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azstu324

Playing the hole backwards...

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No I don't mean teeing off from the green.. although that would be interesting wouldn't it? I'm talking about subtracting yardage from the green to determine how you play from the tee. 

Doe anybody use this strategy? I've just started and it seems to be helping my game. Any tips, advice, success stories, etc would be greatly appreciated. 

My goal in 2020 is to shoot at par. I broke the 80 barrier and have been shooting fairly consistently in the high to mid 70's. I've worked quite a bit on my driver and putting consistency which has helped. At the moment I feel that my biggest area for improvement is my approach. With a fairly consistent and lengthy drive, I've found the 3/4 60* shots aren't all that consistent. I'm trying to be more conscious about leaving myself a full shot to the green. Whether it be 8, 9, P, or a wedge and I'm starting to see some good results. I'm trying to create some rules to help my decision making. 

 

Thanks all!

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I usually use the BK, DJ, and Rory method.

Hit as close to the green as I can, figure it out when I get there. Might not hit it as far as them, but having short irons or wedges into greens isn’t a bad plan.

My philosophy for the year is “I didn’t pay to lay up”...

Your Strategery will work wonders though. I used to play like that.

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No I don't mean teeing off from the green.. although that would be interesting wouldn't it? I'm talking about subtracting yardage from the green to determine how you play from the tee. 
Doe anybody use this strategy? I've just started and it seems to be helping my game. Any tips, advice, success stories, etc would be greatly appreciated. 
My goal in 2020 is to shoot at par. I broke the 80 barrier and have been shooting fairly consistently in the high to mid 70's. I've worked quite a bit on my driver and putting consistency which has helped. At the moment I feel that my biggest area for improvement is my approach. With a fairly consistent and lengthy drive, I've found the 3/4 60* shots aren't all that consistent. I'm trying to be more conscious about leaving myself a full shot to the green. Whether it be 8, 9, P, or a wedge and I'm starting to see some good results. I'm trying to create some rules to help my decision making. 
 
Thanks all!



If you’re looking to shoot par you should check your stats to see if reality matches perception. What is your actual proximity to the hole with your 60 vs your 8 iron? Are you as consistent and accurate with the club that leaves you 140 as the driver that leaves you 80? I know that I’ve wasted plenty of shots in my life because I thought something that turned out to be wrong.

Yes in answer to your original question. I’ve often played a hole backwards in my mind.

Good luck!


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Definitely appreciate both of your responses. Therein lies the rub. I'm kind of stuck between both schools of thought. My typical driver distance is around 290+ including roll out with about 80% accuracy so most of the time I'm hitting from a decent lie. That said, I'm usually hitting a partial wedge shot to the green.

My 3i will roll out about 230+ and I'm just about as accurate as I am with driver. My 4w stops at about 250 and it's a fairway finder.

Ultimately I'm more accurate with a full shot over a partial shot so whether it be an 8 iron or 60°, give me a full shot and I'll take it home.

The questions are: do I just work on buttoning up my partial shot wedge game and just bomb every par 4 over 300 yds? Or do I continue down the other path where I try to create a full-swing approach shot?

My rough formula so far goes something like this: par 4 under 350, use 3i. Under 400, 4w, 400+ Driver. I know it's not perfect but time will tell.



the more I practice, the luckier I seem to get..

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I'm hitting driver on every hole that I can if it doesn't put me in a hazard (excuse me... penalty area), and maybe even then if the fairway is wide enough.

I'm hitting my next shot as close as I can get to the green if I can't reach, unless there is a hazard short of the green, in which case I will hit a club to be short of it.

I have never played a hole backwards, and likely never will.

I have played a "backwards" tournament on Halloween where the course was set up to tee off next to the green and play the previous green.  That's interesting!!!

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Definitely appreciate both of your responses. Therein lies the rub. I'm kind of stuck between both schools of thought. My typical driver distance is around 290+ including roll out with about 80% accuracy so most of the time I'm hitting from a decent lie. That said, I'm usually hitting a partial wedge shot to the green.  

My 3i will roll out about 230+ and I'm just about as accurate as I am with driver. My 4w stops at about 250 and it's a fairway finder.

