The most important tool for the professional golfer when they are on the course besides their caddie is their yardage book. You know, that little book they pull out of their pocket with all the numbers, formulas, and lines. Tour players study it feverishly prior to each shot and with their caddies base all their on-course decisions from this little book. Ever wonder what’s inside that yardage book and how the Tour Player approaches dissecting the course?
Each week I am going inside the ropes and dissecting the course with the specific focus on breaking down how the Tour Player approaches to each hole and giving you a one of a kind look at the golf course and their strategy each week. Specifically, we are going give you elevation changes, wind charts, ideal shot shapes, approach distance by hole for the shorter and longer hitters, what kind of trouble will be specific to each group of players and where on the course they might struggle. All based on real time on course updates from the Pros. We will also give you the on-course notes for all the “Danger Zones” on the key holes and which players they are most likely to affect.

 

 

This week the tour stays in Texas for The Dean & DeLuca Invitational, held at Colonial CC in Fort Worth, TX.  A classic, tree lined par 70 that covers a mere 7,205 yards and has been won by players of varied skill sets throughout the years.  Check out the Pin Sheet for Course History and Current Form.  Colonial is an old school course and it stills plays like that today, many holes will have guys playing from similar spots. This takes the driver advantage away on a lot holes and driving distance is generally not a big factor around Colonial.  What is a big factor is hitting the fairways.  With trees lining the fairways even slightly errant shots frequently result in punch out and low running shots towards the green for escape.

 

 

 

The word from the course today is that it is in phenomenal shape (big shock its a PGA Tour course right) but besides being in great shape, it is incredibly playable at the moment.  The frequent afternoon showers are keeping the course just soft enough to be perfect and the greens are soft now but should speed up a bit as we get closer to Thursday morning and stay firm unless we get a deluge of storms one day.  Expect 12 to be at the top end of the Stimpmeter this week.

 

The rough is patchy and very playable, “among the easiest rough we play all year” is the quote I got from our on course correspondent.  Even though the rough is a bit more playable this year, it shouldn’t matter because if you are in the rough you are likely more worried about the trees than the rough.

 

The trees are always an issue here at Colonial and that trend will continue, especially on the 5th hole.  For now, let’s check on the weather and get back to the 5th further down in The Book.

 

Weather Update

 

Well folks, Texas is at it again with the weather this week.  Once again the forecast has been anything but consistent however; it starting to solidify for Thursday and Friday.  I say solidify like it is a good thing, it’s not.  It just means we I have a greater degree of certainty that Thursday and Friday will be less than ideal golfing conditions!!! Meanwhile, the weekend could still change quite a bit since this is Texas and all.

 

Pre-Cut

 

Right now on Thursday morning from 8-11 am we are looking at average winds speeds of 8-12 mph with gusts anywhere from 17-30 mph.  While the gusts sound bad, I doubt there are tons of heavy wind gusts in the early morning hours here…that changes in the afternoon.  As we move into the 12 o clock hour the winds look to increase significantly in average speed from 8-12 mph up to 18-20 mph average winds with gusts pretty steady at 26-28 mph for the remainder of the afternoon.

 

Friday is going to bring more wind and this time it doesn’t look like the morning wave is going to get the benefit of playing in calmed early conditions.  The winds are projected to up all morning long and throughout the day currently.  Starting at 7am you can expect 18-20 mph average winds with gusts reaching up into the 31-38 mph range before the gusts settle down at 11am.  The consistent wind is projected to subside slightly in the afternoon down to a 16-19 mph average wind and gusts in the low 20’s for the remainder of the day.  The other thing about Friday is the afternoon temps are projected to reach the mid to upper 90’s late in the afternoon Friday, that is 13 degrees warmer than the 4pm temp from the previous day.  The Friday PM guys might not get as much wind, but they will damn sure get the heat.

