The Magic of a 59?

What is the magic behind a 59 in golf? In the past 6 days I have sat watching TV intently whilst sitting on my couch as 2 PGA players challenged that often untouchable score of 59.On one hand there, with his two gloves on, looking more like a safe cracker than golf professional was Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, a former Golf Break champion and the other was the seemingly likeable American Bo Van Pelt, fresh off of a victory last week in Australia. With all the hype created for the go at 59 Van Pelt not only failed to make birdie, or par, or bogey he pooped his pants and made a double bogey! His score of 9 under was still outstanding and thats what really counts.

Now don’t get me wrong 59 is an amazing score but there is an aspect of it that the TV announcers either overlook or simply just don’t get, the relationship it has to par.

When Al Geiberger broke the veritable sound barrier of golf and became the first player on the PGA Tour in 1977 to shoot 59, it was a 13 under par round as par at the course it was played was 72. Many, many years later in dramatic finish to record the victory Aussie Stuart Appleby shot 59 on the final day to get into a playoff and eek out the win at The Greenbrier Classic but his was shot on a Par 70 course. That is 11 under par and I am sorry but they don’t measure up. They are 2 strokes apart with room for someone else to have a 59 at 12 under Par if it was shot on a course of Par 71. Its pretty simple math really so why don’t the TV announcers’ stifle themselves a little and let us decide how great a 59 is? Well it’s simple, it’s supposed to make for good TV but its makes for annoying TV actually as it is a Grade 3 Math equation!

Now lets take a look at Chip Beck’s 59 which is also was a 13 under with 13 birdies and 5 pars, which to this day is still the PGA record for a round and he didn’t even win the event! 13 birdies are you serious? That’s a season’s tally for most weekend golfers! Imagine if Beck had shot that score on say the course that Appleby shot his 59 on, 13 under on a Par 70, he would have been in the stratosphere of golf scores with a 57!

I once shot a 59 for 18 holes, it was an amazing round, everything went in, I never lost a ball and on the last hole I drove the final green a Par 4 and lipped out my eagle putt to shoot 58! What a day…….at the lovely Michaelbrook Ranch Golf Course in Kelowna BC, a Par 61 executive course! If there were TV announcers there would they have revered my play too and sat on the edge of their seats dwelling on the magical 59? I think not but then again you never know.

Please lets make sure we know the relationship to Par for any potential 59’s but then again there is always the “mute” button.

Until next time, “Good Golfing”!









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Bill Flower

Bill Flower is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer. He loves to travel with his wife Myra throughout the US and Canada playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles. To date he has reviewed over 125 golf courses.

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