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« State Of The Game Podcast: Adam Scott Wins Masters | Main | Guan Lands Zurich Classic Exemption; Monday Finish Contingency Plans In Place? »

Adam Scott's Final Round Approach Irons

My jaw dropped as Adam Scott went through his Masters Sunday scorecard.

The 2013 Masters final round was played mostly in light rain, on fairways with little roll thanks to a grain cut toward the tee and on a golf course that has been lengthened to near capacity at just over 7,400 yards.

Obviously Scott deserves great credit for his power and accuracy, but still, these are astounding numbers considering the efforts to put longer irons into player hands to offset those flatlined modern distances.

If you know Augusta National and hole yardages, this ought to impress:

ADAM SCOTT:  Yes.  I hit a driver off 1 and it went left.  I had to punch a 6‑iron from about 145 yards, chip and run a 7‑iron and 2‑putt for bogey.
2, I hit a 3‑wood in the right rough.  I laid up with a 6‑iron, hit a lob‑wedge on the fringe and 2‑putted for par.
3, I hit a driver down in front of the green and pitched up with a lob‑wedge from 40 yards to 20‑something feet and made it for birdie.
4, I hit a 5‑iron onto 25 feet and 2‑putted for par.
5, I hit a 3‑wood, 7‑iron to about ten or 12 feet and 2‑putted for par.
6, I hit a 7‑iron onto 50 feet and 2‑putted for par.
7, I hit a 3‑wood and a 9‑iron just short and chipped with a sand wedge to a couple feet and 1‑putted.
8, I hit a driver, 2‑iron on the green, and 3‑putted for par.
9, I hit a driver, wedge to ten feet and 2‑putted for par.
10, I hit a 3‑wood, 9‑iron to 30‑something feet and 2‑putted for par.
11, I hit a driver and a 9‑iron to 20 feet and 2‑putted for par.
12, I hit a 9‑iron to 25 feet and 2‑putted for par.
13, I hit a driver and a 7‑iron.  I chipped with a sand wedge from the bank to a couple feet and 1‑putted.
14, I hit a driver and a wedge to 15 feet and 2‑putted for par.
15, I hit driver, 4‑iron to 25 feet maybe, 20‑something feet, and 2‑putted for birdie.
16, I hit a 7‑iron to 20 feet and 2‑putted for par.
17, I hit a driver, 9‑iron, I don't know how far that was, 25 feet maybe, 30 feet, 25 feet and 2‑putted for par.
18, I hit a driver, 8‑iron to 25 feet and made it.
Playoff holes.  What happened?

CRAIG HEATLEY:  You putted well.
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, putted well.  Driver, 7‑iron, short, chipped up and short putt.
Then it was 3‑wood, 6‑iron into the 10th to 12, 15 feet.

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Reader Comments (58)

Uh, the ball goes to far.

These are from memory:

In 1986, when the hole played 405 uphill (it now plays 465) Greg Norman (the longest hitter in the game), pushed a 4 iron on 18 into the patrons to lose by a shot.

In 1996, when the hole played 465 (it now plays 510), Nick Faldo hit a two iron onto the green at 13 after deciding against a fairway wood.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
That's "too far", obviously.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
That's what I remember, too.

One of the best shots I have ever seen in person was the majestic 4-iron Mac O'Grady hit from the original right side, beneath the previous members' tee, to within a few feet on the 11th hole on a Masters Tuesday in the mid-late 1980s. That was a wonderful place to watch play on the 11th back in the day. Hootie Johnson planted Hootie Wood beneath that former members' tee and moved the tournament tee back out of sight because he rode up on Phil hitting a wedge, I think, into the same green during a practice round some time in the early aughts. Time to plant more trees and move the tee back a little bit farther. Norman was a piker, weak and ridiculously short. These guys are good!
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Ky -

For all of our sakes, please never use the phrase "Hootie Wood" on this site again. Grounds for banishment.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
If Scott had to hit the same clubs into the greens Guan did, I doubt he would have beaten Guan. Did you guys know that Guan didn't three-putt once? Now that's impressive, even with the greens being slower than usual. Scott's distance numbers do nothing for me.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor
Almost as jaw-dropping as the irons he hit is this: Who was the last guy to win the Masters from behind while taking 33 putts in the final round?!
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
You'd avoid all 3 putts too if you took an extra 6 mins on each of your putts.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott
RES, I too was about to point out those 33 putts. In the other thread Brad made reference to chalking Adam's win up to the slowing effect the rains had on the greens....I just don't see that. In hindsight I think that might have actually hurt him because his speed was already bad before the rains and further adjustment couldn't help. The guy made nothing, further testament to how incredible his ball striking was.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I read somewhere that the actual lofts on irons today are less than the stated loft, hence the increase in distance (along with better balls). A 5 iron today is closer to the loft of a 3 or 4 iron from 20 years ago. Which somewhat explains why 3 and 4 irons today are harder to hit, necessitating hybrids replacing these irons for the average golfer.
Just wondering if anybody else has heard this theory. It's done so manufacturers can claim their irons cause the ball to go further now.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRon
Off the subject a bit: Talking to a friend today and comparing notes . . . . neither of us could remember (this year or last) seeing anyone truly scared of a putt.

