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Pinehurst No. 2

How many? You won’t believe the shots you’d get at Pinehurst No. 2

We’re always told how hard championship golf is for the average hacker. But how would your Course Handicap measure up if you were playing the same US Open tees as Rory McIlroy at Pinehurst No. 2? this week

 

It comes up at every major. A player gets asked the question, ‘what would an average golfer shoot round here?’ They usually reply with a number that has three digits.

We’ve already seen in the early stages of this year’s US Open how difficult Pinehurst No .2 can be when you get in those sandy waste areas or struggle with those incredibly quick and sloping greens.

So how difficult is the North Carolina course for all of us? The USGA can give you the answer.

By visiting their Course Rating and Slope database, you can find out the essential numbers for Donald Ross’s masterpiece off every tee set at Pinehurst No. 2.

And by popping onto their course calculator page you can also discover what your target score would be if you were playing the Par 70, 7,548 yard monster the world’s best are taking on this week.

With a Course Rating of 77.8 and Slope Rating of 148 (the maximum is 155), you know you’re going to be adding plenty onto your World Handicap System index when you pop a tee peg in the ground on the 1st.

But just how many?

Pinehurst No. 2

What would you score at Pinehurst No. 2?

My WHS index is 11.8. That would give me a mammoth Course Handicap of 23 shots and a target score of 93 at Pinehurst No. 2. I’m still not sure I would manage it.

A woman with the same handicap index would be looking at a Course Rating of 84.5, a Slope of 155, a Par of 79 and a Course Handicap of 22. Their target score would be 101.

A couple more for you.

A scratch handicapper – 0.0 for our purposes – would have eight shots to play with; an 18 handicapper would receive a Course Handicap of 31! Their target score wouldn’t break three figures (101).

And a male 28 handicapper would be toting a massive Course Handicap of 44. They’d be aiming to get round in 114 shots.

What does the target score mean? An explanation from Golf Journal says it’s what you’ll shoot if you play to your handicap.

It argues players will manage that up to 20 per cent of the time – firing two to four strokes higher in most rounds.

So even though the target is set, most of the time you’d still come up disappointed if you took on the same tees as Tiger Woods and company at the US Open.

But at least you’d get your money’s worth!

Now have your say?

How do your numbers work out when you use the USGA’s target score calculator? Let me know how it all stacks up for you by sending me your vitals on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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