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300 yard drives or Never 3 putt?


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1 minute ago, Shapotomous said:

I don't watch every round on every telecast but it seems to me the playing to their favorite number only happens when they have to lay up on a par 5, or have a shorter par 4 where the decision is try to drive the green or hit iron off the tee and they have to decide which iron to hit. 

If it is a 'normal' par 4 they seem to hit it as far as they can with their driver and only hit less if a dogleg is at a bad distance for their big stick.  The lesser club off the tee on these par 4's in most instances isn't to play to a favorite number for an approach but to avoid a big number because of hazards off the tee.

That's what I'm seeing too, nobody is avoiding a 50-yard shot in favor of a 100-yard shot unless there are additional risk factors being considered.

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I’d suggest you read up on some of the more recent course strategy models. Data analytics is showing that it is generally better to be longer than to lay back. Look at your dispersion pattern and if

Both of those would be extremely unusual for a 13-handicap, together it borders on statistical impossibility.  Unless your primary forum is at GolfWRX.  

If I can retain my current accuracy, from an angular standpoint, I'd take 300 yard drives.  Gaining 50 yards or so would mean much shorter seconds, more greens, better proximity.  And with my current

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30 minutes ago, cnosil said:


Thanks for the response. I had started using the other approach and playing driver on holes where I didn’t and am scoring better even when I have penalties or have to hit recovery shots. Playing shorter clubs doesn’t eliminate those bad shots but the driver puts me in better positions. Of course understanding course and you dispersion pattern is important for club selection to make sure you can fit driver or any other club into the available space and determining where to aim.

Since I am not exponentially better in dispersion with a 3w or 5w or DI I really have to have a good reason to hit less than driver off the tee anymore.  Like a dogleg or bringing a hazard or OB (not bunker) into the landing area / run out zone.

How many times have you or someone you played with (or even watching the pros on TV) taken a 'safer' club off the tee only to end up in the rough or trees or hazard or etc?  When I do it I feel like turning into Woody Austin for a moment and beating myself on the head with the club.  😠  My first thought is always - you idiot.... I could have done just as bad with the driver and been xx yards closer to the hole!   

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3 minutes ago, Chizzle said:

Never 3 putt. I can drive it 300+ yds.  Be interesting to hear more from people that do both well and see what they choose

It is a flawed question if you already hit it 300. At that point it is a no brainer because you eliminate a mistake. 

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21 minutes ago, Chizzle said:

Never 3 putt. I can drive it 300+ yds.  Be interesting to hear more from people that do both well and see what they choose

Both of those would be extremely unusual for a 13-handicap, together it borders on statistical impossibility.  Unless your primary forum is at GolfWRX.  

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3 hours ago, cnosil said:

Thanks for the response. I had started using the other approach and playing driver on holes where I didn’t and am scoring better even when I have penalties or have to hit recovery shots. Playing shorter clubs doesn’t eliminate those bad shots but the driver puts me in better positions. Of course understanding course and you dispersion pattern is important for club selection to make sure you can fit driver or any other club into the available space and determining where to aim.

Undoubtedly more than you want to know. I still have enough distance that I can easily reach any hole on my regular course/ league tees in regulation.

  • I lay up on #4 (shortish) par 4 because there's a trap across the fairway where my driver would usually land, and the fairway kicks hard right even if you do land driver distance out.
  • I lay up on #11 (shortish) par 4 because it's so narrow I'd rarely hit the fairway with a driver, and there's "lost ball rough" right and a "lost ball" ravine left.
  • I lay up on #16, a driveable par 4 that's surrounded by traps and "lost ball rough" right, I am averaging almost a full stroke better since I started laying up.
  • I lay up on #17 par 4 because my % fairways there was 39% (I average 60% overall), fairway is only 17 yds wide where my driver lands with "lost ball rough" right and left. The fairway is WAY wider where I lay up. Since I started laying up with a 4i, I have a 5i in and I am definitely scoring better. Having a much shorter approach wasn't helping when I missed the fairway 61% of the time.

As we all know, you have to consider your ability and the exact challenges for each and every hole. YMMV

And when I play other courses, from longer tees, I do use my driver more often.

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5 hours ago, TR1PTIK said:

eeing as there isn't a quantity attached to 3-putts, I'll take the 300-yard drives. I can tolerate one 3-putt every round (annoying as it would be), but assuming the increased driving distance carries over to the rest of my bag I should be able to get a few more looks at birdie. 

Bingo. 

