Cute strategy topic from Callaway social media

From here

Basically, would you rather be able to drive 300 yd down the middle every time?


Make every putt inside 12 feet everytime?

I’d rather have the 12 footers, and I don’t think it’s close.


300 yd down the middle every time

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Yep, strokes gained will tell you the 300 yards is significantly better

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I’d think it would depend on your driving. If you normally top out at 170-180, or if you take 4-8 (!) penalty strokes a round from driving (like some of the commenters on reddit, where I stole this from), driving is likely your play. I’m a big Broadie/Fawcett guy, and usually more distance is always better. Never take the driver away, etc…

But making everything inside 12 feet, when pros are 50/50 at 8 feet, is such a gigantic outlier, that I would think that putting would be better. Not because you’re making that many more birdies, but because the floor of your performance would be raised so much.

You’d basically never make double-bogey or 3-putt again, and almost never make bogey. Just get the ball near the green and hit a 24 foot diameter target. Your scrambling percentage would skyrocket. And I’d think the confidence would trickle down to the rest of your ballstriking.

If I were a member at a place I could do this, I’d really love to experimentally test both props. Take the ball to 300 yds from the tee, including doglegs, drop the ball and hole out as normal, vs. play normally, but everything inside 12 feet is a gimmie.
My suspicion is that if your ballstriking is such that you need the 300 yd drive, it’s not a sure thing that you’ll make even bogey from Position A.

I don’t drive 300, not even close. But I can keep the ball in-bounds, and out of hazards. (Fairway bunkers, OTOH…) 220-250, in the rough, is not going to be a bunch of strokes different for me than 300 in the fairway. Though it will be quite a bit better, no doubt about it.

I think a lot of the issue for the redditors, is that they think they’re a lot better putting from 5-8 feet than they actually are, and a lot of gimmies are taken in friendly play that would go differently if every hole needed to be holed out to advance.


Experienced golfer will take the assured putts every time.
Although the argument has been there for decades.
Some will prefer 100 yard to the green from a rough than the 170 yards in the middle of the fairway.
my game from 170+ has been deteriorating over the years. The closer I’m to the green would be better off for me. mid range from 170-230 is not as assured as it used to be. Putting is the same if not better.

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My putting is decent, but my tee shots need a whole lotta work … which I’ve been doing … but hey in this case I’ll take the quick-fix shortcut! :wink:


Beginners will go for the distance, but experienced golfers will go with guarantees under 12 feet and make money for life.

Love these questions but they bring in so many more questions!

The putting part is simple anything 12 feet and inside you will hole but for the driving are you hitting it 300 down the middle in all conditions i.e. into a 20mph headwind, are you hitting it further downwind or still 300?

Does the power from being able to hit 300 yard drive (I’m assuming total not carry) transfer into the rest of your bag? I.e. say you have a 270 yard par 4 are you now hitting your 3 wood about 270 straight down the middle or is it only the driver with this special power?

At the end of the day it would be a neat experiment and would definitely depend on the level of golfer who has these in their arsenal.

I think due to the amount of lost balls off tee I’ll save my wallet a little bit of hurt and take the 300 yards.

Anyone who thinks great driving beats assured putting must be a very high HCPer indeed.

Weirdly, I think it really depends on the skill of the golfer. Pros? I think the putting is a no-brainer pick. Scratches? Probably the same.

Mid-caps? Ehhhh, not so fast. A guy at reddit actually tried it out, and for him, (a 12-ish IIRC), the driving was superior. Surprised me. LOL sample size, but still.

I honestly don’t know how it would shake out for most golfers. I think some inflection points would be, “How many 300 yd-ish Par 4s do you have?” And, how big/tricky are your greens? How often do you 3-putt, and so on.

So much analysis comes from the POV of a Tour or Tour-ish player, and that just ain’t us.

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Putts no question, not even second thought. We have a 220yd Par 3 on the home course. Very narrow opening, Trapped on both sides, Red Hazard all the way down the left. I can’t tell you how many times we tee off and, inevitably someone’s in trouble off the tee. For me I hit an 18* Hybrid, My partners are either Driver or 3W. I mean the hole will make you mutter to yourself. As an experiment, the last 3 weekends, we all played 2 balls, first one counts, hit like you normally would. The second one is just a different approach, I did this prove to my playing partners, it’s not how, but how many. The second tee-ball was for me to hit PW-PW. For them they hit 8i-9i. That approach gave way to 2 pars BUT NO ONE made more than 4 on their second balls. On the first tee-balls there were a 3 pars and 4 bogeys and 5 “others”. I don’t need to bash 300yd drives to break 80, I just don’t. I can break the hole into smaller increments and get there. I hate to disagree with Mark Broadie here, but the immortal Bobby Locke coined the phrase Drive for Show, but Putt for Dough! To me that holds true today. Imagine what the PGA scores would be if anything under 12ft was automatic. They all hit the ball 300yds today. It’s as simple as that. There were only 2 choices here. IMO, the single most important in golf is GIR. If one can get their GIR up to 13-14 or more…now you are talking scoring. After GIR, Putts is second.