 

Ultimately I'm more accurate with a full shot over a partial shot so whether it be an 8 iron or 60°, give me a full shot and I'll take it home.

 

The questions are: do I just work on buttoning up my partial shot wedge game and just bomb every par 4 over 300 yds? Or do I continue down the other path where I try to create a full-swing approach shot?

 

My rough formula so far goes something like this: par 4 under 350, use 3i. Under 400, 4w, 400+ Driver. I know it's not perfect but time will tell.

 

 

 

the more I practice, the luckier I seem to get..

 

 

 

 

I would still ask if you had the data to back what you’re writing - Golf is a funny game, it may seem like you are more accurate from 140 than from 80 because your expectation is so much greater from 80. It could be though that your proximity to the hole is in fact better at 80.

 

Having a shot tracking system of some sort will help make your practice and course strategy better. It will answer the questions that you are asking.

 

For example if you are hitting 80 percent of your fairways at 290 yards and shooting in the high 70’s you have a significant flaw somewhere else.

 

The general rule is the closer you can safely hit it to your target the lower the score you will shoot. If that’s not happening you are either taking too many penalties (including hitting it in the trees or fescue) or your wedge game needs work,

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

 

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9 hours ago, revkev said:

 

I would still ask if you had the data to back what you’re writing - Golf is a funny game, it may seem like you are more accurate from 140 than from 80 because your expectation is so much greater from 80. It could be though that your proximity to the hole is in fact better at 80.

 

Having a shot tracking system of some sort will help make your practice and course strategy better. It will answer the questions that you are asking.

 

For example if you are hitting 80 percent of your fairways at 290 yards and shooting in the high 70’s you have a significant flaw somewhere else.

 

The general rule is the closer you can safely hit it to your target the lower the score you will shoot. If that’s not happening you are either taking too many penalties (including hitting it in the trees or fescue) or your wedge game needs work,

This is where I think Broadie hit the nail on the head.  Hit it as close as you can without risking a terrible lie or penalty. 

I think when I have play the hole backwards, I have a tendency to think too much and end up wondering far too often "if I am going to hit from this crappy lie, would I be better off in a crappy lie but 60 yds closer?"  

This certainly isn't a universal rule, but most of the data I have seen shows on average you still end up closer to the hole the closer you are.  As rev says though, your proximity to hole relative to starting distance may be worse, but you are still closer to the hole.

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For the most part, I use driver and try and eat up as much of the yardage as possible.  Exceptions are where course layout, trees, traps, water, etc. introduce poor trade-off risk.  I do see some logic in your approach - particularly if partial throttle shots are problematic.  I think for most of us higher handicap players, we are less consistent with partial shots (yardage) and more consistent with full shots.  That said, you will still likely need to develop partial shot prowess simply because we all find ourselves between yardages or that combined with poor lie, uphill or downhill lie, etc. Ultimately go with what is lowering your score - that's different for every player.

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That's really going to be up to you, the course(s) you play, particular holes layouts and what trouble may lie where.  I hit the ball a good ways as well, but am nowhere near 80% fairway average.  I can throw that kind of day together every now and then, but that's not me on a round to round basis.  I tried to play the game of starting at the hole and working to a number, but I've worked hard on my wedge game this summer and make more birdies now than ever.  The only time I don't hit driver off the tee now is if there's trouble in my landing area or I'm just not hitting it good that day.  I'd rather hit it as far as I can and figure out what to do next.

But based on the description of your game, you need to be working on wedges and partial shots.  Go to the range and practice hip to hip, rib to rib, shoulder to shoulder, and ear to ear shots with each wedge, keeping the same tempo with each shot.  The different lofts will give you different distances and fit the gaps accordingly.  I.E.  a rib to rib gap may be 70 yards and shoulder to shoulder 90, but the shoulder to shoulder sand may give you 80.  Once you get those grooved, you can work on choking down to get the in between numbers figured out.  It takes time and commitment to get it figured out, but it'll be well worth it if you're driver game is where you claim it to be.  Doing that made a world of difference for me.

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22 hours ago, azstu324 said:

My typical driver distance is around 290+ including roll out with about 80% accuracy

You are an elite driver of the golf ball with stats like this.  According to a 2017 study from Game Golf and Golf Digest, golfers with handicaps of five and under average about 250 off the tee.  

