Play of the Week: AMTP

August 6, 2017

The PF solutes the Anonymous Mini-Tour Pro on his stellar performance at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic event. Although we can’t tell you just who (since he’s anonymous), we wanted to make sure you knew–he’s out there and he’s doing well. Great job AMTP!

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The Anonymous Mini-Tour Pro presents: Shooting Your Best Score Ever

Are you looking to shoot your best score ever?

Well, good luck sifting through the red-stake-marked pool of advice that exists in all types of outlets that cover golf – magazines, the golf channel, your local pro, and of course your golf buddies. Good news though! This column will guide you through accomplishing just that.

The bad news, however, is that it’s going to require you to take a tee and prick the massively inflated bubble that is your sense of self. Take Mr. 85 for example: he goes around with his single digit index of 9.9 and consistently throws away shots by thinking that he should employ the same strategy as the pros. The most important lesson he should learn in order to shoot his best score ever is that everyone is really terrible at golf.

And yet, one might say, Tiger in 2000 won practically every tournament – he wasn’t bad at golf! False. Tiger would consistently take 60 to 75 shots to complete a round, of which only 18 of his shots would find the bottom of the hole. I will double check the numbers but I believe that is way less than 100% of his shots. Perhaps even below 90%. So you see, if Tiger would only put 18 of 69 shots in the hole, a terrible rate, and he was best ever, think how bad Mr. 85 must be at golf – really, really awful!

The goal in golf is to be the least awful you can be. Remember that next time you aim for a tucked pin from 240 out to an island green guarded by alligators.

So let’s go through some common scenarios and see if Mr. 85 can alter his decision-making in an attempt to shoot his least horrible score ever:

Putting

A classic scene when observing Mr. 85 preparing to hit a 15 foot putt is a series of useless rituals that will not put a dent in the high likelihood that he will 3 putt. The problem lies in the fact that the plumbob, 360 degree green reading, and 7 practice strokes do not turn him from a horrible putter into an okay putter but instead turn him from a horrible putter into a still horrible putter whose stupid rituals distract him from having correct speed on his putts and also hold up the group behind him – the same group who earlier in the round were also doing stupid putting rituals but are now drunk and stopped caring about score and may get violent if they see one more plumbob out of Mr. 85. Let’s break it down:

Best player ever: makes 10% of 15 footers

Mr. 85’s opinion: “What do you mean 3 putt? I’m gonna drill this!”

Mr. 85 reality: No drilling but many, many 3 putts

Solution: Skip the pre-shot routine and lag it to 11 inches short and 7 inches right of the hole for an unexciting 2 putt. You’ll thank me after the round.

Chipping

While putting is usually a struggle for Mr. 85, chipping is usually a relative strength. Just kidding! His chipping is putrid. Unfortunately, Mr. 85 does not know this because he hit that one chip close to the hole that one time. Let’s take the common situation of having a tough chip over a bunker with little green to work with.

Best player ever: hits a nice flop over the bunker that will be close 30% of the time, 15 feet past 69% of the time, and flubbed in the bunker once in a long while.

Mr. 85’s opinion: “Watch and learn, boys!”

Mr. 85 reality: 49.9% chili chunk in the bunker, 49.9% skull over the green, and that one chip that one time.

Solution: Chip it 15 feet past the hole, where he will probably 3 putt.

Iron shots

Putting and chipping are undoubtedly important but at least a 3 putt is only a single lost stroke. The result of certain iron shots, on the other ungloved hand, can be the golf equivalent of being beaten over the head by Old Tom Morris’ rusty brassie from the 19th century.

There’s no doubt that Mr. 85’s iron game is hideous. He hits chunks, skulls, slices, hooks, and whatever other negative golf terms exist to describe shots. There’s also no doubt that he will continue to be horrible. However, there is hope! Mr. 85 could change his target line. Tucked pin surrounded by bunkers? Go for the middle. Island green? Go for the middle. More than 200 out over water? Lay up.

Let’s take a specific example: second shot on 18 at bay hill from 210 out with the pin back right.

Mr. 85’s opinion: “Here comes a controlled power butter drawfade right at the pin!”

Mr. 85 reality: Too gruesome to be explained in this column. Not for the faint-hearted.

Solution: Go for left and long of the green where your chunk, skull, slice, and hook will all find grass and where you can chip on and make your 5, which is 2.5 strokes below your current average after choosing That-Which-Is-Too-Gruesome-To-Be-Explained.

Mr. 85 might be asking: well, at what distance should I stop aiming for the middle and start aiming at the pin? 150 yards? Answer: Hmmm….yeahhh…. how about at 100 yards and under just to be safe.

Driving:

The good news with the irons is that the worst Mr. 85 can do (usually) is hit it in the water. That means a nice drop up to where it entered the hazard! The driver, conversely, can introduce a whole new level of punishment in the form of white stakes.

