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Kind of where I find myself right now....zero confidence in driver.  Strongly considering benching it for the club championship next weekend and playing 3W or less off the tee.

 That’s exactly where I was for a few months. My 3 wood goes 265yds off the tee, so, for the most part, I’m really not giving up many (or any) yards to my competitors when driver decides to take a vacation. It’s a 2007 TaylorMade Burner TP that I’ve had forever and cannot find anything that is better.

 

A custom fit driver did help me a lot though. My bigger point being that many of us cannot spend the time to work it out when it all goes south (due to life commitments, family, work, money, etc.).

 

Real life happens and we have to have a game plan to account for it.

 

Now when I have the driver going (like I do now) watch out! 58* wedge shots 90% of the time on par 4s! It’s pretty fun. Lol

 

 

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... I am curious as to how many struggling with their drivers are playing at 44.5" or shorter? Especially those playing their drivers over 45".  

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Driver:   Cobra Speedzone Xtreme 9* ... Tensei Pro Orange 60r
Fw wood: Cobra Speedzone 14.5* ... Atmos TS Blue 75s
Utility:   TaylorMade RBZ Tour Hy ... Matrix Altus 85 hy
Irons:    4-Gw Titleist T100-S ... Kuro Kage 105 Tini s-flex
              4-pw TaylorMade P760 ... Recoil Prototype 95 r-flex
Wedges:  SM6 52* F Grind /SM7D & SM8M 58* ... Recoil 110s
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1 hour ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

 

play to distances off the tee. Figure out how far from the green you want to be and pick club to get to that number

I want to be as close as I can get, without taking on too much risk.  I'd rather be 70 yards instead of 100, I'd rather be 50 yards than 70, I'd rather be 30 yards than 50.  I never lay back without a specific reason, a tightening of the fairway, a dogleg, a penalty area, a severe slope, but otherwise I'm trying to get as close as possible.

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10 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I want to be as close as I can get, without taking on too much risk.  I'd rather be 70 yards instead of 100, I'd rather be 50 yards than 70, I'd rather be 30 yards than 50.  I never lay back without a specific reason, a tightening of the fairway, a dogleg, a penalty area, a severe slope, but otherwise I'm trying to get as close as possible.

 

... Before my back surgeries, I use to hit the range quite a bit and always finished with at least twenty five 100yd sw shots. This was my lay up distance and I could hit that shot in my sleep. But the interesting thing I found out after reading Brody's book was I rarely had 100 yds in the same conditions I experienced at the driving range. Different temps, different wind speeds/directions and different lies both in types of grass as well as ball position above-below-up/down hill. So I bought into get it as close as possible and my scoring most definitely improved on par 5's. Granted wedge play is a strength of mine, so any distance is fine by me but as you stated Dave, the closer the better. I often now have short pitches or chips on par 5's and I am most definitely shooting a lower number than when I layed up to 100 yds. I no longer practice on the range as my back is good for only so many strokes and I prefer to use them on the course, and without practice sessions closer is always better for me. 

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Driver:   Cobra Speedzone Xtreme 9* ... Tensei Pro Orange 60r
Fw wood: Cobra Speedzone 14.5* ... Atmos TS Blue 75s
Utility:   TaylorMade RBZ Tour Hy ... Matrix Altus 85 hy
Irons:    4-Gw Titleist T100-S ... Kuro Kage 105 Tini s-flex
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I don’t think anyone is advocating not hitting the ball as far a possible on each shot. The decision on what club to hit is based on your misses with a particular club and what trouble lies within that spread. A wedge should have a narrower dispersion than an 8 iron so getting to wedge/most lofted club distance is always desirable. That said if the possible dispersion brings in a lot
of trouble you shift where you aim or play a different club. This would be why you might switch away from driver to 3 wood or even an iron.

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I normally don't like playing anything above 6500. There does seem to be stigma with having a par of greater than 71 so anything above 6500 means they have 4 or 5 long par 4s i.e. 420 yds plus. As an average length hitter Driver 230 carry 3h 205, these holes are on my limit. With prevailing wind or up hill I struggle to get there in 2. But my testosterone usually tells me that its a par 4 surely you can make the green in 2, out comes the 3w and 4 strokes later (or worse) I'm home. I play in a national competition where you get to select 4 rounds from 10 courses to play during the season with the season end being a final at a marque course (Turnberry, Trump International, Castle Stuart). My initial selection criteria is below 6500.

