Laying Up off the Tee

Is there anything worse than trying to take less than driver off the tee and still ending up in the rough or worse?

Any advice for hitting a hybrid off the tee? Something a little more reliable for those days with driver trouble is probably one of the biggest holes in my game (usually a solid driver, but we all have those days)

My advice would be don’t layup.

If you can’t keep a layup in play, there’s no point in doing it. There’s a couple really narrow holes I play where I just hit driver because I’ll still put it in the hazard with any reasonable club. Now if it’s OB on both sides you pretty much just have to hit whatever will stay in play even if it’s a half swing pitching wedge, but I’ve never seen a hole like that.

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All the data really does say if rough is the only concern, just hit the driver. Hitting less is really only for shots where your driver dispersion would bring hazards/OB into play a high percentage of the time.

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I’ll have an article this week that will help answer that question


I’ve heard the DECADE system has a lot to say about the benefits of ripping driver as often as you can (and that Bryson used to be a DECADE player in college…wonder where his ‘new’ strategy came from… :thinking:).
Looking forward to the article!

Don’t lay up! The only time you should ever take less than driver is when driver brings a penalty hazard into play. Scott Fawcett has done a lot of work on this.

I’ve said this elsewhere, but I have a 3/4 driver swing in the bag that I practice and am confident with… It still requires a good turn and driving the ball, it just tends to go straight.

If I’m having an off driving day, I’ll switch to that for a few holes and then try a “full” swing when I either need the distance or have an open hole.


The 7th hole at my course has a 245m par 4 dogleg left with OB down the left side and a lake on the right. No wind/Tail wind I hit Pw in to the wind I hit 8i. That leaves me a 3/4 pw or sw to the green.
Par 4 9th a dog leg right with the same lake now on the right. I can only hit draws/hooks so tail wind/no wind I only hit 6i. Leaves me 5-6i to a raised green
Par 4 12th 90deg dogleg right with OB down the right. with the wind a 6i then another 6i to the green.
Also 13th par 3 150m 2 bunkers left and one right and past the bunkers on the left it slopes left towards the fence. Hit a 8 or 9i to leave myself a chip to a treacherous sloping back to front. Course management 101

Sounds like a really interesting course that forces those shots on you! I don’t think I’ve ever pulled a PW from the bag off the tee on a par 4 during a real round (I did play an entire round with just a PW once).

Visit You can go out of bounds on 15 different holes plus 3 holes have lakes. Built on top of a hill running along the ridges with houses in the gullies and the 9th green the furthest green from the clubhouse. Short at 5565m but reasonably tight and very up and down. Barely a straight putt across the course with some devilish side hill putts on sloped greens.

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Pretty sure I’d put up a very large number at that course :wink: . Thanks for sharing!

I joined and played on the same day after only playing once in the previous 20 years. Shot 151 of the stick. Par 70 That was Dec 17. Feb this year shot an 80. 9p 8b 1d with only 30 putts. Plus missed two 2ft putts. I play off 18 or 19 and average 92-93 strokes a round. Even with all the OB you have to hit a pretty big hook to reach it on some of the holes. All the OB on the right is fairly the tee

I read recently that, in general, most players only sacrifice a few percentage points in fairways hit when they use a 3-wood or hybrid, as compared to driver. So its not uncommon to miss a fairway with a hybrid, I know I definitely miss a few. My advice, make sure you have a specific plan for the shot you’re trying to hit, just thinking about “somewhere in the fairway” doesn’t work for me.

This thread has me thinking about a hole on my home course… It’s 350 yards, fairway narrows slighty and goes uphill after 250 yards and there is a hazard on the right… I’ve usually just hit a hybrid towards the 150 (I hit it about 230) and then have a 120-130 yard shot up the hill… the green is a monster… I recently two putted… first putt too hard, down the false front, chip back onto the “right” tier and made the 2nd putt…

I could hit driver 265 into the hill and have a wedge into the green… but would have an aggressive uphill lie and it brings some more risk from hazards into play.

Maybe something to toy with whenever I return to golf…

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I’d have to see a better picture of the hole, but if hitting driver brings that hazard (do I say penalty area now???) into play, then it might not be worth taking on the additional risk to be closer to the hole. Tee shots are as much about avoiding big trouble as they are about advancing the ball as far as possible. Striking the balance is the key!

If you draw a line from the right edge of the bunker straight down, that’s marked hazard… its basically all side hill, so I’m not sure if a small miss would bounce back into play.

This might also need to be re evaluated if I manage to achieve hulk status next year and can hit the ball farther…

Left side over those trees is fine to play out of…

Great idea. Haven’t tried less than a full swing with the driver, but par 3s from the forward tees are definitely too short for a full driver swing!

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If you don’t trust the club, OP, why is it in your bag? Unless you’re telling me, “Jayjay, the landing area really narrows down in the projected landing area of my 80% typical driver shot. I’ll put it behind a tree, get it wet, or find some other way that I can’t get it on the green with my second (third if P5) shot. But if I use 3W/5W/driving iron, I can get on the green with my approach.”

Laying up then, I’d say is fine. But if it’s a case of, I just don’t trust the SOB. Then it shouldn’t be there. I’ve banished plenty of clubs because I don’t trust them when my throat tightens. Even if they’re useful otherwise.

Consequently, those still there, I trust. I swing freely, and at my target. I mean, they still f’#* me on occasion, because this is golf, but I trust them. Might have to put in a lot of work (and a few fittings) to get to that point, but it’s gettable.

Just look at our host’s articles on how he learned to really lean on his driver to improve his game. I’ve found them quite inspirational.

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I kinda get tired of listening about DECADE says don’t layup. That’s not what it says. It says do the math and play as close as you can to the hole without hitting into major trouble. When driver isn’t an option, or the Big Dog doesn’t wanna stay on the planet. Hit something that will carry or keep you short of the trouble, and play the longer club in. I’d rather hit an 8 or 9 in from 150 fairway or rough, than be chipping out of the woods from 110 or go through 2 sleeves, which is what I did all last week. So instead of probably shooting a smooth 75, I hit driver every chance I got, and shot 88. I hit 1 FW, I had 4 OB, 6 chip outs and 3 in the hazards. But I enjoyed great weather, spent 6 hours with a friend who shot lites out that I could root for and got out of doing yardwork. DECADE doesn’t work at all when you can’t keep it on the planet with a 2way miss going all day long, actually nothing does except we’ll be back at it next week, I did hit all the par 3s in reg and played them -2, so it wasn’t all crappy…lol.

This is correct. Play aggressively at a conservative target.

I think the big difference is hitting driver into the rough 50 yards past hitting hybrid into the fairway us encouraged… don’t play driver if it’s going to lead to penalty strokes or punch outs.