The problem with Mr. 85’s driving is that he believes that he hits ‘ehhhh…. around 70% of my fairways?’ when in reality he’s hit 619 banana slices in a row. Now fast forward to Mr. 85 teeing off on a hole with an array of beautiful, soon to be damaged houses down the right side. Now fast forward to banana slice 620. Now fast forward to Mr. 85 calculating how long it would take him to hop the fence, hit a nice recovery shot back to the fairway without taking too big a divot off of the back yard lawn, and hop back over the fence, all before the angry pitbull in the yard tries to eat his FootJoys and the drunken group behind him gets rowdy. And that’s the best case scenario – worse case is Mr. 85’s playing partners catch him trying to play his shot from out of bounds.

If the latter happens, he would have to re-tee where he will be hitting 3. 3! With no progress made! Remember the beating you took from Old Tom Morris’ brassie? This is way worse. This is like taking Old Tom Morris’ spoonie, dipping it in a pool of anthrax, spearing a beaver with it, feeding it to an alligator, and then having it bite your leg while you’re doing the move where you take your shoes off to play the ball on the edge of the lake even though the sign CLEARLY said to beware of anthrax gators.

Solution: realistically map out your tee shots in a dispersion pattern that you can then adjust your target line on. That means Mr. 85 needs to know that he hits mostly boomerang slices and on the hole that has the houses down the right side needs to pick a new line down the left.

Conclusion

In short, we have learned that penalties from iron shots in the hazard or drives out of bounds are absolutely devastating to Mr. 85’s rounds. The value of the short game, while still a good opportunity for improvement, pales in comparison with the simple changes one can make in the target line. Follow these directions correctly and you will accomplish your goal of being slightly less terrible at golf.

The PowerFade is proud to announce a new contributor to our group – the Anonymous Mini-Tour Pro.  JK and I have known this fellow for some time now. In the course of sharing our experience with the PowerFade with him, we discussed the possibility of including his thoughts on life on the Mini-tours and in the trenches of professional golf in a segment on our blog.

The Anonymous Mini-Tour Pro is currently in the top 1/2 of the money list on the PGA Latin American TOUR.  He has finished well in events this season, and working his way to the PGA TOUR.  Wisely choosing to keep his identity a secret, we hope he brings a prospective that JK and I cannot share, as well as some complimentary humor to our banal arguments over esoteric golf ideas.  Without further adieu, The Anonymous Mini-Tour Pro’s “How to Make the U.S. Open more difficult:”

With the 2015 US Open fast approaching, many are wondering how the USGA will set up the course in the year’s most grueling test of golf. Make the greens firm and fast? Grow out the rough? Tuck the pins? Here is a list of other – and better – ideas to make 72 holes near Mr. Par a tremendous feat worthy of victory.

On the course:

Fairways

With the longest hitters seeming to dominate this era in golf, hitting the fairways has always been put at a premium by the USGA.  But as every recreational golfer has experienced at their local public golf course, there is nothing more depressingly hilarious than hitting a ball slightly off line and having it careen off the cart path deep into the trees. Why limit having one of the most terrorizing obstacles only on the most poorly designed munis? Install cart paths down the left and right side of every single fairway. Trying to lay up at the corner of the dogleg? Boing! Time for a provisional.

Added bonus: The scuffs on your brand new Titleist will reintroduce you to the banana slice you thought you lost years before your first PGA Tour start.

Bunkers

Jack Nicklaus believes that bunkers should be a hazard, and thus reinvented the design of rakes at his tournament at Memorial to create small trenches in the sand where a player would encounter a partially embedded ball instead of a perfectly flat lie. I would like to take this concept one step further.  And then six steps further after that.  Drill holes in the bunkers all the way to China.  It’s a long carry over the Pacific Ocean I hear.

Flags

Ever wonder why 99.9% of golf uses flags and one course – Merion – uses wicker baskets?  Apparently flags are not a requirement, which is why they should be removed entirely. “But then how would the players know where to hit the ball?” asks a skeptic douche. What, you don’t believe the best players in the world can “will the ball into the hole”? Ever watched Tiger in 2000? Your skepticism sickens me.

Greens

The most difficult greens are hard as rocks and so fast and slick that downhillers are terrifying.  Or at least, that’s what the USGA wants you to think.  Actual golfers know that the most difficult greens are covered in the poop of the Canadian geese that somehow recently migrated to the exact GPS coordinates of greens 1 through 18.  Importing an army of geese and their inevitable droppings to the course will make the greens extraordinarily difficult to navigate unless you are 2000 Tiger, who could ‘will’ his ball in a zigzag around a minefield of goose caca and into the hole.  Even on the rare occasion where no poo is present, you will still need to make a half swing with your putter in order to get your 4 footer to the hole on the greens running a 1.17 on the stimp meter, and who hasn’t pulled that putt?

Added bonus: 1/3 of the field, who does not possess the ‘will to win’, will withdraw from contracting bird flu

Pins

Despite the challenging conditions of the fairways and browns, the most experienced TOUR pros will spend hours preparing and practicing to learn every inch of the putting surface in order to gain a competitive advantage over their adversaries.  I think we’re missing out on an opportunity here – the pin sheet should indicate that the pin is 34 yards on and -4 from the edge on a green 30 yards deep.  The good news is that a player will reduce his risk of bird flu from not being on the green.  The bad news is everyone will be penalized from slow play for taking 30 frantic minutes to find the hole in the rough off the green.