As other people have pointed out the course lay out does come into play I recent played Rowallan Castle which is a Colin Montgomerie design course which off the medal tees is 6700. I didn't have a good day the length and the fact that it seemed every alternative hole had a bunker that was 230 yds carry 

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Hit the 3W if that's the case. The idea is to hit the longest club you can on a given hole that's not going to cost you strokes. When you're toe-hooking your driver, it's costing you strokes, so play the 3W off the tee so long as its also not going to cost you strokes.



But what do you do when driver just goes south for a spell?

I went through a period of time where I had zero confidence with driver. I was hitting it all off the toe and was actually losing dramatic distance. Hitting 3 or 5 wood was actually longer than toe hook or push block OB driver.


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Hit the 3W if that's the case. The idea is to hit the longest club you can on a given hole that's not going to cost you strokes. When you're toe-hooking your driver, it's costing you strokes, so play the 3W off the tee so long as its also not going to cost you strokes.


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Good explanation.


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Irons:  :srixon-small: Z765 4-PW (1 degree flat) with KBS $-130 shafts

Wedges:  Vokey SM7 50/12/F, 54/10/S and 58/12/D

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This is such an interesting discussion for me because when MGS asked either late last year or early this year (I don't remember which) what we would like to see tested, I wanted to see how much difference distance makes in handicap. I wanted to see if there was any quantifiable differences vs anecdotal. I can imagine the challenges this kind of test would create but the results would be fascinating. Before my back surgeries, I always played the back of the course - I never considered moving up. Since then however, moving up a tee has made the game much more enjoyable. I don't know how long I will be able to play due to my back but I want to enjoy it while I can and I will continue to move up as long as age or my physical limitations require me. Great discussion.

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1 hour ago, FrogginBullfish said:

Hit the 3W if that's the case. The idea is to hit the longest club you can on a given hole that's not going to cost you strokes. When you're toe-hooking your driver, it's costing you strokes, so play the 3W off the tee so long as its also not going to cost you strokes.

 

I absolutely agree, and I hope I made myself clear.  I try to get as close as possible without taking on excess risk.  For most people, a driver poses more risk than a shorter club, if only because the same angular dispersion results in more balls in the rough with the driver.  The question to be answered is HOW much more risky is the driver.  A slight additional risk is usually more than offset by reduced distance on the following shot..   But if the driver poses a lot more risk, if it is a whole lot more erratic than the shorter clubs, then it makes sense to decrease the risk on the first shot, and accept slightly increased difficulty for the second shot resulting from the loss of distance.

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2 hours ago, cnosil said:

I don’t think anyone is advocating not hitting the ball as far a possible on each shot. The decision on what club to hit is based on your misses with a particular club and what trouble lies within that spread. A wedge should have a narrower dispersion than an 8 iron so getting to wedge/most lofted club distance is always desirable. That said if the possible dispersion brings in a lot
of trouble you shift where you aim or play a different club. This would be why you might switch away from driver to 3 wood or even an iron.

Exactly right. The reason I hit less than driver on those holes due to the design of the course. Let me give you an example on the first 3 driving holes: #1 Par 5 600 yards - dogleg left with a bunker at the corner of the dogleg and trees living the fairway. The sand is 260 or so from the tee (depending on where they are) and I can draw my 3 wood more easily than my driver; #3 380 Par 4 - slight dogleg left - the green is 20 or so yards above the fairway and the fairway runs out 270 or so off the tee; #4 347 Par 4 dogleg left - with a fairway bunker on the corner that stretches from about 250 to 275 yards off the tee. On all of those holes - 3 wood takes the trouble out of play and carries long enough to make birdie regardless.

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Ping G400 LST 8.5* Graphite Design DI 6 stiff 45"

Taylormade RBZ Proto 14.5* Oban Kiyoshi 85 04 42.5"

Adams 4555 19* Matrix Ozik Altus 80 S/X 42"

Ping G410 Crossover 2 Project X Even Flow Blue 85 6.0 40"

Ping i500 4-8 Modus 105 Stiff

Ping Blueprint 9-P Modus 105 Stiff

Fourteen RM-12 53* and 58* Tour Issue Black Onyx s400 

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11 hours ago, ChasingScratch said:

 


But what do you do when driver just goes south for a spell?

I went through a period of time where I had zero confidence with driver. I was hitting it all off the toe and was actually losing dramatic distance. Hitting 3 or 5 wood was actually longer than toe hook or push block OB driver.