Under the scenario posted by the author though… All putts gimme at 24ft diameters… I’ll take that. I shot 77 Saturday. I had 2 3putts from 40ft … separate from those I had 8 putts from around 10ft and only made 1 for Birdie, 6 were for par. So do the math… Gimmies from 12ft out…69! 300 yd drives do not put the rock in the jar!

Best, more logical answer; you had provided.

It really depending on the individual’s situation. Pros will probably be half and half on this. The argument will be, if they can land the approach shots closer to the cup, putting will take care of itself.

The question itself was flawed.

First, there is no 100% make it every time 300 yards down the middle nor would there be in the cup from 12’ every time.
Second, many professional had voiced before that they rather have a closer range to the green with less than ideal lie, rather than farther away with a perfect lie. Distance is important to them and has always been with this game, from day one!
I’m not a scratch or plus but I’m also not a hack. I’d rather have it closer to the green and let the putting takes care of itself.
This is, of course, with a lengthy golf course, not a -6,000 yards muni.

I happen to have had the good fortune to have played many rounds of golf with some of the best professional golfers in the world in my time. I will tell you with 100% certainty. I’ve posed the question in many different ways. Hands down, given the parameter of the OPs question, they would take the choice of 12 ft automatics. Not even a hesitation. Ask Danny Willet that question 2 weeks ago. Going back to when I was at the height of my abilities, ask Doug Sanders, ask Scott Hoch and those were under 4 ft. I will make u a bet right now, if you are a gambling man. I will put you on every green in regulation 25 ft from every hole. A 5 hdcp player won’t break par, but I would place the ball. I could take you to Augusta National and you won’t break 80 if I place the ball, hell you might not break 90. And that’s giving you 18 GIR 25 ft from the jar! In my day, I was hitting persimmons and the courses were 6800-7000 yds. For anyone out there, try the experiment just for kicks. Get in a cart on every hole you have to drive (which is usually 14 holes) place the ball in center of the fw 300 yds out and play in from there. See what you score. Then play another round and give yourself every putt 12 ft on in. I don’t care if it’s a 6400 yd white tee muni. Your score, if you are playing hole everything out, 12 ft gimme will lower your score 100% of the time or will win a hole in match-play 99.8% of the time. I hate to bring you back to planet earth here Low hdcp players putt better than high hdcp golfers and would lower their caps significantly with 12 ft gimmes. High hdcp players can’t putt at all— period. If they had to putt everything out you might find they might average 45 putts a round maximum. I know, I used to teach. A high hdcp couldn’t break par on a putt putt course with windmills & clowns mouths because they are looking at the attractions not holing the putt. They are just to easily distracted. That’s just the reality of the game

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The question: Special power with your putter or special power with your driver. I’ll take putting everytime. It’s a 24ft diameter (that’s 8yds) around the center of the hole. So the 12ft is basically doubled. So you would play your regular game from 300yds out from the teeing ground. Which means you will still be putting, chipping, pitching and hitting second and third shots with your normal game, BUT hole every putt out…no gimmies! Do you know how poor of a putter you have to be not to putt a ball within a 24ft in diameter circle. No one says you have to hit a driver off a tee… all you gotta do is get it on the green… try the experiment yourself and post your results. It’s a game of HOW MANY, NOT HOW! I don’t care what DECADE says, or Broadie says. Go ahead and ask them, you gotta have all the game! What’s the sport say? If you shoot EVEN PAR… get on every green in regulation on a par 70 course 2 Par 5s, 4 Par 3s and 12 Par 4s. Chalk says 14 tee shots with a Driver, That’s it! Chalk gives you 36 putts. The algorithm says 52% of the game is putting, 20% is your Driver if you hit that on every hole you can from 300yds. My group tried the experiment…Gimmie putts into a 24ft diameter circle is by far going to improve your scoring and it’s not even close! I posted earlier, 2 weeks ago… Ask Danny Willet if he would have taken anything from 12ft in as a gimmie. He 3 putted from 3’7" to blow a tournament and a few hundred thousand dollars! One more perspective… the best putters in the world… the very best; the make percentage from 10ft is 40%, which means for us mere mortals, it’s significantly lower than that. That’s how important putting is. In which rule book does it say you have to hit Driver wildly off the tee? As you become a better player through hard work and practice you will find your strengths. Play to your strengths. In 1994, I played 3 club and a putter event. I shot 72 on a par 71 course 6500 yd layout using a 5 wood, a 7 iron and a PW. It’s always been and forever will be a game of How many, NOT How! Driver is important, don’t get me wrong here, it’s way easier to plop a ball onto the surface with a niblick than a mashie, but you still have execute both with equal control and consistency. Leave your lofted Wedge short into a bunker, it didn’t help your score and depending, you are most likely looking at a “fried egg” sandwich! So as important as bombing it is, you still need the rest of the game and putting is still 52%…didn’t change that parameter at all!

