IMO unless you’re literally doing stuff like hitting driver into the middle of a lake it’s far easier to hemorrhage strokes by being too conservative than by being too aggressive. Even in situations where you’ll hit driver into penalty hazards a large percentage of the time it’s often better to still hit driver if clubbing down doesn’t eliminate the hazard. Even when clubbing down is the best play its not much better than hitting driver - the exception being if there is a penalty hazard that completely cuts the hole where your driver will go.
I agree completely with this. There seems to be the ‘grip and rip it’ mentality still around drivers.
I CAN, if i swing out mu shoes, hit it 250 and with good run even once got 298 (curse you shot scope, was sure it was 300) but if I try that I end up in trouble more often…my dispersion goes over 100 yards as opposed to 65 when i exercise restraint) However with control I can hit around 210-220 and be on or close to the Fairway most the time. So that’s how I play. (I am in my early 50’2 and playing off around 20 HI)
It helps I play mostly at a short course but for me, GIR is typically 3 shots so I play that way. Bombing is a tactic with a driver, not the only way to play it.
I recently chose to lay up on a par 4 with a stream about 200 yards running across the fairway. My river carries about 190 so I chose my 3 wood which typically carries about 170. Nailed it 206 yards into the water.
Sometimes you can be damned either way!
Kind of agree.
disagree if the penalty is ob / lost ball
40 yard fairway with OB on both sides is going to be 4 iron or hybrid for me depending on shape of the different landing zones
The retee is just to penal over the long run
This is a pretty rare exception… I generally agree w your point
Agree. If it’s stroke + distance both sides you have to hit whatever club keeps the ball in play often enough. However, if it’s super narrow with lateral hazards on both sides you’re better off just hitting driver and hoping.
Question for you. How long is the hole? What is the score you need? Or is it an I don’t give a crap who cares hole?
Been playing my club almost every day for the last 6 months. It is by far the tightest, most demanding driving course I’ve ever played. It’s a guaranteed big number the first time anyone ever plays it.
All that said, if my goal out there is to shoot the best round that I can, then it’s driver on pretty much every hole. I’m more accurate than most with the driver (and average distance for my age/distance) so that helps, but still I think it’s the right play for pretty much everyone.
It’s really been the site and forum that made me deep dive into the numbers and be confident with this type of strategy. For most of us “regular” golfers out there, the answer is to hit the driver.
One of the most interesting rounds of golf I have ever played was a member tourney called 3 clubs and a putter. Also, one of the best scoring rounds I have ever played. I won the event with a smooth gross of 75. Here’s what’s interesting, I won the gross, but lost the net My clubs at the time were 4w, 7i, 9i. I actually took the time to plot my way around the course. Course length at the time played just short of 6400yds. Try it for 9 holes sometime…your game management skills will be tested. Take it seriously and try that game sometime and your decision making and opinion might change.
Perhaps another way to say this is “The conventional wisdom isn’t always all that wise”.
I play all types of limited club rounds frequently (today I’m going out with a 7i, LW, and putter). It’s fun and good practice, but I still know the potential best scoring round involves a lot of driver.
Let me put it this way, I don’t think I am articulating too well. All of this is going to depend on the course design. I’m going to assume you are a scratch golfer. There are 14 playable holes on a course. Unless you are playing Firestone, I would say this. Use Driver often at your own peril. I guess the courses you guys play are these wide open fields. My home course has 5 90* doglegs, so Big Dog has to sit in his dog house, unless your Dog is only carrying 180-220 yds, then Big Dog away even on the 220yd Par3 we have!. Our course is a 1927, Findlay designed gem…It’s a ball strikers paradise. So, out of the 70 shots I would plan to play as a scratch golfer, 9 could be with the Big Dog. Then I take a look at OB, Penalty areas and FW Bunkers. We have 5 holes where the obvious play is hit a controlled 3W 220 to 230 as the dispersion with my Driver can be a messy 55-70 yds. and my 3W is 40-55yds. Unless I can carry all the trouble everywhere, which I cannot and neither can our club champ who is a +2 USGA (meaning he will normally eat our course up consistently shooting 68 or better)…I look at 5-6 shots where I can hit a Driver period. When you have to play layouts that the architect is requiring you to beat his design, if you want to score…you need to make educated decisions. So, when you play courses, that require you to think, you kind of get used to that mode. Alot of the newer courses we play like Twisted Dune…every hole is a driver except the Par 3’s. It’s like Firestone without the trees…Bombs Away!
I would say this is an unusual design compared to most courses that golfers are going to play. If I was playing a hole where hitting driver would send me through the fairway and into the trees, then I would opt to hit less club. But I still am going to have to “agree to disagree” with you on the driver concept.
I would say the exact opposite. Embrace driver, and learn to hit it well - it will be one of the keys to lowering your handicap.
And to be clear, I have changed my mind on this drastically, not just for my own game, but for players of all levels. I used to look for every excuse not to hit the driver, and it was the wrong strategy. It doesn’t matter if you are a scratch golfer, or a 20 hcp. This isn’t a “bomb and gouge” strategy, or aggressive in nature. It’s just another club in your bag that you need to hit well and not swing out of your shoes with.
