Arccos' Preview Caddie Feature Reveals Strategy on Winged Foot’s West Course
Five over. That was the winning score posted by Geoff Ogilvy in the 2006 U.S. Open on Winged Foot’s famed West Course.
Plus seven. That was champion Hale Irwin’s final number in the 1974 U.S. Open at the storied New York club, later dubbed “The Massacre at Winged Foot.”
There have been six U.S. Opens hosted on what USGA CEO Mike Davis calls “the quintessential U.S. Open golf course.” All but one – Fuzzy Zoeller’s four-under in 1984 leading to a playoff victory over Greg Norman – have featured winning scores over par.
Fresh off a complete restoration by Gil Hanse, the A.W. Tillinghast-designed West Course will host its sixth U.S. Open this week, and all signs point to another grueling test of golf.
The rough (a mix of Kentucky Bluegrass, rye and poa annua) will be thick and gnarly. The greens will be the fastest players putt on all year, rolling between 12 and 13 on the stimpmeter. Hanse and his team have stretched the layout to 7,477-yards with two par 5s converted to 4s for a par of 70.
Oh, and those famously narrow fairways? Well, the widest will be 12 yards (on the 633-yard, par-5 12th hole) and the narrowest just 17 feet (on the 384-yard par-4 11th).
Which begs the question, how would Arccos players acquit themselves on a course with the potential to bring the greatest golfers in the world to their knees?
And how can you leverage this proprietary data to up your game on the tournament caliber courses you play?
The Arccos Player Profile
Nearly 300 Arccos rounds have been recorded on the West Course, and as you might expect, they were logged by Arccos players with single digit handicaps; 7.5 on average to be exact (hey, this is Winged Foot, after all—not for the faint of heart).
Keeping in mind they played the West Course in its traditional par-72 setup, Arccos players’ average score was a respectable 84.36. On the 5,382 holes they’ve collectively registered on the famed circuit, birdies are incredibly hard to come by, at 7.25%. Bogeys, on the other hand, are plentiful, at 55.13%.
From that considerable disparity, one can infer that highly skilled amateur golfers with single digit handicaps are scrambling for par, often settling for bogey, and trying to avoid blow-up holes.
Sound like a U.S. Open venue so far?
Strokes Gained, Lessons Learned
Utilizing Arccos new revolutionary Strokes Gained Feature, we also find Arccos players on Winged Foot West are losing 9.9 strokes relative to a zero-handicap golfer. Interestingly, most of the “leakage” occurs off the tee (-2.71) and on approach shots (-3.07).
In this respect, Arccos players have much in common with PGA Tour players. In 2006 at Winged Foot, Tour players hit only 50 percent of fairways (compared to 62 percent in other tournaments that year) and 51 percent of greens (compared to 64 percent).
The 469-yard par 4 18th hole plays the second hardest for Arccos players, who even as single-digit handicappers bogey the hole 42% of the time, double-bogey it 27% of the time and only birdie it at a four-percent clip. The 640 yard par 5 12th hole plays the hardest for Arccos players.
For the Tour players this week, most believe either of the two par 5s converted to par 4s – the 502-yard par-4 fifth hole or the 498-yard par-4 16th – or the ghastly 504-yard par-4 17th, will produce the highest scoring average.
That stated, it’s conceivable that 16 – 18 could combine to create the most devastating finishing stretch in major championship history.
Winged Foot, Your Way
Did you know as an Arccos player, you have your very own personalized Winged Foot West Course primer at your fingertips?
The Arccos Caddie Preview feature is available to users who’ve logged at least five 18-hole rounds. Just open the app, search for “Winged Foot” and the East and West Courses will appear.
Download the West Course, select the blue tees, tap “Preview Caddie” in the bottom left of the screen and Arccos will display your “Optimal Strategy” for each hole. [If you are a new Arccos player and don't have enough rounds logged to use the Caddie Preview, just hit ‘Start Round’ and view it as if you were teeing off in real life… but admittedly slightly less exciting than the real deal.]
Additionally, Preview Caddie will provide two “Alternate Strategies” utilizing your personalized strokes gained and individual golf club data. Having an alternate strategy is paramount for courses (like Winged Foot West) on which hitting fairways and greens is mission critical.
For example, Preview Caddie’s Optimal Strategy on the 450-yard par-4 first hole for our 11.3 handicap “Arccos Avatar” is driver off the tee and 7-iron on the approach. This yields a “5.1. strokes to get down” result.
The first Alternate Strategy for our Arccos Avatar is 3-wood off the tee and 5-iron on the approach, yielding a “5.2 strokes to get down” result.
If you hit 60 percent of fairways with your 3-wood and just 50 percent with your driver, opting for 3-wood to avoid the penalizing rough could be the smart play.
And playing smarter for rapid game improvement is what Arccos is all about. Enjoy U.S. Open week!