The Ryder course is a fun course to play and one that you can definitely score on if you are playing well. The fairways have generous landing areas and in comparison to Wanamaker, feel like you’ve got an entire football field out there to land it. I didn’t get the sense that the course had as much undulation to it in the fairways, but I could be wrong. But like Wanamaker, there were some really cool holes that make you think around the course. The condition of the course once again was excellent. The greens were in great shape and the fairways were beautiful. Aside from the greens on the Dye course, all the courses at PGA Village were in great shape.
For today’s round, we were going to have a coach/caddie with us. Part of the goal of the Freakonomics weekend (Sub Par Thinking) was to prove that amateurs can shave strokes off their score without changes to mechanics, by simply playing smarter. For the weekend, we were going to have either Pat Goss or David Inglis. My first thought was “Are you Serious!” Having Pat Goss, one of the game’s best coaches, lead you around for 18 would be awesome. But by chance, I had worked with David during a Trackman experiment on Friday. As cool as it would’ve been to have Goss as our coach, I was actually hoping we would get David. He’s an accomplished player in his own right, having played on a Walker Cup team, and is now the Asst. Golf Coach at NU. He was great to work with during the experiment and I was very happy when he rolled up and said he would be our coach.
Our only requirement was to embrace the experiment and follow instructions from the coach. I’ve played really well in the past when we’ve had a caddie (Cascata 79) and was ready to follow an instruction. The first one…. putt for at least 15 mins before the round to get a feel for the greens.
We teed off at 7:50a on Sunday and played from the Tournament tees. The other rounds this weekend were played from the White tees. The reasoning given for this was to offer us some fatter landing areas. Given my average distance off the tee, the length of the course shouldn’t be an issue and today it wasn’t.
I started the round with a driver down the middle of the fairway and an approach shot that went left, but on the green. I was disappointed with the approach shot because it was a good 40 feet left of the pin when David had given me a line basically just left. It was a pull. And it was a shot I would have to get used to all day long. I hit the first 4 fairways with Driver and 71% on the front. My driving was not the issue. My approach shots were the issue. I was left all day long and I believe it was just a straight pull because I was consistently lined up right. In fact, David had mentioned it a few times during the round and after my tee shot on 18, David said “you know what, you were aimed left that time.” It felt like I was way left. But its something to work on.
I played a solid round with the longer clubs. My short game let me down. I wasn’t confident with my chip shots and I certainly wasn’t confident with the putter. Aside from #1 and #9, my other two GIRs on the front led to 3-putts. There were some fun shots. Like taking a 3W off the tee on #4 and hitting a perfect 250 yard shot with a slight fade to the middle of a dogleg right par 5. I had 215 to the pin over water with bunkers right and left, but a deep green. I was surprised when David said hit the hybrid about 10 feet left of the pin. I said “really” and he responded “you can hit it 200 yards, right?” All of his comments were valuable today, but times like that one really gave me some great insight in course management. I had assumed he would have me lay up and play safe, but in this case, the payoff for hitting the green in 2 far outweighed the risks of going in the water. The water never crossed my mind, and that was his point.
My favorite shot of the round came at #9. I went right off the tee but was long enough to clear a waste area and end up in the short rough. My ball was sitting nicely, with a great line at the pin and about 180 yards away to an uphill green. The pin was tucked in the back right corner about 6 feet on the green and directly behind a bunker. I had a tree about 50 yards in front of me that left me only a slight glimpse of the flag, but no danger of hitting it. David gave me a line to the center of the green and I pulled a 6i. As was common, I ended up aiming directly at the pin and flushed a 6i with a beautiful straight flight. I watched it fly over the bunker and bounce once but couldn’t see where it ended up. With a big grin, David said, pretty nice push! I’m sure I was aimed that way. I got up to the ball and it was 3 feet from the pin. Its one of the coolest shots I’ve ever hit. I rolled in the putt.
I had some chunky shots and some poor swings, but for the most part I was swinging the clubs well, I just wasnt hitting them online. At one point I apologized for not giving him much to work with. I really wanted to hit quality approach shots and give myself a chance for birdie and at least par. But on the front, I didn’t really do that. My back 9 was better. I had five pars but actually hit less GIRs. I wish it would’ve been more consistent but it was still a blast. On 18, I was left with another 180y shot from behind a tree, in the rough to a right hand pin. I hit another great shot that was a little long, putted down and made par.
This entire weekend was an absolute blast and I’m very lucky have had David take us around the course. The Northwestern Golf team is lucky to have him as one of their coaches.
I'm the Vice President of Digital Innovation and Mobile, which is probably the coolest job title out there. You can learn more about my work in emerging technology on the About or Work Pages.
As for this site, it's a place where I can jot ideas down and share some of the stuff I'm working on. The views are my own and some of them might not make much sense, but hey, that's part of the process. I'm also working toward being a single digit handicap golfer, so I post a lot about my golf game.