Did anyone see a downhill putt either power-lip or flinch-scoot past the cup and roll 20 feet away? 10 feet? 5?

A winning score of 9 under isn't anything to worry about, one way or another, but still, Augusta was more fun when guys were truly scared to leave the ball in the wrong place with their approach.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWillie
Continuing . . . I remember Trevino (all good quotes, by default, are attributed to him) saying he could give you a 10-foot birdie putt on every hole at Augusta, and if you let him place the ball 10 feet from the hole on each green, wherever he chose, you'd be lucky to break 75.

Certainly not true today.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWillie
Ron that's not a theory, it's a fact. Standard loft on a PW used to be 50* can find PW's now that are 44*, that's most of the way to an 8-iron.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Scott uses a Vokey 48 degree pitching wedge bent 1 degree weak to 49 degrees. His Titleist blades have relatively traditional lofts. Similar to Tiger in that respect.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKevin part deux
As in the original post, the numbers on the soles of today's irons have no inherent meaning. See as one source:

and then consider once again whether ball technology also needs to be constrained.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterANF
<< You'd avoid all 3 putts too if you took an extra 6 mins on each of your putts. >>

So THAT'S the key to great putting? Thanks for the tip -- I'm IN.

Word of warning: you might want to avoid the tee-time right behind me this Saturday. I plan on putting lights-out.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle

Seeing as Greg Norman's 4 iron had probably 24 degrees of loft, Nick Faldo's 2 iron had probably 18 degrees of loft, Adam Scott's 7 and 8 irons have 36 and 40 degrees of loft, and that the 13th and 18th holes play between 45 and 60 yards longer than they used to, I'm going to vote yes on constraining ball technology.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Cobra Golf was the company, in the mid nineties, who was the first to jack up the lofts when they came out with the King Cobra line of irons.. These clubs became immensely popular with mid to high handicappers because all of a sudden they could hit their seven iron further than they hit their old five iron. Players thought, "dang, I'm getting long, I must be getting better!" The King Cobra seven iron loft was around 34 degrees with a larger, more forgiving club face. Most standard seven irons of the day were 35-36 degrees. Players noticed the difference and Cobra became an instant hit. They were also the first mfg. to offer graphite shafts on all their woods and irons, taking a chance on the relatively new technology when others were skeptical.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D right now holding a Titleist Tour Model pitching wedge circa late 1980s, early 1990s. The loft is 49 degrees.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Bobby D they also made a lot of salesmen rich ;0)

Ping resisted the *great loft race* for a long time but finally succumbed. I asked a friend who works there about it and his response was basically every other manufacturer had already headed down the road of jacked lofts and not doing so was hurting Ping in the marketplace. When I ordered my G5's I had them weaken everything through the whole set, they had a good laugh over it...don't get many orders like that.

Everyone say a prayer for the folks in Boston tonight...
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
To add to the discussion, I found this on page 224 of "GOLF Magazine's Encyclopedia of Golf" 1973 edition:

Standard Loft Angles

Driver : 10-12 degrees
2-wood: 13-15
3-wood: 16-18
4-wood: 19-21
5-wood: 22-24
6-wood: 24-26
1-iron: 17-19
2-iron: 20-21
3-iron: 23-24
4-iron: 27-28
5-iron: 31-32
6-iron: 35-36
7-iron: 39-40
8-iron: 43-44
9-iron: 47-49
PW: 54-55
SW: 58-59
Putter: 2.5-8
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ierubino
Only in the last 40 years has club loft been measured statistic.

Initially, club nomenclature was ordinal in fashion - ie a 9-iron had more loft than an 8-iron which had more loft that a 7-iron, etc. There was never a consensus on what the loft of an 8-iron for example should be.

And before that it was simply that a mashie niblick had more loft than a spade mashie which in turn had more loft than a standard mashie and so on.