Tee Boxes

By golly, what will he come up with in regards to the tee boxes?  Rusty nails right beneath the surface of the grass?  Having to do battle with Goliath before teeing off?  Being required to do a keg stand while hitting your drive?  These are all insane/brilliant notions.  What I have to suggest, however, is much worse than any of these: align the tees on the tee box toward the trouble.

You might say, “Hey, that’s not so bad!”  True, for normal human beings.  However, 98% of the players on the PGA TOUR have beliefs and superstitions similar to ancient Aztec shaman.  “The tee box had me aimed there” is a common expression heard after a ball is hooked out of bounds.  What if the tees where placed diagonally across the tee box?  Mayhem would ensue because everyone knows that golf is 90% mental.

Off the course:

Informing the field that golf is 0% mental

If you thought mayhem was already in full swing (get it? hilarious pun!), imagine what would happen if a team of scientists meaning not shaman and their witch-doctor cousins the sports psychologists were to inform players that golf, unless played by Luke Skywalker using the Force, is in fact, 100% physical and 0% mental?

For example, switching from one piece of metal with a flat face to a slightly differently designed piece of metal with a flat face that you just now made a putt with will not, in fact, instill you with ‘confidence’ on the greens.  “You need to be relaxed and confident out there – distract yourself by thinking of your favorite sports team or attractive women” says one sports psychologist whose boner clearly curves up and not straight out and into his swing path.  “You need to have tunnel vision and be fully focused on the shot at hand because distraction breeds uncertainty and uncertainty is the enemy of confidence” says another psychologist whilst sacrificing a lamb to the golf gods.  If confidence was everything, drinking on the course would make you win every major championship.  Instead, only John Daly has accomplished this.

Note: 98% of the PGA Tour is confident that I am wrong about this.

Offer free Stack-and-Tilt lessons on the range

Being stacked is only a good thing when discussing breast size.  Inviting Mac O’Grady, Golf Machine instructors, Stack-and-Tilt specialists, and 2011 Sean Foley before he discovered Trackman, all of whom teach players to stay on their left sides, onto the range for free lessons will truly make golf more difficult.  By the weekend, everyone will be -11 degrees steep on their drivers and not only missing every fairway but not even accurate enough to hit the cart paths.  In addition, only those with the wrist strength to handle using your wedges to create 20 foot deep divots/pits and the dexterity to afterwards climb out of them with rope and your wedge balanced in your teeth will be able to complete the round.

Added bonus: the rope is technically considered a club which is a two stroke penalty

Having to watch the Golf Boys video before teeing off

What greater adversity could there be?  Maybe having to watch Ben Crane slap himself with a foam covered paddle again?  I guess golf is 90% mental after all.

BONUS: the AMTP’s U.S. Open Predictions:

Winner: Check back on Sunday night for my prediction of the winner.
Winning Score: Would be much higher if only the USGA heeded my advice.
Runner Up: Asserting that the word “run” has anything to do with golf is yet another ploy by the golf media to falsely portray golfers as athletes in an attempt to compete for ratings against LeBron being in the NBA Finals.
Low Amateur: Some guy whose name ends in (a) and has to go through life being angry every time he tries to save an eponymous document in Microsoft Word and it rejects having parentheses in the title.
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Currently unknown.
Last Year’s Winner (Martin Kaymer) Will … : Carry on his tradition of sinking the dreams of American golfers, a practice that began with the 2012 Ryder Cup and continued with the 2014 US Open.
How many prior US Open winners will be in the Top 10: This category would have been much easier to predict if Phil Mickelson had just won his first US Open so that it would count when we pencil him in for 2nd place.
Masters Champion (Speith) will …: Withdraw from the huge brain freeze he got when doing that PGA Tour commercial.
British Open Champion/PGA Champion (Rory) will …: be seen in a commercial hitting a drive into the horizon while wearing a watch, which will initially make people want to do the same until they remember how incredibly uncomfortable that is for your wrist.
Sergio Garcia will…: dominate the headlines with a hilarious faux-pas.
Dustin Johnson will…: host a party on Wednesday night.
Rickie Fowler will…: inspire a generation of young golfers to dress very conservatively.
Jimmy Walker (current 2nd Fedex points) will…: cause brief but repeated confusion as to why the broadcasters are discussing whiskey.
Adam Scott will…: contend in the US Open for the last time.
What will be the major storyline of the tournament: this US Open will be remembered as the dramatic last stand for players using long putters until they all see their careers wither away.
Tiger Woods will…: Oscillate back and forth between he’s definitely going to win!/he’s back!/he’s the best ever!/Chris Como is a genius! and he’ll never get back to where he was!/he’s finished!/Chris Como sucks!, with every birdie and bogey that he makes throughout the week. He will also only hit 60-80 shots per round but will have over 100 slow-mo analyses of his swing during the coverage.
Bold Prediction?: The tournament gets rained out without a single shot being hit and the USGA bans Washington from its list of future US Open sites.