What it’s like playing the PGA Championship when you only drive the ball 240 yards

jeff hart swings

Jeff Hart is a 60-year-old PGA Professional who doubles as the oldest player in the field this week — qualifying via a points system that was put into place when the PGA’s annual professional championship was canceled. For recreational golfers watching from home, he probably provides the best look we’re ever going to get at someone like the rest of us playing a difficult, major championship course.

Granted, Hart is better at golf that most of us can ever dream of, but his physical makeup is not that of a stereotypical professional athlete. He stands 5’9″ and weighs in at just 149 pounds. His driving distance on the round measured just 240 yards overall (253 yards on his two longest measured drives), yet still managed to play his first five holes in one-under. He shot a seven-over 77 in all, a round he was proud with.

“I didn’t play too bad to shoot 77,” he said. “So that should tell you something.”

After his round, I asked him to describe, for golfers like the rests of us, what’s it like playing TPC Harding Park in PGA Championship conditions.

“It’s like pitching in the in the major leagues with a 60-mile-an-hour fastball; they’re teeing off on you, basically,” he said.

246 yard drive sets up a 247 yard approach on the par-4 12th.

PGA.com

When he dug into the details, he describes a course that sounds truly impossible for the rest of us, which makes it all the more amazing watching pros cruise through with so many birdies.

“Seven or eight par-4s that I can’t reach in two, so par effectively for me is about 78 or 79 or 80 if I were realistic about it,” Hart said. “I’m trying to roll the ball up. I think I hit five or six drivers off the fairway just trying to roll them up on these long par-4s. I played with Brian Harmon and C.T. Pan, and they’re 50 yards longer than I am, and they’re probably short for a Tour player, and they’re coming in with mid-irons.

“It’s just a whole different ballgame.”

One Hart played damn well.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is an English-American who oversees the brand’s service journalism content across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms. An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. Following graduation, he spent two years as a digital editor at Golf Digest before spending three years as a Senior Editor at USA Today.