You simply bought the brand that you like and learned through experience how far a well stuck shot went.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley
@ANF Great link. The last image showing the 2010 TMBurner Irons with the 3,4,5 and 6 irons delofted into the "unhittable" range illustrate the point. With these clubs there is too big of a gap between the clubs you can hit too (7,8,9,P).
Interesting topic.
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRon
Few years back, Ryan Moore played Scratch irons that had degrees of loft on their soles rather than numbers. That makes almost too much sense.
Tam, I thought we'd all be better off if the irons when bought were blank on the bottom. Then you go test them all out and see how far each one goes and then the manufacturer stamps that yardage on the bottom of each iron. At the elite competitive level that would create some interesting dynamics for caddies trying to figure out what the other player hit!
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Or not...
04.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Scott is officially the Bizarro Tiger Woods. He has Tiger's old swing, coach and caddy. He now also has more majors this decade than ETW. And to tie into this thread, Scott is still hitting Titleist clubs. For his sake, hopefully he doesn't sell-out to Nike after this career-changing victory. (He has the GQ look, you'd think Nike would have been on him a long time ago. Maybe they were waiting to see if he could win the "big one.")

The Aussie has the closest version of Tiger's 2000 swing. The trajectory on Scott's drives reminds me of watching Tiger hit balls at the range circa August, 2000.

Steph Wei made an interesting observation in that Confidential thing over on Golf Magazine. I had been of the mind that Tiger hit a great wedge into Hole No. 15 on Friday and got a crummy break, with it hitting the flagstick and bouncing into the drink. But she pointed out that his wedge was going into the green way too hot. I hadn't thought about that, then it occurred to me: that's not the "normal" action of a pitch shot, a pitch shot of the pre-Foley Tiger, which would have landed much more softly, and been a standard pitch shot, which is 90 percent air, 10 percent roll. Tiger's wedge went in there violently. Generally speaking, a pitch shot of that distance, if it were to bounce and hit the pin, would hit the stick with less force. Tiger's wedge came flying in there like a long-iron, which only puts more questions into my head about the Foley swing – which I've long been umimpressed by on courses with slope, undulation and in regards to pitch shots. Tiger fares well on flat, Florida courses. Time will tell if he's back or not.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEB
@EB: I also saw Wei's comment, and couldn't tell if she was joking or just being ignorant. He was hitting the shot from a downhill lie into a shallow green, and played a "low nip" that would check abruptly on the second bounce. Check out how his second wedge, which was the same shot, reacted. He can hit his wedge in any manner he likes - high, low, check-up, roll, spin left, spin right - so this has absolutely nothing to do with the Foley swing. Had the first shot not hit the flagstick, it probably would have ended up about ten feet behind the hole.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Makes you wonder why he doesnt just carry a sunday bag and a half set!!
04.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Oh how the game has changed. (My sources say it was Old Mr Karsten himself who lowered the lofts on the Eye1's and Eye2's...and the other guys took about 5 or 6 yrs to follow suit, that was very early 80's methinks)

Even taking into account how old iron specs were weaker than is mostly the ball/club combo working together.

Try taking an old school long iron (1- 4 or 5) and hit some domesticated Pinnacles (ProV1s)...the ball just doesn't want to "launch". The new balls are matched to the new tech and kind of fly on "air wings". With the older balls/clubs, you could still hit a long iron over 200yds on the fly, if you knew how to compress the ball to keep it from ballooning, and we relied on lots of backspin to make the ball to "climb" and cover the distance (the good ole hit 'down' to make the ball go 'up' theory..but not TOO much ;-)). Today's tech does most of it for you as long as you're semi-remotely close to connecting with the sweet spot.

At 22-25 I was my relative strongest and swinging good enough to be considered "longer than average, but nothing special enough to alert the local media about".

My long range carry numbers (180 yds or more) clubs were:

2i = 215-220yds 3i = 205-215 4i = 195-200 5i = 187 etc...


2i (iron style hybrid w/ same 17*loft/shaft) = 235-245
3i = 220-225
4i - 210 - 220
5i - 200-210
6i - N/A since I carry 4 proper wedges, I choke up on a 5i or hammer a 7i when looking @ 180-200 shots...i know it's weird but I hardly see em these days anyways. I got one, but use for the teaching tee mostly.
7i - Up to 190yds..but when playing for birdies, it's max 170-175 for a "stock" swing. I like 167 best for control/optimal spin and trajectory.
8i - etc..

Today's tech has changed the style of game more than anything, it's become plasticized. Proof: Cobra proudly advertises 4 different colours on their driver as do others. Like that matters to the ball and/or clubface. It's still fun today, but the refined art of ball control has been dumb-ed down significantly. Launch monitors and CPU's do the "figuring it out" part these days...and..IMO etiquette on and around the greens has gone into the toilet since TPTB decided to get rid of proper spikes in favour of these plastic kid-safe thingies that need regular replacing.

