didn’t play the tips. I played the tees as they were set up on Sunday and the greens had not been mowed. I shot 81 after hitting it in the water on 13 and 15. I could have played it safe on those two and probably broke 80. I’d say I played it about 150 yards under the tips, but definitely from the championship tees boxes. There were four or five holes that I was up by as much as 20 yards from the tips, including 16. Most of them were 10 to 15 yards up from the back. Seldom in any championship event do they play the absolute back of a tee box. First, that would wear out a place that you may want to use sometime. So even when you are playing the back of the course, the tees are sometimes up from the back, sometimes by quite a lot.

Augusta National (with medium speed greens) is not brutal. There is little rough. The fairways are wide. The problem is when you miss a green, then getting your pitch to stop near the pin especially when you are on the wrong side. Having a caddy direct you to the proper place to “miss” the green when in trouble off the tee is important. Just do what they tell you even if it means playing short and away from the pin. Leaving yourself a long chip can save you a triple bogey. You can be 10 yards off the green (or in a bunker) on the wrong side of the pin and have no chance to keep it on the green. It may roll down a hill and leave yourself a 100-yard shot back to the green. But if you take your medicine and play for a bogey, that’s what you will get.

Having a 60-yard pitch that you can spin to a spot that has a back stop means you can stop it for a 20 foot putt and get your two-putt for bogey. Or you can go for that pin, end up in a bunker on the short side and then take four to get down. It sounds stupid until you do it.

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What a life you’ve lived, Clay.

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I have played the Plantation course many yrs ago and it’s a gorgeous course but as you said quite hilly especially the par 5 on the back at about 550 yds but all you have to do is carry your Tee shot about 240 to the top of the hill and it will then go straight downhill for about 100 yds so the hole plays pretty easy,shot 85 but was pleased with that bc it was a very windy day and seemed like most of the longer holes were into the wind.
The greens were different than I had played too, had to really focus on which way the grain was bc it would really mess you up if you didn’t.We played the course at about 6800 I think which is a little longer than I would play now but this was about 17 yrs ago when I could get it out there pretty good.
I have been to practice round with my brother at Augusta but have never played,its a site to behold for sure but is pretty wide open so I think I would be fine off the tee but the small and undulated greens I 'm sure would cost me some strokes.

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Mystic is a great test of golf and a true gem in my opinion. It’s got plenty of length to challenge any golfer and is fairly tight off most tees. Those greens are challenging as well. But the best part is it’s just a pretty track of land in freaking Eldorado of all places! My oldest played last summer with us from the tips and shot 1 over, and nobody else broke 84. Our ULM golf coach who recruited him to play in college told me that would have finished 2nd in their conference tournament. I played the middle tees and had all I wanted. I wish I could’ve played it 10 years ago in my prime when I had more time to practice/hit balls and could move the ball both ways(a little).

Mystics greens rival Squire Creek in Choudrant as some of the toughest I’ve ever putted on. Both great courses.

I’ve played Mystic Creek with my son (who lives in El Dorado) several times, and I have to say it’s one of the toughest—albeit one of the prettiest—courses I’ve ever played. Making a wedge shot stick on those greens is a real challenge for a 20-handicapper like me. I don’t think I’ve broken 100 there yet, but it’s still a treat to play.

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Which course was it that John Daly imploded on the green, hit the ball while it was still rolling (off the green)? Pinehurst #2?
Living here at Hawaii, I’ve had the good fortune to play Plantation a lot, especially in the 90s before it became too expensive. Could play 36 with a cart for $75 back then.
UA…Campus of Champions

Yeah, Guy, one of those videos I watched yesterday referenced JD hitting the moving ball in the '99 Open.

I am never going to any back tees again. No use ruining a good day.


Yeah anything over 6,500 yards too far for me.

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