Respectably, I disagree.
In many of the publications, interview of top professional golfers stated they will take a 100 yard to the green from the rough than 170 to the green in the fairway. Of course these articles were from 2-3 decades ago.
Another thing is, there is no “automatic” putt from 12’. Just like no automatic drive 300 yards in the fairway. So all of these debate will be fantasy trips.
Percentage wise, landing tee shot 300 yards in the fair way is slightly higher than the 12’ putt on any greens. Again, the course set up will be a pre-qualifier. You’re talking about some of the fastest greens with tournament set up, then you should also compare it to the tournament set up for fairways.
As J.J. replied. It really depending on the golfer’s ability and the golf course they will be playing. No definitive answer as there is no guarantee of the 12’ putt or 300 yard drive.
As for the argument from the professional’s perspective? It depends on who you ask. Long ago, Vijay Sign was asked the similar question, he was one of the longer driver on Tour during his time, even when he faced the younger Tiger Woods in his 40’s. His preference was a longer drive under the “normal” condition .
We must realize, all the top ranked golfers are great or good with their putters ( comparatively speaking, no automatic gimme putts here ). Otherwise they could not have be close to the top of ranking or had won any major with poor putting skills.
Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Greg Norman ( our favorite boy), and countless faces we are familiar with from professional tournaments. They all have one thing in common, they are/were one of the longest driver during their time. Some will have a matching short game ( from pitching to chipping, to putting ) with some luck of the green, they’ll be climbing to the top. Those magical short game close up the media replayed time after time could NOT be easily duplicated even with the same person from the same spot under the same situation.
So, longer drive is easier to duplicate for those who already possesses the ability to get the tee shot out that far, than success of sinking a mid-ranged putt. For the amateurs, it’ll give them a tremendous ability to score lower than they’ll ever have with longer drives.
I know a tour van smith who used drive his trailer off season to a local resort and got permission to park near a par 5 tee ( in exchange for discounter work for the members ). A long drive guy will offer the ladies to hit their tee shots for them. All the members enjoyed his ability to get in out there so close to the green.
Anyways, J.J. had hit it on the point for this fantasy discussion.

We can say if we put a scratch golfer on every green from 25 feet away then they can’t break 80. There are some scratch golfers possess nice putting ability

I’ll pose the question to you one more time. I learned this little gambling game from a Touring Pro who retired because of personal reasons. He played a round of golf with a gentleman at the club who was a 4 hdcp. This was in 1983. Sammy shot a bad round for him…75 The course we played was Medford Village CC. I was the GM of the facility. The course from the tips is almost 7200yds. Sammy played to a +1 on the course. The 4 shot a solid round of 76. On the 19th hole the 4 hdcp had a bit too much to drink and said Sam if you could putt like me, you’d still be on Tour. This went on for about 20 minutes. That’s when Sam is getting frustrated and pissed…says to me watch this. I’ll play you scratch from the tips for a grand!, all you gotta do is putt Mr. I’m a good putter, you hit every GIR 25 ft from the hole…caveat is I get to place the ball. Now, I’m gonna tell you the 4 capper was a pretty good putter… you gotta be to carry a -4. We all went out the following weekend and watched the game! Sam shot 67, the 4 hdcp, all he had to do was putt, shot 79! he putted 2 balls off the greens. Sam says, if I putted like you I wouldn’t have gotten out of Q School… THAT’s how important putting is PERIOD. The make % of the best players in the world is only 40% from 10ft…every ft after that is incrementally worse. So parse your words if you think there are single digit HCPers that have nice putting ability… not as good as you think. I played with Greg Norman (sorry to say now). He said the same thing to us… work on your short game and putting if you want to score. Norman shot 68 that day and we were amazed, but the winner of the day was the folks that played with Jeff Sluman… I played a few rounds with Slu in college at Oak Hill… he is an incredible player especially when you see he suffers from short persons disease ( he said to me once, yea but being short, I don’t hit low hanging branches on my backswing when I get in trouble) …LOL, anyways… Slu’s pro-am group won the day as he shot a 61 with 23 putts. He was jarring everything! Drives don’t get the ball in the cup …sorry, they just increase your chances to get the ball into a position to score well, that’s all. that’s why they tell you to play from the appropriate tee boxes. I max out at 6400 yds now, I can’t play courses longer than that and score well. You should try the experiment yourself and see how you do. Sure it’s a fantasy thought…magical powers. But it will show you 2 things… putting is THE hardest part of the game and you still need to putt, chip, pitch and hit your second and third shots consistently to stay out of trouble and score. You are not going to need that 300yd drive on a 186 yd par three with water short and left and a 6 ft deep greenside bunker right of the target! BTW, there are very, very few amateur golfers that can pipe a ball like the pros 300yds… they all hit 300yds today…and they ain’t burning it up are they? Something for all to Digest

Sure, if you pre-conditioned the situation by placing every 25’ putt from the most difficult spot on difficult putting surface.
That will not be a fair bet and I would never take that bait.