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The strongest part of a players Strategy to Win is resilience and adaptability.  I want players to bomb the ball and approach the green from the shortest distance possible.  So pound the driver and from 85 you can't hit the broad side of the barn.  So what is better, missing 18 greens or hitting 18 greens from 150.  That is why blanket statements can be misleading.  A strategy can't be created without know some key bits of info.   You did the right thing by adjusting.  I can attest it is really hard to hit the green when you are hitting three from the tee box.  For the sake of chasing scratch, determine the root cause of the driver going south and rid yourself of the issue.  I can have bad days with the drive and never go out of bounds.  Tough to be scratch with big tee shot errors.  

I liked your IG post about distance to money and correlations with putting.  I find most ams can more greatly improve with the driver than the putter.  In my opinion you have to be very careful with the number of putts per round.  This is more true when you look at an amateur.  If you were to hit 18 greens and have 36 putts you would be a + handicap.  On the PGA tour if you did the same you will lose your job.  Now would you take 36 putts and be a + or take 30 putts and be a 5 handicap.  Miss 18 greens and chip to one foot and you still shot par.  Number of putts is not the way to look at scoring or money.  

How is the scratch thing going?  

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5 hours ago, golfertrb said:

Exactly right. The reason I hit less than driver on those holes due to the design of the course. Let me give you an example on the first 3 driving holes: #1 Par 5 600 yards - dogleg left with a bunker at the corner of the dogleg and trees living the fairway. The sand is 260 or so from the tee (depending on where they are) and I can draw my 3 wood more easily than my driver; #3 380 Par 4 - slight dogleg left - the green is 20 or so yards above the fairway and the fairway runs out 270 or so off the tee; #4 347 Par 4 dogleg left - with a fairway bunker on the corner that stretches from about 250 to 275 yards off the tee. On all of those holes - 3 wood takes the trouble out of play and carries long enough to make birdie regardless.

Then you have executed the driver decision tree very well.  Always pound it where you can, and adjust correctly when you can't.  There is no system that would go against those decisions.  Nobody is saying hit driver into the trees just because the best strategy is to get close to the green.  

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5 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

I absolutely agree, and I hope I made myself clear.  I try to get as close as possible without taking on excess risk.  For most people, a driver poses more risk than a shorter club, if only because the same angular dispersion results in more balls in the rough with the driver.  The question to be answered is HOW much more risky is the driver.  A slight additional risk is usually more than offset by reduced distance on the following shot..   But if the driver poses a lot more risk, if it is a whole lot more erratic than the shorter clubs, then it makes sense to decrease the risk on the first shot, and accept slightly increased difficulty for the second shot resulting from the loss of distance.

I think you have identified the missing topic in this discussion - risk.  When I find a player adamantly against my strategy of hitting driver more often it has to do with risk and/or risk and fear.  Of course to have this discussion we need very good and detailed stats.  Player says I hit driver into the rough too often.  The players stats say they hit they hit 5/10 greens from 150 yards.  They also say that they hit the driver into the rough 60% of the time so they stop hitting driver.  What they miss is that they hit 7/10 greens from the rough from 125 yards.  Which strategy has a more likely chance of making par or better.  As a coach I give a player the information they need and not what they want.  So at the end of the day, I don't care that the player is more comfortable from 150 in the fairway.  I care that they make more pars.  

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The strongest part of a players Strategy to Win is resilience and adaptability.  I want players to bomb the ball and approach the green from the shortest distance possible.  So pound the driver and from 85 you can't hit the broad side of the barn.  So what is better, missing 18 greens or hitting 18 greens from 150.  That is why blanket statements can be misleading.  A strategy can't be created without know some key bits of info.   You did the right thing by adjusting.  I can attest it is really hard to hit the green when you are hitting three from the tee box.  For the sake of chasing scratch, determine the root cause of the driver going south and rid yourself of the issue.  I can have bad days with the drive and never go out of bounds.  Tough to be scratch with big tee shot errors.  

I liked your IG post about distance to money and correlations with putting.  I find most ams can more greatly improve with the driver than the putter.  In my opinion you have to be very careful with the number of putts per round.  This is more true when you look at an amateur.  If you were to hit 18 greens and have 36 putts you would be a + handicap.  On the PGA tour if you did the same you will lose your job.  Now would you take 36 putts and be a + or take 30 putts and be a 5 handicap.  Miss 18 greens and chip to one foot and you still shot par.  Number of putts is not the way to look at scoring or money.  

How is the scratch thing going?  

 

Glad you liked the IG post! Not many actually take the time to read the entire caption on something that detailed.