 

15 hours ago, revkev said:

For example if you are hitting 80 percent of your fairways at 290 yards and shooting in the high 70’s you have a significant flaw somewhere else.

Agreed.  If you can regularly hit the ball 290 and keep it on the planet, you should be around scratch.  I average just under 270; I hit one or two foul balls a round and I'm under a 7.  On the rare days I can keep my driver in play regularly; I can break 75.

 

6 hours ago, romeopapazulu said:

This is where I think Broadie hit the nail on the head.  Hit it as close as you can without risking a terrible lie or penalty. 

Does Broadie analyze average golfers that play 1-2 times a week and don't really practice?  I would love to see data on average golfers comparing a full shot with their shortest club to shots from inside that distance.  I have no data to back this up, but I am convinced (based on the golf I've seen having played for 40 years and caddying for 9 years) that the average golfer has a pretty significant skill gap when they are 20-40 yards shorter than a full shot.  I don't really blame anyone for avoiding those yardages when they can help it if they want to optimize their score in their current round.

That being said, you will always have shots from an uncomfortable yardage.  You'll hit a driver farther than you thought.  The tees are farther up than you realize.  Your layup on a par 5 hit a hard patch in the fairway or the backside of a small knob and took off.  Or you're punching out of trees, hacking out of deep rough, or hit one fat out of a fairway bunker and leave yourself that dreaded 65 yarder.

Practice it as much as you can.  And force yourself to hit it on the golf course.  I used to try to avoid it, and now I try to give it to myself as much as possible.  It's honestly not as hard as you think.  There are plenty of systems out there for dealing with shots inside 100 yards.  Google "Wedge Distance Clock System."  

Find a lob wedge that you love.  Ideally, get fit for your wedges.  Full disclosure, I was fit for my Cobra F8s for last year's Cobra Connect Challenge, but not separately fit for the wedges that came with the set.  That said, I love them.  And one of the best things that happened to me was taking my idiotic Vokey 60/04 out of the bag and replacing it with a 58* wedge that I can actually hit.

Take advantage of your length, make short wedges an asset instead of a liability and you'll be thinking about breaking par instead of breaking 80.

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My personal scoring theory for myself is hit as long of a club off the tee, without creating significantly more risk. I’m better the closer I am to the green, therefore, as long as I’m not bringing crazy risks into play, I’m pulling driver. I’m not really thinking backwards, but usually when I’ve played a course once before, I know where I need to hit it, to give myself the best angle for approach. I pretty much instinctually aim toward that angle, and then just hit the shot. I’d say I work backward much more when considering my target line, than when I’m considering my club choice. 

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Every response to your question while written differently all say the same thing........ play each hole from green to tee. If you are of the DJ theory and smacking the ball absolutely as far as possible you are still playing from green to tee. You are just playing to wedges and not 6 or 7 irons to use into the green. The green to tee methodology is to play the club off the tee that best gives you at your skill level the opportunity to play your most trusted and accurate club into the green.

 

Let’s talk a long 230 yard Par 3. The average Golfer will grab his 3 Wood or even driver because he/she is thinking that’s my distance with this club. The Green to Tee guy will think if I hit a 7 then I’ll have a short pitch into the green with the chance to make Par and shoot no worse than bogey. The grip and rip guy is most likely going to be in trouble with the likely hood of a final hole score of double bogey or bogey at best.

 

Play the odds my friend. The house always wins. If you are going to play Par Golf you absolutely must always play off the tee to the club that is most accurate into the green.

 

 