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Undoubtedly more than you want to know. I still have enough distance that I can easily reach any hole on my regular course/ league tees in regulation.
  • I lay up on #4 (shortish) par 4 because there's a trap across the fairway where my driver would usually land, and the fairway kicks hard right even if you do land driver distance out.
  • I lay up on #11 (shortish) par 4 because it's so narrow I'd rarely hit the fairway with a driver, and there's "lost ball rough" right and a "lost ball" ravine left.
  • I lay up on #16, a driveable par 4 that's surrounded by traps and "lost ball rough" right, I am averaging almost a full stroke better since I started laying up.
  • I lay up on #17 par 4 because my % fairways there was 39% (I average 60% overall), fairway is only 17 yds wide where my driver lands with "lost ball rough" right and left. The fairway is WAY wider where I lay up. Since I started laying up with a 4i, I have a 5i in and I am definitely scoring better. Having a much shorter approach wasn't helping when I missed the fairway 61% of the time.
As we all know, you have to consider your ability and the exact challenges for each and every hole. YMMV
And when I play other courses, from longer tees, I do use my driver more often.

Sounds like you have done the appropriate planning for that particular course. Ideally that type of planning should be done for any course you play.

Start with the notion you are going hit driver on all par 4s and 5s. Identify where you would land and see if you dispersion width fits without having lots of trouble areas. If there is too
Much trouble play lesser club.

Too many people automatically jump to the short hole lay back to a distance strategy. I did that and am learning that isn’t the best strategy.
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No 3 putts for me, can still manage the course without a 300 yard drive

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43 minutes ago, Middler said:

Undoubtedly more than you want to know. I still have enough distance that I can easily reach any hole on my regular course/ league tees in regulation.

  • I lay up on #4 (shortish) par 4 because there's a trap across the fairway where my driver would usually land, and the fairway kicks hard right even if you do land driver distance out.
  • I lay up on #11 (shortish) par 4 because it's so narrow I'd rarely hit the fairway with a driver, and there's "lost ball rough" right and a "lost ball" ravine left.
  • I lay up on #16, a driveable par 4 that's surrounded by traps and "lost ball rough" right, I am averaging almost a full stroke better since I started laying up.
  • I lay up on #17 par 4 because my % fairways there was 39% (I average 60% overall), fairway is only 17 yds wide where my driver lands with "lost ball rough" right and left. The fairway is WAY wider where I lay up. Since I started laying up with a 4i, I have a 5i in and I am definitely scoring better. Having a much shorter approach wasn't helping when I missed the fairway 61% of the time.

As we all know, you have to consider your ability and the exact challenges for each and every hole. YMMV

And when I play other courses, from longer tees, I do use my driver more often.

Google earth is one of the greatest inventions for golf course strategy. I will go through and do something similar to this in preparation for a tourney, whether I have played the course 1000 times or not. Most of the time I don't limit it to fw width but distance between boundaries, trees etc. Now sticking to that plan is a whole nother issue. 

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I've read Brodie and the 300 yard drive answer is the choice here IMO all things being equal.

 

Back to the pros laying up to their favorite yardage discussion it's a myth perpetuated by announcers wishing to sound knowledgeable.  When you watch they lay up for a reason - hazards in the way, pin cut too close to a trap to stop with ball with a part shot, that type of thing - when you listen in to their discussions with a caddy they are always trying to find a way to get as close to the green as possible first and going for the layup as the bailout option if there's too great a risk.

 

Ultimately I'm seeing many people making the same statements here.  It's ironic to me that I will lay back to the 100 on 1 and 10 with my tee ball where as a longer player might choose driver.  Each of us is making the proper choice - there are bunkers that I can't carry that come into play when I hit driver - the longer guy can carry those bunkers - you have to plan and use your noggin sometimes.

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It's really a tough choice. I feel I don't 3 putt often, but when I do it's frustrating... so that'd be nice. On the other hand, if the 300 yards is down the middle, that's tough to pass on. 

300 yards for me. 

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If I can keep my current putting ability I will take 300 yard drives. 

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:


Sounds like you have done the appropriate planning for that particular course. Ideally that type of planning should be done for any course you play.

Start with the notion you are going hit driver on all par 4s and 5s. Identify where you would land and see if you dispersion width fits without having lots of trouble areas. If there is too
Much trouble play lesser club.

Too many people automatically jump to the short hole lay back to a distance strategy. I did that and am learning that isn’t the best strategy.

Agreed. When I started I was using driver on all par 4/5's. I learned I was better off laying up on 2 of them right away and another 2 after about 30 rounds. My scoring has improved (and fewer lost balls). I still use driver on those holes occasionally, maybe 5% of the time.

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32 minutes ago, TSauer said:

It's really a tough choice. I feel I don't 3 putt often, but when I do it's frustrating... so that'd be nice. On the other hand, if the 300 yards is down the middle, that's tough to pass on. 

300 yards for me. 

That's not a real choice, but we're just thinking out loud anyway. No one hits every drive down the middle, 300 yards or otherwise.

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:


Sounds like you have done the appropriate planning for that particular course. Ideally that type of planning should be done for any course you play.

