OK, it’s time to rant a little about the President’s Cup. Not that it might take away from football. Not that, other than Adam Scott, Jason Day and Angel Cabrera, there isn’t anyone on the International Team that poses a real threat. Not that it sort of leads to golf fatigue, though that’s kinda true.
No, the issue is this year’s event being held at Muirfield Village, Jack Nicklaus’ track outside Columbus, Ohio. First and foremost, a majority of the players on both teams plays regularly on the PGA Tour, which means most have played it. Moreover, for this argument anyway, is that vicariously so have we.
I can run down the back nine now – 10 is a dogleg left par-4, then comes a great risk-reward par-5 11th, a short par-4 12th, then the par-3 over-water 13th which copies the 12th at Augusta, a par-4 14th, then the 500-pard par-5 15th, the long par-3 16th and then two tough par-4s to close it out. That’s without looking at a scorecard for an event played four months ago.
You get the point.
(Editor’s Note on Tour courses for major events: The exception is Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open because the course is dry and firm as opposed to its midwinter bog during the AT&T.)
One way to get something more out of the experience of playing the same place over and over is to change equipment. Perhaps the most obvious would be the ball. For those who play high-end performance balls, a shift to a max-distance ball like the Titleist Velocity would yield different results. A drive that normally leaves a 5-iron approach now becomes a 6- or 7-iron. But – and this is the key – to get the ball to stop the precise contact is needed.
In other words, this puts more stress on the game. The opposite would be the senior who uses hard-covered, hard-core balls for max distance shifting to a high-spin ball like the Bridgestone B330RX. This model might cost distance, meaning a moderate-length par-4 is unreachable in two shots, but the control on that short third shot over a bunker or creek can leave a good chance for par.
Integrating new factors like new equipment requires forethought, strategy and, most all, a deeper understanding of your own limitations. Playing the same course over and over induces a sense of complacency. You know where to miss the shots. But scoring well with a different ball can be a great confidence builder, one that should carry over to any playing condition.