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Does Broadie analyze average golfers that play 1-2 times a week and don't really practice?  I would love to see data on average golfers comparing a full shot with their shortest club to shots from inside that distance.  I have no data to back this up, but I am convinced (based on the golf I've seen having played for 40 years and caddying for 9 years) that the average golfer has a pretty significant skill gap when they are 20-40 yards shorter than a full shot.  I don't really blame anyone for avoiding those yardages when they can help it if they want to optimize their score in their current round.
That being said, you will always have shots from an uncomfortable yardage.  You'll hit a driver farther than you thought.  The tees are farther up than you realize.  Your layup on a par 5 hit a hard patch in the fairway or the backside of a small knob and took off.  Or you're punching out of trees, hacking out of deep rough, or hit one fat out of a fairway bunker and leave yourself that dreaded 65 yarder.
Practice it as much as you can.  And force yourself to hit it on the golf course.  I used to try to avoid it, and now I try to give it to myself as much as possible.  It's honestly not as hard as you think.  There are plenty of systems out there for dealing with shots inside 100 yards.  Google "Wedge Distance Clock System."  
Find a lob wedge that you love.  Ideally, get fit for your wedges.  Full disclosure, I was fit for my Cobra F8s for last year's Cobra Connect Challenge, but not separately fit for the wedges that came with the set.  That said, I love them.  And one of the best things that happened to me was taking my idiotic Vokey 60/04 out of the bag and replacing it with a 58* wedge that I can actually hit.
Take advantage of your length, make short wedges an asset instead of a liability and you'll be thinking about breaking par instead of breaking 80.


It’s easy to get that data for yourself - that is personal data that gives reasonable proximity to the hole for your game. Generally speaking it’s under $200 and it’s invaluable.

Why guess or debate it? Just get the data and adjust your game accordingly?


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The questions are: do I just work on buttoning up my partial shot wedge game and just bomb every par 4 over 300 yds? Or do I continue down the other path where I try to create a full-swing approach shot?


Bomb them. Work on those partial wedge shots. I would rather have a 100 shot over a 30 yard shot personally, but my proximity to the hole is roughly the same. I’m deadly accurate with a little knockdown 100 yard PW. Give me a 100 yard shot with a sand wedge and that accuracy goes away.

The 30 - 50 yard shot is where I spent most of my practice time. 3/4 different clubs to get this job done. But lately I’ve been using the 52 for anything inside 75, except bunker shots.

Give it a try both ways like everyone else suggested.

What I just said up there doesn’t make any sense anyways.

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I haven't read Broadie's book, but I believe he did collect data from all levels of players, and the results are pretty consistent.  Shorter shots result in improved proximity.  This isn't for every individual player, but hold true for a majority of any skill level.  Even if you're not confident, you'll probably get it closer from 70 yards than from 110.  For a good player like the OP, its not all that difficult to improve those partial wedge shots. 

If you want to improve decision-making, I recommend that you read "Lowest Score Wins."  Full disclosure, this is written by the owner of another golf website, but it presents a very clear and logical system for choosing the correct club and aiming location for each shot, along with a lot of other good information.

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Tons of great input and thank you guys sincerely! I'll try to sit down later this evening to digest a lot of this and respond. My wedge game has been interesting. Full shots are good. Green side is good. It's the in between that gives me the most trouble. Ultimately I'm looking for ways to eliminate my green side wedge shot and gain a better proximity with my approach. Putting in the work to dial in partial shots is definitely not an idea that I'm against.

Another method that has yielded good results is work on more controlled knock down PW shots from shorter distances.

That's what we all can appreciate about this game is that there are 100 different ways to skin the cat and none of them are wrong.

the more I practice, the luckier I seem to get..

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16 hours ago, revkev said:

It’s easy to get that data for yourself - that is personal data that gives reasonable proximity to the hole for your game. Generally speaking it’s under $200 and it’s invaluable.

I have it for myself.  What I'd love to see is data for other folks.  And because the law of big numbers tells me that the data is going to get smoothed out, what I really want to know is whether most average golfers have a hole somewhere in their proximity stats where they get worse getting closer to the hole before they get better.  It's going to be in a different place for every golfer, so aggregated stats will hide it.  But I'm convinced that most amateurs have a yardage they don't like, but they don't bother practicing it.  If I caddied for a guy several times, I figured out where their vomit zones were, and I tried to help them avoid those spots, because a caddy is all about optimizing the current round score for their loop.  And very few of these guys practiced in any meaningful way.

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One thing that needs to be taken into account that I didn't in my response above is the course layout. Most courses I play here won't kill me for trying to rip the cover off the ball on the tee. If I'm bad enough, I just end up in the wrong fairway. On courses in AZ that i have played I would be in rattlesnake country with those wild ones. So i think i would play less than driver more often. 