 

Post-Cut

 

Saturday is projected to be another hot day with temps reaching 93-97 degrees in the afternoon.  The gentle breeze…oh wait, this is Texas…the 17-20 mph average wind and gusts from 25-30 mph throughout the day will help keep the guys cool.  The bright side to all this wind we are expecting this week???  It is the normal direction and the guys will know what to expect with the wind.  (just trying to find silver linings where I can).  Another silver lining is the current Sunday forecast, cooler temps and light breezes.  Let’s hope Sunday is perfect golfing day for the guys to close out on.

 

Weather Strategy

 

Based on the current forecast it certainly looks like the Thursday AM wave is going to have a better shot at scoring in the calmer early conditions.  The afternoon wave looks to be dealing with constant wind both days and the least ideal of the possible waves.

 

There could be a slight advantage to the early am guys this week, not sure how heavily I would weigh that at the moment thought.  This is Texas and weather changes quick, make sure to double check the forecast on Wednesday AM and also this forecast doesn’t appear to be the kind from the Valero a few years back when the entire afternoon wave got wiped out.  The coring for the Thursday PM guys might not be as good for a day but remember that golf and DK are played over 4 rounds.

 

Maybe the best way to play to a weather advantage this week is not in the DK world but in the First Round Leader (FRL) bets.  Since we know the course is a bit soft now and will likely be it’s softest under tournament conditions early Thursday in the calmest of conditions, the early guys will have virgin conditions to go out and blast a low number.  If you are laying money on any FRL this week, give preference to the Thursday AM wave.

 

 Stats from the Pro’s

 

  1. Good Drive %
  2. SG Approach
  3. 125-150 yards
  4. Putts inside 10′

 

The most important thing to do around Colonial is find the fairway off the tee, mainly because only a few yards off the fairway means trees and obstructed sight lines.  The obstructed sight lines aren’t the real problem, the real problem is the difficulty of running the ball up the narrow approaches and accessing tucked pins that are frequently behind a bunker that you are forced to carry.  Missing the fairway takes birdie ff the table almost immediately on any hole and you will see your fair share of daring/punch out shots just to get back into play this week.

 

 

 The Card

 

 

 

This golf tournament’s tone is set in the first 5 holes but especially the 1st, 2nd for birdies and 3rd, 4th, 5th for bogeys.  Players walking off the 2nd green even par will be disappointed as the field laps them going into the toughest stretch of holes on the course and an almost certain bogey to be doled out in that stretch.  Players not taking advantage of the 1st or 2nd will quickly find themselves 1-4 over par after the 1st 5 holes and with little chance of making a run on the remaining holes to cobble back together a strong round.  Not mention missing birdie on the 1st 2 holes will be a demoralizing blow to golfers this week as they know the field will be lapping them quickly.  I cannot stress how important it is to get off to a good start at Colonial (if playing the front 9 first)

 

The 5th with the very narrow sight line from the tee and a pitched fairway that runs towards the left side and tight trees with an OB stake just several yards from the start of the treeline.  Oh ya the right side is dead too with trees.  There is no chance to go for the green if you are past the tree line on either side and if you go too far right there is the Trinity river. Basically the only place to miss you tee shot is on the right or left center of the fairway…anything else and you are looking at a bogey!

 

The 5th is a great hole and brutally difficult, mainly because of the drive.  Even if you find the fairway, the approach is no bargain either.  There is no blueprint for how to play this hole.  If you read the note above, everyone is desperately searching for a par any way they can find it.  The big boys might try bombing it close for a wedge even if they are in the rough they are close a couple of days and then play a 4 iron off the tee and a 2 iron into the green is the wind is up.  There shorter hitters can play anything from iron to driver off the tee and usually will have a long iron or hybrid into the green.  The reality is that guys will attack this hole differently each day, some will find decent results through all four days but most give back more than they make up on this hole.

 

Once past the 5th, the remainder of the course is a mix of moderately tough to moderately easy holes that you can score on or give a few up on.  Nothing special from a scoring stand point for the rest of the way, even the par 5 11th is kind of boring at 635 yards.

 

As always best of luck this week!