“Golf is not a game of great shots.  It is a game of the most accurate misses.  

The people who win make the smallest mistakes.” 

– 1961 U.S. Open champion Gene Littler

It has been more than twenty years since I came across this quote and taped it to the bottom of my computer screen so that I could think about the true meaning each day.  I thought it was a poignant statement that reflected not only golf, but life in general.  To me it stands for striving for consistency but knowing that we will make mistakes.  After all we are all human.  Let’s face it golf is hard – at least for 99.9% who play the game for fun.  What other sport can you say that no one has made a perfect score or even anywhere remotely close to one?


12,750 The odds that an average golfer on a designated hole will make a perfect shot and record a hole-in-one according to Golf Digest is 12,750 to one.


3,756 The odds that a professional golfer will record a hole-in-one according to the same 1999 Golf Digest article are 3,756 to one.  Other sources, such as US Hole In One, a leading provider of contest prize coverage for golf tournaments, state it is closer to 1 in 2,500.


32 The average number of yards a fairway is wide, yet the average PGA tour player, mind you the best players in the world, will still miss on average 1 out of every 3.


20 The average number of yards a green is wide, yet the average PGA tour player will hit 2 out of every 3 in regulation.  The average 100 shooter will most likely miss them all.


59 Most sports trivia experts will remember Al Geiberger’s 59 as a record that stood for a long time. There has been slightly more than a dozen other 59s recorded on the PGA and LPGA Tour. One memorable one that comes to mind was David Duvall’s during the 1999 Bob Hope Classic. I was literally glued to the TV as I watched near perfection. In David Duval’s incredible round, he had a putt for birdie or eagle on 17 holes and only four times did he have a putt longer than 10 feet.  Yet he didn’t make every putt or hit every green.  

Notable golfers in the 59 Club 

  • Gary Player, 1974 Brazilian Open
  • Al Geiberger, 1977 Memphis Classic
  • Chip Beck, 1991 Las Vegas Invitational
  • David Duval, 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
  • Annika Sorenstam, 2001 Standard Register on the LPGA Tour
  • Phil Mickelson, 2004 PGA Grand Slam of Golf
  • Paul Goydos, 2010 John Deere Classic
  • Stuart Appleby 2010 Greenbriar Classic
  • Jim Furyk 2013, BMW Championship
  • Justin Thomas, 2017 Sony Open
  • Adam Hadwin, 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge
  • Brant Snedeker, 2018 Wyndham Championship
  • Kevin Chappell, 2019 A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier
  • Scottie Sheffler, 2020 The Northern Trust

58 Jim Furyk also holds the lowest PGA Tour score. An accomplished that occurred in 2016 at the Travelers Championship. Stephan Jaeger also held the record at the 2016 Ellie Mae Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour. In 2023, Bryson DeChambeau holds the lowest round on the LIV tour at the White Course at Greenbrier in beautiful West Virginia.


57 The lowest round ever on a PGA Tour sanctioned event belongs to Cristobal Del Solar in the first round of the 2024 Astra Golf Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour held in Bogota, Columbia.


55 In 1962, Homero Blancas posted the lowest recorded score in history on a regulation golf course.  If the name sounds vaguely familiar, Blancas played on the PGA Tour in the 1960s and 70s and joined the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) in 1988. While playing as an amateur in the Premier Invitational in Longview, TX, Blancas shot a round of 55 which included one eagle and 13 birdies, included hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation and requiring only 20 putts.

However, don’t look for his name in the current record books as the 70-hole layout only measured slightly more than 5,000 yards. To be counted by the Guinness Book of World Records, the course must be at least 6,500 yards and occur in competition. However, you must admit that a round of 15-under is an incredible achievement. Hat’s off Homero!

Other Great Rounds of Golf

When you factor in the millions of golfers that play on any given day, you might expect some extraordinary accomplishments by some unsung golfer. In 2007, assistant pro Jay Osmon carded a 56 at Cattails Golf Club in Alamosa, CO.  Unfortunately for Osmon, on that day he played from the middle set of tees while playing with a member. The yardage measured less than 6,500 yards and was too short to be counted in the record book.  

In 2006, a 57 was posted on a course that measured more than 6,800 years (Paradise Canyon in Lethbridge, Alberta).  Kris Wasylowich’s feat came at his home course, but it was not considered a world record by Guinness either because it was not played in competition, only a friendly match. 

In 2010, Bobby Watt, who is considered one of the nation's best juniors, shot a 14-under par 57 at the Country Club of Mobile during the second round of the Alabama Golf Association State Boys Championship.  The course was playing at 6,643 yards when Wyatt shattered the course record by six shots.

All of these were unbelievable accomplishments; indeed, but perfection no.  Not convinced? Well, realize this, that each swing is slightly different from one to the next, not just for one round, but for an entire lifetime.  What cannot be duplicated is the mentality the golfer has at that very moment, the nerves, fatigue or the adrenaline rush, the weather and turf conditions, the lie of the ball, the clubhead path, tension in the grip and angle of the face upon impact, etc. Each shot is a unique experience and there is no way to prepare the equipment to conquer every conceivable situation.

No matter how careful a manufacturer is at producing the components to make up a golf club, one needs to realize that there are some tolerances that exist.  The same could be said regarding a brand-new golf ball before it is subjected to impact with a clubhead and ultimately made slightly out of round.  The clubmaker can do a myriad of painstaking tasks such as sorting, measuring, trimming, grinding, weighting, bending, etc., yet the clubs will never be exactly perfect.

We are talking about imperfection.  So, for the club fitter, here is lesson number one. It is best to realize up front there is no such thing as a perfect fit! In addition, if you are looking for a book that is going to spell out exactly how to fit golf clubs starting with step one and following in a sequential order that will be the same regardless of the person being fitted, well then you have the wrong text and honestly, one really doesn’t exist.  If it were that simple someone would have written a book long before me. The fact is there is no book that shows a fool-proof way of fitting because the fitting process doesn’t always follow a script like a recipe.  This text is about helping fellow golfers enjoy the game more by selecting the right type of components and adjusting them to the proper measurements for everyone’s needs and wants, which in turn should help minimize the inevitable mistakes instead of compounding them.

1 The most important number to remember when fitting is the number one.  Each person is like a snowflake as no two people are alike.  The more golfers you encounter while fitting, the more you will understand that there is not one single method or one single parameter that works the same way every time.  While the rest of the book is written in an orderly fashion as possible, it is the cumulative knowledge which may help make you proficient in the art and science of club fitting. Who knows, you or perhaps one of your customers can be the next to hit a hole-in-one, card a sub-60 round or shoot their personal best with the equipment you fitted them for.  If not, you know you have done your very best and that a bad shot or bad round was not to be blamed for ill-fitted golf equipment.

hole-in-one golf plaquehole-in-one golf plaque

Modern Guide to Golf Clubmaking

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