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10 hours ago, romeopapazulu said:

One thing that needs to be taken into account that I didn't in my response above is the course layout. Most courses I play here won't kill me for trying to rip the cover off the ball on the tee. If I'm bad enough, I just end up in the wrong fairway. On courses in AZ that i have played I would be in rattlesnake country with those wild ones. So i think i would play less than driver more often. 

You bring up a very important point with AZ golf. I've lived here most of my life. Many of the course's layouts are either fairway or wasteland with rocks, cactus, the occasional rattlesnake, javelina, coyote, etc. We have a lot of wasteland areas that aren't OB but worth avoiding at all costs. These areas won't only likely cost you a stroke but a replacement club in the process. Another factor about AZ golf is that if you have a lower spinning drive, you're probably going to get more runout than anywhere in the country. Hence my 290 total yardage claim. Yeah I might have a 260 - 270 yd carry but the runout here is a little ridiculous. 

Another factor is that the greens here on most local budget-friendly course are like landing a ball on a pool table. If you don't learn to play the ball high with some extra spin, you'll have a good share of shots bounding and running through the back end of the green. For me, this is a mental hurdle and can cause hesitancy on partial shots which often result in an inconsistent shot that goes too long or lands way too short. Still, I'm sure this is something that can be remedied with some good old fashioned practice as many have mentioned. There are many mental hurdles on the course, i.e. water, sand, desert, etc that I've seemed to find a way to manage so this shouldn't be an issue if I just put in the time to overcome. 

One final comment, When I play I'm usually playing with friends, including my dad who haven't put in the time that I have with this game. Needless to say, they're just not crazy obsessed like I am. We mostly play from 1 up rather than the tips. From the tips, I rarely find myself running out of room and actually am more at ease with the full-throttle approach, but this is just the dynamic that my playing situation offers. Sure I could be the guy that says "well I'm playing from the back because I'm better" but that's definitely not me. 

Ultimately, I'll take the consensus advice and put in the work to dial in my mid-short game this year. The "play from the hole" method is definitely something to keep in the back pocket though when hazards threaten my driver shot. I played a round yesterday and went for it on all par 4's. On nearly all holes I found that a bump and run PW really was the approach shot for me. At address it's not as mentally straining, goes straight every time and actually gets enough height and spin to get a little check on the green. The outcome was much more predictable each time. Didn't miss one green with that approach and is right in line with what I'm after as far as the approach/GIR/Proximity goes. Not to mention with my new/old set (Cleveland TA-1's) , the PW profile almost looks like a short wedge anyhow and works perfectly for those shots. 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, azstu324 said:

You bring up a very important point with AZ golf. I've lived here most of my life. Many of the course's layouts are either fairway or wasteland with rocks, cactus, the occasional rattlesnake, javelina, coyote, etc. We have a lot of wasteland areas that aren't OB but worth avoiding at all costs. These areas won't only likely cost you a stroke but a replacement club in the process. Another factor about AZ golf is that if you have a lower spinning drive, you're probably going to get more runout than anywhere in the country. Hence my 290 total yardage claim. Yeah I might have a 260 - 270 yd carry but the runout here is a little ridiculous. 

Another factor is that the greens here on most local budget-friendly course are like landing a ball on a pool table. If you don't learn to play the ball high with some extra spin, you'll have a good share of shots bounding and running through the back end of the green. For me, this is a mental hurdle and can cause hesitancy on partial shots which often result in an inconsistent shot that goes too long or lands way too short. Still, I'm sure this is something that can be remedied with some good old fashioned practice as many have mentioned. There are many mental hurdles on the course, i.e. water, sand, desert, etc that I've seemed to find a way to manage so this shouldn't be an issue if I just put in the time to overcome. 

This is a factor in decision-making.  If you can only stop the ball on the green with the kind of spin you get from a full swing, then play for a full swing.  If you are required to carry the ball onto the green, due to water, bunkers, terrain, and you need spin to stop the ball, make sure that you have a full enough swing to spin it.  On the other hand, if even a solid spinning shot won't stop (as in much of Scotland), or if you can bounce the ball onto the green, you might as well be closer to the green if possible.  My recommendation still applies, with just a little work you'll get closer to the pin when you're hitting the shot from closer to the hole.  That approach has definitely worked for me, just through giving myself the opportunities on the golf course.  

 

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