That doesn’t mean use a driver on every hole, but the fact is that higher handicaps need more help with distance than scratch golfers or pros. They simply can’t afford to lay back because the loss in distance is costing them strokes because they aren’t as skilled with clubs they use on approach shots.
Right, that’s what I’m trying to say. I just watched Rosie mess up on #1 again and took a big number outta play and take his 5 hitting Driver on #1. I would hit Driver on #1 too, it was just a poor TeeBall by him. Believe me I hit Driver as often as I can but, for instance if it is putting those 2 FW bunkers into play/ with jail on either side of those bunkers and the FW is only 30yds between them AND I cannot carry them, just NO WAY, and jail is running down both sides of the FW but short of those Bunkers the FW is now 50yds wide, The smart play is to know your limitations and give up the extra 20 yds you could gain with a PERFECT Driver at 245 for me compared to 225-235 with an imperfect 3W. So my second shot could be 6i or 7i, instead of 8i or 9i. Even though I am decent out of a FW bunker, I’d rather hit out of the rough or a FW with an iron. I’ll choose another hole to try and make birdie or par, instead of putting bogey or worse into play. Does that make sense Jon?
Yes, I think it makes sense. I guess I was just mostly interpreting what you were saying in your posts is looking for ways not to hit driver, perhaps I read it wrong.
When you say something like “use driver at your own peril” I really don’t view it that way, it puts a negative association with the club (one that I had for a very long time). And if you step up to the tee thinking you are hitting a “dangerous” club that’s not a good mental state to be in.
There is certainly more nuance when to use it, and when not to use it. But as golfers driving distance decreases, it’s going to make more sense for them to hit drivers more often unless there are some serious technical issues that need to be addressed. Of course, I can’t account for every situation.
I agree with this completely. The best way to shoot lower scores, in general, is to be closer to the hole more often. Never voluntarily give up distance off the tee without a specific good reason. And work to hit your driver consistently, and consistently in play, so there are fewer good reasons to select a shorter club.
Right, I love hitting Driver, if I didn’t, I would not be working so hard to get my distance back, AND I’m closer to what I used to be from just 3months ago (220 UGH!/now 245 consistently). I was very fortunate that my teachers, when I decided I wanted to learn this game, concentrated on everything other than a golf swing including learning how to play Gin Rummy!. From the Tee BOX to the green, everything is about decision making. Pitch High/Pitch Low? Flight it/Trap it? Putt or Chip? I was originally taught to use different clubs around the green, sometimes I still do, but I have found that I use my 54 & 60 alot more now, as I’d rather carry and check–than roll it, it just depends on the lie I’m presented. BUT, new technology today, says Wedges when you chip utilizing bounce! Tee Balls – How far to the bunkers/to the hazard? Can you carry it EZ/ can you carry it with wind behind you? If not, play to a number and make sure you know your numbers. Like I said originally, my teachers stressed short game so I was taught from the greens out, not from the tee box in. I didn’t officially take a swing lesson until like my 8th official lesson with Mr. Forrest and Mr. Bishop. It was frustrating, but NOW, I understand what they taught and because of them I’ve carried a single digit and have won my fair share of tourneys because of those lessons. I’ve been playing 42 years now, 37 seriously, I still give lessons on swing plane, but I am still, to this day taking lessons, trying to learn the nuances of this awesome game.
There are definitely weird course designs out there. I play at one
- Two crossing hazards (water) at 260
- Two holes in canyons with dense TX hill country trees/bushes + prairie grass only 40 yards apart (anything outside of 40 yards is a 50/50 lost ball… if you find it, no guarantee you can get out
- One hard dogleg right with OB on the left side (terrible hole layout for me)
So driver is out of my hands on 5 holes…after reviewing stats hitting driver into the sh*t is my number one cause of double bogey
I do generally agree with the point that on a traditional course design, you likely club down from driver maybe once or twice based on the layout. For instance, at Austin Golf Club (coore crenshwaw design) I am hitting driver 14 times
No those are course designs to make you think. It’s like putting a driveable 285 yd Par4 out there with a pond on the left and an 8ft deep bunker on the right with about a 25 yd approach opening. Man does that LOOK tasty…Pull it you’re swimming Push it you could leave it in the bunker, smack into the pond for a rinse…lots to think about! BUT if you need eagle you take the shot because you can, but anything less than perfection there’s a BIG NUMBER waiting for you. I mean at Augusta, on 10 and 13…you’re just dumb if you hit driver (unless ure a short hitter) on those 2 holes, at 10 there’s a chute that actually a 3W is going to get more distance than a driver and the Driver for most pros is going to miss the chute cuz it’s downhill, @ 13…a hard draw 3W is the play unless you have total control of the Big Dog. Any push, you’re blocked out you cannot reach the green in 2 unless you’re like Michelson…anything short Rae’s is waiting to gobble you up. That said…we have a course here that’s wide FW’s just pretty much str8 aways…I do not hesitate and I pull the Dog 14 times cuz it makes sense even to hit and gouge…
hahhaha I love it - I see how that can pose a problem