 

Chasing scratch is tough with two kids (5 and 3.5yr old). Spent the last two years working on tenure and my wife working on her Masters degree. Now she’s starting her teaching career so I’m pretty much on dad life 24/7.

 

Really the hardest part is I maybe get to play 3 times a month, with no real practice time aside from playing. Newest handicap is 5 though, so trending in the right direction. Swing was money last time I played (at a new to me course). I was hitting driver on command which makes courses very short for me.

 

Still need to improve my decision making and green reading.

 

Thanks for the genuine interest!

 

 

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:SuperSpeed: Training

Pre training max driver speed: 124mph

Current: 130mph

WITB:

Driver: :ping-small: G400 LST 8.5* with HZRDUS SMOKE 6.5 70g 

Woods: :taylormade-small: 2007 Burner TP 3 wood and 5 wood

Irons:  :srixon-small: Z765 4-PW (1 degree flat) with KBS $-130 shafts

Wedges:  Vokey SM7 50/12/F, 54/10/S and 58/12/D

Putter:  :ping-small: Sigma 2 Tyne 4, 32.5", 1* loft

Ball:  :srixon-small: Z-Star XV

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4 minutes ago, ChasingScratch said:

 


Glad you liked the IG post! Not many actually take the time to read the entire caption on something that detailed.

Chasing scratch is tough with two kids (5 and 3.5yr old). Spent the last two years working on tenure and my wife working on her Masters degree. Now she’s starting her teaching career so I’m pretty much on dad life 24/7.

Really the hardest part is I maybe get to play 3 times a month, with no real practice time aside from playing. Newest handicap is 5 though, so trending in the right direction. Swing was money last time I played (at a new to me course). I was hitting driver on command which matches courses very short for me.

Still need to improve my decision making and green reading.

Thanks for the genuine interest!


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Nothing easy about golf when your priorities are exactly where they should be!!  Decision making is really simple but take lots of discipline.  Understanding how the best play and how that translates to your requirements to shoot or be scratch isn't that difficult.  The key is cutting through all the mess and noise and getting down to what really matters.  Thanks to people much smarter than me and my knowledge of the golf  and the golf swing, I've had some pretty good success helping players improve often by just making better decisions.  Don't ever forget that the pros, like us, mishit or don't perfectly control their shots just as much as we do.  The only difference is the size of dispersion and of the misses.  

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  I liked your IG post about distance to money and correlations with putting.  I find most ams can more greatly improve with the driver than the putter.  In my opinion you have to be very careful with the number of putts per round.  This is more true when you look at an amateur.  If you were to hit 18 greens and have 36 putts you would be a + handicap.  On the PGA tour if you did the same you will lose your job.  Now would you take 36 putts and be a + or take 30 putts and be a 5 handicap.  Miss 18 greens and chip to one foot and you still shot par.  Number of putts is not the way to look at scoring or money.  
 

 

Concerning focusing on driving distance or putting, I guess it depends on who you are playing with. I play with a few guys who will literally 4 or 5 putt most greens. It’s painful to watch. Horrible speed and distance control.

 

If you are missing a 6 footer by 6 feet, it’s hard to get better.

 

Also, the point I was making on the IG post was that amateurs can gain distance by moving up in tee boxes without actually having to hit the ball any farther than they already do. Only those playing in competition are forced into a set tee box (thus why the stats for the pros suggest that the farther they hit it the better they score, they all putt amazingly well already). The recreational golfer playing for fun could go all the way up to the front boxes and turn their 175yd drive into the equivalent of a 300yd bomb just by moving up.

 

Maybe it’s two ways of saying the same thing?

 

 

 

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:SuperSpeed: Training

Pre training max driver speed: 124mph

Current: 130mph

WITB:

Driver: :ping-small: G400 LST 8.5* with HZRDUS SMOKE 6.5 70g 

Woods: :taylormade-small: 2007 Burner TP 3 wood and 5 wood

Irons:  :srixon-small: Z765 4-PW (1 degree flat) with KBS $-130 shafts

Wedges:  Vokey SM7 50/12/F, 54/10/S and 58/12/D

Putter:  :ping-small: Sigma 2 Tyne 4, 32.5", 1* loft

Ball:  :srixon-small: Z-Star XV

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Then you have executed the driver decision tree very well.  Always pound it where you can, and adjust correctly when you can't.  There is no system that would go against those decisions.  Nobody is saying hit driver into the trees just because the best strategy is to get close to the green.  


