Here’s Our First Look at The RSM Classic- Course Breakdowns and Stats that Will Make or Break this Week – Grill Room Golf

Some guys hate the PGA’s fall schedule, and I can’t understand why. We’re betting on football, basketball, and golf, all simultaneously. And to make it even better, the golf coverage is next to impossible to find, and it seems like half the courses have no ShotLink history. But, that’s what makes it fun. So, let’s get locked in Sea Island Golf Club and the RSM Classic.

The Course

The RSM Classic, formerly known as the McGladrey Classic, was launched in 2010, and is held at Sea Island Golf Club. Now, Sea Island Golf Club presents a unique challenge for us right from the start. The event is held on 2 different courses, and only 1 of them has ShotLink data. Players will play on the Seaside and Plantation courses Thursday and Friday, then the event will be held at the Seaside Course for the weekend. The good news is that the Seaside course does have historical ShotLink data, so that’s the only course we’re going to be paying attention to this week.

If you’re in the area next month and want to play this track, it will set you back $250.

As for the course itself (remember we are completely ignoring the Plantation Course), it’s a par 70 layout that played just over 6,800 yards during last year’s event, which is nearly 400 yards shorter than the average Tour venue. The course features bermudagrass from tee through green.

Sea Island is a golf resort, and when I hear “golf resort”, I immediately think wide fairways and little trouble to help the resort guests get around the track in under 6 hours. The Seaside Course certainly lives up to this stereotype, as despite its (lack of) length, its fairways average 42 yards wide, which is over 7 yards wider than the average Tour course. This has the effect that you would probably expect. Players hit it shorter off the tee at Seaside (284.8 average driving distance here last year compared to the Tour average of 289.9 yards), and into more fairways (73.6% Driving Accuracy during last year’s event, which was nearly 8 points higher than average) .

With players hitting more fairways, they also hit more greens. Last year, players hit 75.6% of greens in regulation, which was 7.4 points higher than average. With players hitting more fairways and more greens than usual, they also shoot lower scores. The scoring average to par last year averaged out to -1.03, which was 0.6 shots lower than the average Tour course. Over the last 5 years, the average winning score here has been -20, and the average cutline -5.

In terms of hole composition, there are 9 par 4s between 400-450 yards, with the rest of the holes pretty evenly distributed (that’s something to pay attention to). As it relates to holes to keep an eye on, the 14th and 15th holes will be fun this week. The par 4 14th hole is traditionally the hardest hole on the course, played to a stroke average of 4.11. After getting through that test, players then face the 565 yard par 5 15th, which is traditionally the easiest hole on the course played to a stroke average of 4.42 and is birdied or better’d over 55% of the time.

Comp Courses

  • TPC Twin Cities
  • Albany
  • The Concession GC
  • Innisbrook Copperhead
  • Detroit Golf Club

Previous Winners in the Field This Week

  • 2020 & 2014: Robert Streb (-19 & -14)
  • 2019: Tyler Duncan (-19)
  • 2017: Austin Cook (-21)
  • 2016: Mackenzie Hughes (-17)
  • 2015: Kevin Kisner (-22)
  • 2013: Chris Kirk (-14)

The Stats that are Important This Week

Let’s start off by taking a look at how the previous winners fared in the SG categories to see if we can start to discern some trends.

Right off the bat we can see that 3 out of the 5 winners were in the Top-10 in the field in SG: APP. SG: APP also had the highest average ranking of all the SG stats. The top 3 in the field this week over their last 24 rounds in SG: APP are Tom Hoge, Trey Mullinaxand Tony Fianu. Let’s take a deeper look at what players will face in terms of approach shots by distance segment.

The 125-150 yard range and 150-175 yard ranges are jumping out at me as being more important this week, due to the increase in shots that will originate from those distances.

Thinking about this logically, if we’re at a course this week where the winning score averages out to -20 over the last 5 years, players had better be excelling in making birdies and eagles. I’ll definitely be paying attention to Birdies or Better Gained on the Field. Taylor Montgomery, Tony Finau, and Dean Burmester lead the field in that area.

Another area that has my attention this week is putting, in the form of 3 Putt Avoidance. Pros historically 3 putt at Seaside ~10% more often than they do at the average Tour course. Avoiding 3 putts will be a key for players trying to find themselves at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. Harry Higgs, Brian Gayand Chris Kirk are the leaders in the field this week when it comes to avoiding 3 putts.

My Key Stats

  • Par 4 Efficiency: 400-450 Yards
  • SG: APP
  • 3 Putt Avoidance
  • Birdies or Better Gained
  • Proximity Gained 125-150 Yards
  • Proximity Gained 150-175 Yards

Early Players to Watch

  • Tony Finau
  • Russell Knox
  • Jason Day

Early Players to Avoid

  • Cameron Champ
  • Luke List
  • Mackenzie Hughes

Early Sleepers

  • Mark Hubbard
  • Camilo Villegas
  • Zecheng Dou

RSM Classic Videos to Watch

Kevin Kisner walked away from this event in 2015 with the trophy. Here are his winning highlights from that year:

Here are the best shots from the 2020 showing of this event:

How about the best shots from this event’s history:

Leave a Comment