If you’re old enough to remember the Tin Cup golf film, you may remember a bet between Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) and David Simms (Don Johnson), both of whom were constantly trying to satisfy their love interests, Dr. Molly, to impress Griswold (Renee Russo).
McAvoy had a warm drink in front of the clubhouse and next to the driving range and bet Simms that he could hit him with a five-iron over the total distance and secure it with his car as payment in case he lost.
McAvoy went first and smashed his iron shot past the 225 shield, then turned to Simms with some trash talks about the winning shot. Simms aimed calmly at the paved road that led into the club and hit his five-shot shot, which ricocheted down the street and stopped about half a mile away. In the next scene, Simms McAvoy’s car drove out of the parking lot while Dr. Griswold sat next to him. Lesson learned. Sometimes a paved road or a cart path helps; sometimes it hurts.
But as some people say, “Art imitates life,” and the next golf stories, one forward and one backward, might prove it.
First, the forward story is the longest ride recorded in a PGA Tour event. Who do you think holds the record – Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Johnson or Sam Snead? As a clue, let me tell you that the longest ride in PGA history was 787 yards.
Well the answer is Carl Cooper, who gave up on the third hole of the 1992 HEB Texas Open played at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio.
Cooper pulled out an oversized driver, cracked it at the 456-yard hole, and slid his tee shot down the right side of the fairway. It went an estimated 300 yards before hitting the paved cart lane several times as it drove downhill and rolled into a chain link fence an estimated 787 yards from the tee.
After a free drop, Cooper used a four iron and an eight iron to get close to the third green, then chips and two putts for a bogey six. In a cruel blow of fate, he missed the cut by two blows.
Pro-golfer Mark Witt had a turnaround of fortune at the 1991 Ben Hogan Knoxville Open, played at Willow Creek Country Club. Witt later called the “Boomerang” tee, Witt hit his drive on the 375-yard par four-hole 17 about 300 yards, but pushed it to the left side of the fairway.
His ball rolled onto the paved access road to the square and began to roll backwards down the hill towards the tee. About 250 meters later he stopped about 50 meters from the tee.
Unimpressed by the boomerang drive, Witt took a drop and then hit a three wood back near the green, chips up and one-putte for a bogey (no mention of how he finished the tournament).
How do you measure apart from a paved road or a cart lane?
According to TrackMan statistics from the PGA Tour, “The average carry (the distance a ball travels in the air) of a shot hit by a Tour player with a driver was 275 yards. The average 3-wood shot carried 243 yards and the average 5-wood shot carried 230 yards. The typical carry for a 3 iron shot was 212 yards; for a 4-iron, 203; for a 5-iron 194; for a 6-iron, 183; for a 7-iron, 172; for an 8-iron 160; and for a 9-iron 148. The average PGA Tour pitching wedge shot was 136 yards. “
According to TrackMan statistics from the LPGA Tour, “the average professional female rider carries 218 yards. Your 3, 5 and 7 woods carry 195, 185 and 174 yards, respectively. LPGA pros hit 4-irons an average of 169 yards, 5-irons 161, 6-irons 152, 7-irons 141, 8-irons 130, and 9-irons 119 yards. Typical pitching wedge shots total 107 yards. “
19th hole trivia
• The film “Tin Cup” was released in 1996 and just celebrated its 25th birthday. The film cost $ 45 million and grossed over $ 75 million.
• The 18th Green Nightmare that took McAvoy 12 shots to punch out is based on a real life incident. Gary McCord took a birdie once to win a similar tournament and went for it, and 16 strokes later he eventually punched out.
• The longest hole-in-one ever hit by Bob Mitera while playing with his buddies in Nebraska. In 1965, Mitera hit a drive for an ace measured at 447 yards. The name of the course was Miracle Hill.
• In 1954, members of the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, NJ, complained to course designer Robert Trent Jones that hole number four, a 194-yard par-three, was too challenging for the upcoming US Open. Jones led the club pro and club president to the fourth tee and let it fly for an ace. Then he turned to the amazed couple and said, “As you can see, the hole really isn’t that difficult.”