I didn't think you were advocating for that at all and I'm sorry to say I didn't make those decisions due to a system so much as experience garnered from playing and making the wrong choices over time. The truth is that I'd rather hit driver whenever I can because I feel more comfortable hitting driver and I have seen enough studies that prove closer is better in terms of score. I remember years ago reading Bomb and Gouge in Golf Digest and the information they shared that the closer a player is to the green, the lower they will score even from the rough vs fairway. The stat that has made the biggest impact on my handicap and score for me is GIR. As you said earlier to Scratch - if you hit every green and have 36 putts you will be a + handicap. With that in mind I want to be as close to the green as possible off the tee because that makes my GIRs go up. Mark Crossfield talks about how he hates to hit anything less than driver because he loses his advantage and I generally feel the same. One anecdotal example for me: last week I was playing a course that I play often and I was invited to play through a group ahead of me. It was a hole I typically hit less than driver for a variety of reasons but on this particular day I hit driver because I felt a bit of nerves playing through the group of golfers and I wanted the extra comfort of the G400 :) I absolutely ripped it - I had 60 yards left from the rough vs 105 from the fairway. I made an easy birdie and I thought to myself "why do you not always hit driver on that hole?" 105 isn't a hard shot but 60 is better. Anyway - sorry for rambling but great discussion.


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Ping G400 LST 8.5* Graphite Design DI 6 stiff 45"

Taylormade RBZ Proto 14.5* Oban Kiyoshi 85 04 42.5"

Adams 4555 19* Matrix Ozik Altus 80 S/X 42"

Ping G410 Crossover 2 Project X Even Flow Blue 85 6.0 40"

Ping i500 4-8 Modus 105 Stiff

Ping Blueprint 9-P Modus 105 Stiff

Fourteen RM-12 53* and 58* Tour Issue Black Onyx s400 

Odyssey Tour Black Series 9 35" Flatso 1.0 

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I don't have a ton more to add, but this posts in this thread have been fascinating to read. Thanks to @golfertrb, @edteergolf, and @ChasingScratch especially for the last couple of insights.

I'd love to eventually be down to a single handicap and it's awesome to read more about strategy and course management from those who are WAY better than me. As I'm trending now at a 13, I can attest that my improvement over the past three months has mostly been with driver and pitching/chipping. I'm getting closer to the green off the tee (generally) and if I don't hit the green in regulation, I'm getting much better at getting up and down for par or a two-putt bogey. 

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54°, 58°: :cobra-small: Cobra KING Black, 3° Flat, -1/2" SHORT (54°), -1/4" SHORT (58°), KBS C-Taper Lite 115 X-Stiff, Lamkin Sonar Connect
Putter: :taylormade-small: TaylorMade Spider X, 33", Golf Pride Tour Only Red Star
Ball: :Snell:Snell MTB-X Optic Yellow (Also: :srixon-small: Srixon Z-Star XV Tour Yellow)
Tracked By: :Arccos: Cobra Connect powered by Arccos

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I don't have a ton more to add, but this posts in this thread have been fascinating to read. Thanks to [mention=82856]golfertrb[/mention], [mention=69065]edteergolf[/mention], and [mention=86896]ChasingScratch[/mention] especially for the last couple of insights.
I'd love to eventually be down to a single handicap and it's awesome to read more about strategy and course management from those who are WAY better than me. As I'm trending now at a 13, I can attest that my improvement over the past three months has mostly been with driver and pitching/chipping. I'm getting closer to the green off the tee (generally) and if I don't hit the green in regulation, I'm getting much better at getting up and down for par or a two-putt bogey. 



That’s what it’s all about!! Keep grinding!! Short game is huge if you miss lots of GIR. Lately when I do miss the green, it’s usually on the fringe. An easy pitch/chip leaves a tap in and a stress free par.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

Instagram:  @_chasing_scratch

YouTube: Chasing Scratch

Facebook:  Chasing Scratch

:SuperSpeed: Training

Pre training max driver speed: 124mph

Current: 130mph

WITB:

Driver: :ping-small: G400 LST 8.5* with HZRDUS SMOKE 6.5 70g 

Woods: :taylormade-small: 2007 Burner TP 3 wood and 5 wood

Irons:  :srixon-small: Z765 4-PW (1 degree flat) with KBS $-130 shafts

Wedges:  Vokey SM7 50/12/F, 54/10/S and 58/12/D

Putter:  :ping-small: Sigma 2 Tyne 4, 32.5", 1* loft

Ball:  :srixon-small: Z-Star XV

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