Hard Course Specialists

The Fantasy Golfanac uses all PGA TOUR events where the the course plays to a field average of +0.75 Strokes over or Par (or tougher).

The specialists at the bottom show a much higher performance on hard courses when compared to their typical performance. The Anti-Specialists are just the opposite, they performance worse on hard courses than you’d expect. A minimum 25 rounds to qualify for the golfanac.

Top 25 Performers on Hard Courses (since 2014)

Jordan Spieth (3.206 strokes gained:total)
Dustin Johnson (3.063 strokes gained:total)
Rickie Fowler (2.793 strokes gained:total)
Justin Rose (2.756 strokes gained:total)
Brooks Koepka (2.75 strokes gained:total)
Jason Day (2.704 strokes gained:total)
Henrik Stenson (2.655 strokes gained:total)
Paul Casey (2.633 strokes gained:total)
Rory McIlroy (2.565 strokes gained:total)
Patrick Cantlay (2.545 strokes gained:total)
Matt Kuchar (2.493 strokes gained:total)
Louis Oosthuizen (2.446 strokes gained:total)
Bubba Watson (2.422 strokes gained:total)
Sergio Garcia (2.4 strokes gained:total)
Justin Thomas (2.36 strokes gained:total)
Steve Stricker (2.331 strokes gained:total)
Tommy Fleetwood (2.33 strokes gained:total)
Jon Rahm (2.242 strokes gained:total)
Adam Scott (2.231 strokes gained:total)
Patrick Reed (2.223 strokes gained:total)
Tony Finau (2.208 strokes gained:total)
Phil Mickelson (2.163 strokes gained:total)
Hideki Matsuyama (1.99 strokes gained:total)
Charley Hoffman (1.976 strokes gained:total)
Pat Perez (1.956 strokes gained:total)

Top 25 Hard Course Specialists
(Hard Course vs. Expected Strokes Gained)

Satoshi Kodaira (0.739 sg:hard vs. -0.28 sg:total)
Hao Tong Li (1.61 sg:hard vs. 0.672 sg:total)
Jonathan Randolph (0.868 sg:hard vs. -0.059 sg:total)
Max Homa (0.836 sg:hard vs. 0.018 sg:total)
John Senden (1.399 sg:hard vs. 0.619 sg:total)
Jordan Spieth (3.206 sg:hard vs. 2.469 sg:total)
Danny Willett (1.19 sg:hard vs. 0.539 sg:total)
Steve Stricker (2.331 sg:hard vs. 1.695 sg:total)
Bubba Watson (2.422 sg:hard vs. 1.842 sg:total)
Louis Oosthuizen (2.446 sg:hard vs. 1.887 sg:total)
David Lingmerth (1.509 sg:hard vs. 0.953 sg:total)
Michael Kim (0.833 sg:hard vs. 0.279 sg:total)
Ricky Barnes (1.051 sg:hard vs. 0.516 sg:total)
John Huh (1.31 sg:hard vs. 0.784 sg:total)
D.A. Points (0.258 sg:hard vs. -0.255 sg:total)
Jason Dufner (1.709 sg:hard vs. 1.209 sg:total)
Charl Schwartzel (1.782 sg:hard vs. 1.29 sg:total)
Jamie Lovemark (1.769 sg:hard vs. 1.285 sg:total)
Nick Watney (1.565 sg:hard vs. 1.097 sg:total)
Pat Perez (1.956 sg:hard vs. 1.506 sg:total)
Brooks Koepka (2.75 sg:hard vs. 2.302 sg:total)
Aaron Baddeley (1.457 sg:hard vs. 1.012 sg:total)
Matt Jones (1.355 sg:hard vs. 0.924 sg:total)
Sam Saunders (1.062 sg:hard vs. 0.636 sg:total)
Charley Hoffman (1.976 sg:hard vs. 1.553 sg:total)

Top 25 Hard Course Anti-Specialists
(Hard Course vs. Expected Strokes Gained)

Beau Hossler (-0.328 sg:hard vs. 1.15 sg:total)
Brice Garnett (-0.703 sg:hard vs. 0.584 sg:total)
Davis Love III (-1.134 sg:hard vs. 0.011 sg:total)
Patton Kizzire (-0.168 sg:hard vs. 0.832 sg:total)
Scott Langley (-0.448 sg:hard vs. 0.513 sg:total)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (0.378 sg:hard vs. 1.147 sg:total)
David Hearn (-0.019 sg:hard vs. 0.737 sg:total)
Gary Woodland (1.107 sg:hard vs. 1.818 sg:total)
Roberto Castro (0.076 sg:hard vs. 0.778 sg:total)
Martin Flores (-0.031 sg:hard vs. 0.609 sg:total)
C.T. Pan (0.572 sg:hard vs. 1.164 sg:total)
Carlos Ortiz (-0.066 sg:hard vs. 0.524 sg:total)
Mackenzie Hughes (0.299 sg:hard vs. 0.844 sg:total)
Danny Lee (0.511 sg:hard vs. 1.038 sg:total)
Fabian Gomez (0.029 sg:hard vs. 0.545 sg:total)
Keegan Bradley (1.145 sg:hard vs. 1.641 sg:total)
Tiger Woods (1.886 sg:hard vs. 2.377 sg:total)
Chris Kirk (0.698 sg:hard vs. 1.169 sg:total)
Ted Potter, Jr. (-0.014 sg:hard vs. 0.416 sg:total)
Wesley Bryan (-0.092 sg:hard vs. 0.336 sg:total)
Hideki Matsuyama (1.99 sg:hard vs. 2.414 sg:total)
Zac Blair (0.237 sg:hard vs. 0.66 sg:total)
Johnson Wagner (0.408 sg:hard vs. 0.828 sg:total)
Bryson DeChambeau (1.43 sg:hard vs. 1.842 sg:total)
Chris Stroud (0.241 sg:hard vs. 0.651 sg:total)