All the pro need to do is to get a few one putt by placing the golf ball closer to the hole with his approach, to have an advantage from beating the law of average. Odds is better than 70/30.

Never, say anything negative to someone who had been through it all. Cause you may never know the whole story. i guess he’d learned not to take a bet like that after drinking a few more than he could handle.

The point is a great putter as the amateur said he was great. Not so great huh? That’s the point of the exercise

I will share a story with you about gambling and close with my personal thoughts on what we should pay attention as lower/mid/high hdcp amateurs after playing this game seriously for 38 years. I played a round of golf with a very well to do man. God rest his soul. This was in 1987. It was me and a friend who I worked for PT on a Driving range against another member of our CC and his friend who never played our course. I had a solid round, I shot like a 72 and carried us to a nice win. We got into our opponents pockets to the tune of about $600. Now a good portion of those winnings went as a contribution to the BAR at the end of the round. (BTW, there were gentlemen that were even heavier gamblers than us too, I used to think they were crazy, like $1000 a round and this was in the 80’s) Anyhows, the guest gets a little tipsy and starts breaking my stones, that I wouldn’t be able to break 100 on his home course playing that for the first time, blah, blah. Well his home course was up the road PINE VALLEY. Well, hell’s bells, I’ll take him up on that, The Bet $500. It starts going back and forth as the match was set up. It started to get hairy because at that time, I was playing from our tips at 6257 as -3.2. The bet began to grow as alot of people wanted in on the action. It grew to over $5000 (the guy was rich and could cover it) The problem, I’ve never played the course and knew nothing. One of my golf teachers assistants caddied there though and knew my game… the bet would move forward if Dickie could caddy for me. Dickie had a piece of The Bet. The problem was not my game tee to green, The Bet was modified further that I couldn’t break 90. The problem was the greens. I never had played greens like those. So I pulled up and Dickie met me outside the clubhouse… first thing he does, where’s your car son? gimmie your keys, grabs the Driver out of the back and put it in the trunk and said you don’t need that today. He then put the 2i in my bag. We are going to play bogie golf today every par 4 hole is a layup today son, he says. I teed off 9 holes with my 5w which kept my life out of trouble. He would hand me a wedge and say lay-up and we’re gonna be pitching the ball underneath every pin position. We’ll take all big numbers out of play…and big numbers lurk everywhere at PVCC, you can make an 8 just like that. The 7th hole Hells Half Acre is a sample of what lurks. You DO NOT want any part of that. So you purposely take it out of play. Long story short I 4 putted the first hole for Double Bogey. Settled down and recouped, nerves and all to shoot a respectable 84. Broke 90 no problem and no other Dbls on the card with 1 Dbl, 1 Birdie, 13 Bogies and 3 Pars. Lesson #1 a player is 3 hdcp for a reason, they hit it fairly str8, add that to playing smart golf and managing your game… don’t make bad bets. I got my Half Yard and ol Charlie… well he wasn’t happy about covering the other $4500… that didn’t hurt him (he was a multi millionaire) as much as taking a knife to his personal pride. The gentlemen I played with would get into my pockets until you learned to improve your game management and short game skills. Took me over a year, but I became a much stronger player especially playing folks that didn’t know my game. Long Drives, although a very nice weapon to own, do not translate into good scores for amateurs. Stats that mean something to amateurs should be this. #1 How many balls off the tee did I keep in play that allowed me to play a shot to the Green? #2 How many GIR did I have? #3 How many 3 putts did I have? #4 How many holes did I get get up and down in 3 or less. #5 How far am I hitting my tee ball? Those are the TOP 5 amateurs need to work on. #3 is a putting statistic, but not overall putting, #5 is driving distance, not #1…learn to keep it in play first, then the distance will really help to reduce your scores. Notice I didn’t put putting over distance there. The longer and STRAITER you hit it does… but you gotta keep it out of OB, Hazards and Jail first! Our Data matrix is different than high end pros, The first thing they look at is SG Approach, The SG off the tee (length baby), SG Scrambling, then SG Putting. They are in a different world today than us, when we learn to accept that, we will be able to dig a little more out of the dirt!

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Thanks for sharing your personal experience, beats stories we heard.
I’ll tell a few local legends when I have more time, later.