TPC Harding Park head professional Andy Stoterau sees them coming a mile away – unsuspecting golfers who forgot to bring a pullover or sweater. Many players just assume that since the site of this year’s PGA Championship is in California, it’s all sunshine and gentle warm breezes.
But with the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Bay to the east … well, we all know what Mark Twain said about the coldest winter he ever spent being summer in San Francisco.
“We sell more outerwear than any other course in the TPC network,” Stoterau says. “Golfers underestimate the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees. From June through September you are lucky to find the sun. Right now, it’s 55 degrees with a thick marine layer. This has a huge impact on how the course plays.”
Not only do visiting golfers underestimate the temperature, they don’t factor in humidity (lots of it), altitude (or lack thereof), course conditions (major championship setup) and other elements that influence shot distance and club selection.
Fortunately for Arccos players, A.I.-powered technology and on-course data combine to provide the ultimate game plan for playing TPC Harding Park … and watching the PGA Championship, to boot.
Before You Go – Arccos Caddie Preview
Stoterau encourages Arccos players who have logged at least five 18-hole rounds to use Arccos Preview Caddie before playing TPC Harding Park: one time, a few days out to set their strategy and again the day of play, adjusting for weather conditions and course setup.
And if you plan to play the course in the morning, then preview it in the morning, and vice versa for the afternoon.
“In the morning it’s one course, and in the afternoon it’s another,” he says. “The change is dramatic, and [Arccos Caddie] Preview is so attuned to the difference. Weather plays a huge role and you have to know how far you hit your clubs here.”
Golfers can leverage Arccos Caddie Preview to inform pre-round preparation. For example, it might recommend teeing off with a fairway wood on TPC Harding Park’s 607-yard, par-5 fourth hole for a higher probability of hitting the fairway (given that it will be a three-shot hole).
Knowing that, the Arccos player can head to the range to groove those clubs and feel more confident on play-day.
To use Arccos Caddie Preview, simply go to the “Start Round” screen, search for TPC Harding Park and download it, and tap the “Preview Caddie” button on the bottom left.
As You Play – Arccos Caddie Rangefinder
Arccos Caddie Rangefinder is the industry’s first A.I.-powered range finder. Seamlessly integrated with the app, it provides distances to any point on more than 40,000 courses around the world. Through real-time adjustments for slope, wind (including gusts), temperature, humidity, and altitude, it calculates the “Arccos Caddie Number” to deliver the most precise yardage in the game.
“The Arccos Caddie Rangefinder is critical for average golfers to score here,” Stoterau says. “It can be 50 and foggy one minute and 65 and sunny the next. The wind can gust 20 miles-per-hour off Lake Merced or it can be dead calm. That data, coupled with club recommendations from Arccos Caddie, is a powerful combination.”
For example, the par-5 10th hole plays 22-feet uphill from tee to green, yet nearly always features a strong tailwind (upon this writing, Arccos Caddie Preview showed 12 miles-per-hour). Arccos Caddie Rangefinder recommends an additional club on the second and third shots.
However, on the par-3 third hole, a 17-foot climb against either a head or cross wind can yield a two-club difference off the tee. Holes 14 through 18, which play along Lake Merced, is as mercurial a finishing stretch as you’ll find in the Bay Area.
“That’s a microclimate unto itself because of the lake, and the Pacific [Ocean] is just off to the player’s left,” Stoterau says.
While You Watch – Arccos Data Reveals Disparity
Another entertaining – and insightful – use for Arccos Preview Caddie is comparing how you’d play a PGA TOUR venue to how the PGA TOUR players attack that same course. With the PGA Championship contested in prime time, this is enjoyably done from the comfort of home, post-round or after work.
As for Arccos players, they’ve logged more than 1,500-yards at TPC Harding Park over the past two years from various tees and acquitted themselves well. Their average handicap is 12 and average score is 89. The toughest hole for them? Not surprisingly, the No. 1 handicap hole, the 607-yard par-4 fourth.
With the rough ripening since early spring, narrow fairways, 7,251-yard tournament tees and par reduced from 72 to 70, TOUR players will tackle an entirely different golf course than the Arccos players who have come before them.
Case in point, Stoterau doesn’t think No. 4 will be the hardest hole for the pros. One of the two par 5s converted to long par 4s – No. 9 (515 yards) and No. 12 (494) – are obvious candidates. But he also has a dark horse pick: the par-3 eighth.
“It will play 235 to 250 range, into the wind and the green is tight,” he says. “The surrounds are just nasty. Normally it is the No. 7 handicap hole and plays to a scoring average of 3.3. I expect it to be even higher.”