Last Updated: May 10th, 2019


J.B. HOLMES: I knew that it was going to get really windy in the afternoon and that’s what the weather had said. Always thought that would have been a better chance for me; usually when the conditions are crappy I do better. You never know out here. This is a tough golf course and you throw that kind of wind in there. -2019 Riviera

HAROLD VARNER III: I love when the courses are tough. You have to hit a lot of drivers, and I like that a lot. -2018 Ridgewood CC

Q. Do you feel like a more demanding and difficult test plays to the strengths of your game?
Yeah. When it’s hard, it good for me. Major golf is good for me. Whenever we play courses where the pars are coming hard, then I think that plays to my favor a lot of times. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and I think I was way, way up there in greens in regulation today. -2018 U.S. Open

Q. Being a good wind player, you see the forecast, does it give you a little lift before going out?
Yeah, I definitely think, for me, I like the way the golf course sets up in the wind. I’ve played enough golf through the years now to know my game suits kind of windy, tough conditions. Looking at the forecast last night, we knew it was going to be a stiff wind. I didn’t quite think it was going to be up to kind of 25 mile an hour wind. But, yeah, I was pretty comfortable going out there today, knowing it was going to be tricky. -2018 U.S. Open

Q. Do you feel like you play better on more difficult golf courses?
Yeah, I think it favors me more. Why? I like the challenge. I like if everybody else is finding it tough, too. It’s not necessarily more enjoyable, but for whatever reason, I seem to thrive on that. -2018 Quail Hollow

COREY CONNERS: Just kept things simple. I seem to play well on difficult golf courses and hit a lot of fairways, got myself into position to make some birdies and fortunate to hole some nice putts on the front-9 and keep myself out of trouble. That’s a big key on this golf course, I think, you are off the fairway you can make a mess of some holes pretty quickly. That was definitely a key for me. -2018 Innisbrook

Q. Why do you think tough courses suit you well?
Just maybe the added focus and usually nothing real flashy about my game, don’t overpower it but everything is really solid and on the tough courses just getting the ball in the fairway and getting solid iron shots on to the green and spot where you can get a chance for birdie. Definitely I like the challenge and like golf courses that require you put a premium on the fairway and hitting the green. -2018 Innisbrook

Q. You won at Innisbrook earlier this year and Firestone’s also a tough golf course. What is it about you and tough golf courses, do you enjoy the challenge that they kind of present?
I think so. I love par golf, think my game sets up well for it. Scrambling this year’s been pretty good, decent putter, and when I can hit it well I sort of compete on these tougher golf courses. I did it at Innisbrook, I’m doing it really well this week. I’m hitting a ton of fairways. Last two days I’ve been a little scrambly with the irons but the putter’s held in there. Kind of solidify a little bit the irons tomorrow, I might have a chance. -2017 Firestone

Q. What do you do on Thursday and Friday knowing that the wind is going to change directions come Saturday and can make things more challenging?
For me I played enough rounds around here that I probably played every wind they have. So, you know, I look forward to the challenge. My game tends to rise in more difficult conditions so I look forward to that on the weekend. -2017 Valero

Q. You’re known for your grind?it?out style, keep it in front. Did you think the conditions could play in your favor today?
I was not upset to see it blowing. I love it when it plays tough. I’m not the kind of person that’s going to get in a shootout with anybody. If it’s going to be 20?, 22?under par, then I’m playing for about 15th. I love it when it’s tough. -2017 Masters

Q. Some of your biggest successes on very difficult courses: Sawgrass, U.S. Open. Do you enjoy playing tougher courses do you feel like that’s to your benefit?
The mind-set is different. You don’t have to stand on the first tee and think you need to shoot 5- , 6-under par. I was very calm today. I enjoyed the challenge. It’s never an easy golf course here but these are the easiest conditions you can get. But there’s never really a hole where you can relax. Mentally it’s very difficult to play here, and I enjoy that; where you need to think your way around the golf course and not just hit driver as long as possible and try to get it somewhere on the green.

So that’s why I think I’ve done well on tough golf courses in the past. -2017 Honda

EMILIANO GRILLO: If I can play this tournament every single week of the year, I’d be happy to. I like tournaments when you are going to be close with single digits. That shows the golf course plays a bit harder than the other ones. -2017 Honda

Q. What is it about this place that you love so much? Last year in the playoff and now 3?under through two rounds here.
I love these hard courses. I love that feeling of?? I think it really keeps me in the present because the second you get ahead of yourself or your attitude gets bad, you’ll make another bogey or double pretty easy. So really focus on one shot at a time. -2015 PGA National

This article has 7 comments

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  4. Josh, looking for updates on a few of you key stats here including hard to hit fairway, green, driver heavy courses, etc. Thanks, if you ever need any help or want to expand, email me.


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