July 8, 2009

Stina Stenberg Puts A Sexist Loudmouth In His Place

In the recently released August edition of Golf Digest magazine columnist Stina Stenberg takes on this question in hilariously brutal fashion:
Q: My buddy says he could beat most LPGA Tour players on a course that's longer than 7,000 yards. He's a 4-handicapper, and he drives the ball more than 300 yards. I say he's full of it. Do you agree?
Here's the best part: Stina's answer. Not only is it direct, but is as subtle as a sledgehammer to someone who clearly deserves it. In the spirit of Fair Usage, I won't repeat her entire answer, but here's enough for you to get her point:
"Your friend is clearly delusional. As a 4-handicapper, he'd get so badly beaten by any of the LPGA's 152 players (even those with non-exempt status) that he'd have a tough time getting back up. Although the LPGA Tour pros play from shorter yardages than PGA Tour players so, they're not exactly teeing it up from the reds. [...] If your friend is willing to make a large wager, I'm sure he wouldn't have any trouble finding out how good LPGA Tour players are from 7,000 yards."
Indeed. Stina Stenberg tells it like it is, and serves the truth with no gravy in this case. A four-handicapper, no matter how far he drives the ball off the tee, would be in a world of hurt against one of the world's top women players.

For one thing, golf is more than getting off the tee, and his advantage would not be as great as he thinks, which Stenberg points out well in her full answer. A typical LPGA player probably drives the ball not only further than a typical club champion, she also can control her ball and put it in position. Saying that a pro is longer and better off the tee would be no stretch of the truth. In short, it would be the simple truth.

Any 4-handicapper should know that short game, putting and scoring ability matter as much or more than being Bam Bam on the teebox, and that at least half of a round's shots are played from 100 yards or closer -- where nearly any amateur in the world would be at an incredible disadvantage to a Tour pro -- any Tour pro, whether or not they are a man or a woman.

"Drive for show, putt for dough." Major advantage: LPGA player.

Case closed.

The question, however, points out a larger issue that really should be addressed. This guy thinks he wouldn't lose, mainly because he's a guy and an LPGA player is, well, a woman. That's just a crock of steaming bull manure and is darned near silly.

Me, I've lost to women in tournaments and even in Nassaus. Straight up. I'm no 4-handiapper yet, but I'm good enough to hold my own in competition, but I am also realistic enough to know that there are plenty of women who are simply better golfers than I can ever hope to be. And the best of the best? They would beat me ten of ten times, no matter how well I played on a given day.

The part that makes me different is that I would never think twice about it, and never have when a woman's beaten me out on the course. There's no shame in losing to someone who's better, no matter who it is. It's the 21st century, right?

Clearly this fellow is thinking with his smaller brain. And it isn't as smart as he thinks it is.


  1. What did you expect her to say ? She can't admit that the guy is most likely right. It's a stupid question to pose to someone like Sternberg, who is not a professional golfer. She is a former magazine publisher and a really bad show host for xxx Golf Channel. (come on Stina - stop being a granite statue - show a little life)

    The women of the LPGA play courses between 6100 and, on a stretch or at altitude, 6600 yards. The courses are mostly resort courses that are built with wide fairways, and flat greens with holes set in the middle areas.

    400 yards may not seem like a huge number of yards over 18 holes, but take a look at the scorecard of your local course. You rarely see that much difference between any two sets of consecutive tees - and many times even if you skip a set - you you play the white tees instead of the blues or blacks. That 400 yard difference is huge, and that is the minimum distance between his 7,000 yard course and the 6,100-6,600 yard course LPGA layout. (just a note - I played an LPGA course last year shortly before the tournament came to Alabama and the RTJ Trail. The LPGA course directors ordered the greenskeeper to widen the fairways, cut the rough, and slow the greens - from how the PUBLIC played the course)

    The answer to this question is not what the guy's handicap is - but whether or not he was any kind of tournament golfer. That is the only advantage an LPGA player of just about any rank has over a 4 handicapper on a course that is 400-900 yards longer than what the LPGA player is used to playing. Like Bobby Jones said, "there is golf, and there is tournament golf." Mentally, that makes a huge difference.

    If this 4 handicapper is consistantly 75-100 yards ahead of the LPGA player off the tee, and they are playing par 3's where he is hitting a 5 or 6 iron to her 3 or 5 wood - the advantage is clearly his.

    BUT - if she can make a big string of pars and possibly birdie a par 5 or two, then her tournament experience could pay off. That is - IF her tournament experience includes a few top 10 finishes or some very low rounds.

    This same sort of debate came up a few years ago when a male player threatened to petition gender discrimination charges against the LPGA for not allowing men to play, when the women (Michelle Wie most notably) were being invited to play on the PGA Tour. The guy was made a laughing stock because it isn't "manly" to pick on the girls, but he made his point.

    The debate then came up about what would happen if even a low level PGA player was entered into LPGA events - how many tournaments would the women win ? The consistent answer was - ZERO. Even if you take the man's driver away, he has way too much experience on more difficult courses against much better players.

    Could a TOP level, LPGA champion beat this 4 handicapper in a match on a course over 7,000 yards ? Very possibly - but it depends on the tournament experience of the 4 handicapper and the course they play. Remember, Annika hand picked the course she played - Colonial is flat and open with rock hard fairways so her ball would run out as much as possible - and she had no chance to even make the cut.

    Sorry - Stina was thrown an age old "guys vs girls" question that has no real answer, especially from her, unless they actually tee it up. It's easy to play silly word games like this in the media - and my guess is that she is wrong. Her answer is full of "probabaly's" and "maybe's", which tells me that she has no idea what she is talking about, and throwing out "nyah nyah" answers with no real thought other than to protect the sisterhood.

  2. I played my first set of men's tees yesterday. I'm strong with my driver and I was amazed how much harder it was. The fairways seemed so far away. My eyes had to adjust to the difference and not freak out over it. I made every fairway (and then some) except one with a steep uphill carry.

    I shot a 94. I can't even post my score because these tees were not sloped for women.

    While short game can make up for strokes lost in the fairway, you have to get your ball in play to really score.

    I'm pretty confident Hubbie would kick my butt if we played from the same tees. We'll have to give that a try later this summer.

  3. How many 64's and 65's does Mr. 4 handicap have on 6,600 yard courses? The girls do it daily...

    Drive for show, shoot 64 for dough...


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