I miss good ole tungsten "nails" under my feet...that was the sound of golf, now we're more closer than ever to (heaven forbid) Tennis players...and there ain't no Johnny Mac to lead us.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
chico, I'm now a half dozen rounds in with that configuration and find it quite liberating. I also now have a much clearer understanding of what constitutes an obstruction ;)
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Good call, Hawk.

DTF, yardage irons sound pretty cool, sort of.

Good call as well, Bobby D. I remember my cousin's idiot husband telling me e hit his PW 140-150, and it was some hot Cobra set, while my Titleist Tour irons, circa 1980 had 52* on the PW. He told me he was a mid 80's player, rolled the ball, never had tree trouble by the time he placed it, darn- I'd have been a mid 60's shooter with his ''rules''.

Speaking of Ping- I was big for years on PE2's, and got the yanks, pulled out an old set of Staffs and took 7 strokes off my game in about 6 rounds, and decided that the offset on PE2's was a big part of the problem. But I loved my BeCu's-- had to give up the cool look for a better score- still have a 2 and maybe a 1 sacked away.

One final thing-- everyone knew someone who had a''favorite club'', say the 7, that they hit like a 6 or better, and no one was checking their clubs L&L---typically the 7 WAS a 5.5 from being bent, or just lousy QC.

Loved the Yea Yea, Yeas on Kimmel last night, and

God Bless America, and please help all those people in tremendouse pain, be it from wounds,mental, or emotional. Bring the cowards in who did these terrible things in Boston, Ma, and keep us safe and strong, and all the world, all of us.

This always comes down to the haves and the have nots.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
6500 yds is to 230 yds (circa 1930) as 8200 yds is to 290 yds (2012).

For a course to play today as a 6500 yd course did in 1930, it must be at least 8200 yds long. Scott's Masters clubbing is further evidence of something that's been obvious for a decade or more. ANGC at 7400 yds is, as Scott proved, a short course for him and the majority of his cohorts.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterotey
I've always been under the impression that the main reason for the lower lofts on the Eye 2 and subsequent cavity-backs was simply because they had more weight at the bottom of the club and therefore launched the ball higher. I know that when I switched from my beloved MacGregor Muirfields (show me a 13-year-old today who can get the ball airborne with a butter-knife two-iron!) to the hideous-looking Ping Zing 2s I hit the ball just as high but one club longer.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Del, only problem with your irons with yardages on them is that after 50 I'll have to buy new ones every three years!
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
I have played a lot of 1 club golf, it is amazing how many different shots you can hit with 1 club if you have no other options. Chico and Del are on to something with reducing the number of clubs in a set, I think 9 or 10 should be max. You still buy a whole set so the manufacturers don't fight it and adjust your lineup according to course and conditions.

14 club number was set when caddies were the standard, 9 or 10 club max could lead to more golfers walking....
S&T, a few weeks ago we had a group of 8 going out and I proposed a 9-club limit, went over like a lead balloon. Well, I went with 9 anyway. D, 3W, 2 hybrids, 6i, 8i, PW, SW, P. In 6 rounds I can really only remember 1 shot where I really wished I had a 7-iron but the real problem was I just wasn't committed to the shot.

The one definitive result I have seen from this configuration is that I rarely come up short anymore. Shots are almost always pin high or past except when being below the hole is mandatory (which is rare at BP this time of year). The other thing it simplifies is options around the greens and in my case this is a real positive! I've really enjoyed it and since my pedometer usually registers about 10 miles door-to-door the lightened load is noticeable.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
3w 9i on seven is ridiculous at 450 yards with that elevation change into the green. That's just nuts.

@Chico: "Makes you wonder why he doesnt just carry a sunday bag and a half set!!"

I wouldn't recommend it for the Masters, but I used that configuration for a 126 hole marathon (walking) in a charity event last year and was shocked at how little I missed the clubs that I took out of my bag. It was kind of liberating not to have to debate which club to pull. I played some of the best golf I've ever played that day!
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeitz
The main reason for lower lofts, as we all know, is to sell more of their clubs.

My five iron goes farther than your five iron. Must be the brand of club.....Oh Yeah!!!!
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Once played in a 3+1 tournie -- 3 clubs and a putter -- and I learned more about my swing than tons of hours on the range. Used 3-wd, 7-iron, SW. Was positively fun, not to mention loving the walking with such a light load. I play nine holes this way at my club a couple of times a year now, and find that my next few full scores are lower.
04.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRLL

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