Start with the notion you are going hit driver on all par 4s and 5s. Identify where you would land and see if you dispersion width fits without having lots of trouble areas. If there is too
Much trouble play lesser club.

Too many people automatically jump to the short hole lay back to a distance strategy. I did that and am learning that isn’t the best strategy.

Thanks for posting this! I think it is a much more effective way of thinking about it than I was going about. I am hitting driver on pretty much every single Par 4 and 5. This pretty much always leaves me a full shot I'm comfortable with (which is why I would take the "no three putts" instead of the 300 yard drives to bring things all the way back to the start). The short 4's where my driver would leave me less than a full shot are the ones that tend to have the trouble in the driver landing zone anyways, so it makes more sense to play it back.

Where I diverge from the "get it as close as you can every shot" strategy is on Par 5's with my second. On a 540 yard hole, if I have 280 in, I strongly believe my scoring will be better on average hitting my 180 club then 100 club than the 230 club and having 50. First because the 180 yard club has a better chance of succeeded for me (and much lower chance of going horribly wrong) and I don't feel like I'll do THAT much better from 50 as opposed to 100 yards to make up for that. That's just for me though, everybody has to play the game they're most confident with.

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2 minutes ago, Cory O said:

Thanks for posting this! I think it is a much more effective way of thinking about it than I was going about. I am hitting driver on pretty much every single Par 4 and 5. This pretty much always leaves me a full shot I'm comfortable with (which is why I would take the "no three putts" instead of the 300 yard drives to bring things all the way back to the start). The short 4's where my driver would leave me less than a full shot are the ones that tend to have the trouble in the driver landing zone anyways, so it makes more sense to play it back.

Where I diverge from the "get it as close as you can every shot" strategy in on Par 5's with my second. On a 540 yard hole, if I have 280 in, I strongly believe my scoring will be better on average hitting my 180 club then 100 club than the 230 club and having 50. First because the 180 yard club has a better chance of succeeded for me (and much lower chance of going horribly wrong) and I don't feel like I'll do THAT much better from 50 as opposed to 100 yards to make up for that. That's just for me though, everybody has to play the game they're most confident with.

That's the telling bit, how much risk does the longer second shot add.  That's really the take-away from strokes gained, you should generally get as close as possible without taking on too much additional risk.  Its knowing your game well enough to realistically assess the risk that really matters.

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14 minutes ago, Cory O said:

Thanks for posting this! I think it is a much more effective way of thinking about it than I was going about. I am hitting driver on pretty much every single Par 4 and 5. This pretty much always leaves me a full shot I'm comfortable with (which is why I would take the "no three putts" instead of the 300 yard drives to bring things all the way back to the start). The short 4's where my driver would leave me less than a full shot are the ones that tend to have the trouble in the driver landing zone anyways, so it makes more sense to play it back.

Where I diverge from the "get it as close as you can every shot" strategy is on Par 5's with my second. On a 540 yard hole, if I have 280 in, I strongly believe my scoring will be better on average hitting my 180 club then 100 club than the 230 club and having 50. First because the 180 yard club has a better chance of succeeded for me (and much lower chance of going horribly wrong) and I don't feel like I'll do THAT much better from 50 as opposed to 100 yards to make up for that. That's just for me though, everybody has to play the game they're most confident with.

My only question would be why you choose a yardage difference of 50 yards on the second shot on the Par 5, instead of say a 200 yard shot leaving 80 over the 230 yard shot leaving 100.

You may be making the right choice not going for the 230 club, but when the difference is 50 yards, you're on the cusp there of breakeven either way, so your best option might actually be somewhere in the middle.

Edited by FrogginBullfish
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18 minutes ago, FrogginBullfish said:

My only question would be why you choose a yardage difference of 50 yards on the second shot on the Par 5, instead of say a 200 yard shot leaving 80 over the 230 yard shot leaving 100.

You may be making the right choice not going for the 230 club, but when the difference is 50 yards, you're on the cusp there of breakeven either way, so your best option might actually be somewhere in the middle.

That was more just to keep the example 100 yard shot vs. 50 yard shot. Real world with 280 in without trouble in between, I'm most likely hitting my 3h (200 yard club) confident that I'll have some type of full-ish wedge in my hand after.

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2 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Google earth is one of the greatest inventions for golf course strategy. I will go through and do something similar to this in preparation for a tourney, whether I have played the course 1000 times or not. Most of the time I don't limit it to fw width but distance between boundaries, trees etc. Now sticking to that plan is a whole nother issue. 

YES! I look up every new course I play and also try to find scorecard information so I can know par, scorecard yardage, and handicap as well as rating and slope. Every factor plays into how I might play a course and then when I get there and see things with my own eyes, it can quickly change. I may see I have more room to hit driver than I thought or there could be some obstacle that didn't present itself on the map that now prevents me from using the strategy I originally worked up in my head.

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