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13 hours ago, fixyurdivot said:

I don't agree with this statement. A good many people like traditions (myself included) and there is nothing wrong with that point of view. If we evolve the course layouts, many of which are quite outdated and simply landlocked, to keep in step with the advances in technology and player athletic ability, then the distance debate becomes much less an issue.  I've stated in other related threads that I have no desire to see drives rolling up onto par 4 aprons or greens with regularity.  That's not the sport I grew up with and personally would not find interesting to watch.  Perhaps it's time for the Extreme Distance or 3 Club Golf Tour, 7800-8000+ yard courses?  

I recently played with a PGA pro who was practicing for a Rocky Mountain Regional event.  He played black tees (7053/73.9/135) and overpowered a number of holes.  We discussed this very topic.  He wholeheartedly agreed that advances in technology, combined with a significant increase in many more athletes playing the sport, have made many courses undergunned.  He felt some changes are in order but, like so many, not really sure what will work for all involved.

 

 

 

Regardless of traditions, the game has always changed. They went to rubber balls from featheries. Steel shafts from hickory. Metal woods from persimmon. Solid core balls from wound. The invention of the sand wedge. The 60 degree wedge. Shoot, at one point, they didn't even allow center shafted putters. All these changes either added distance, or made the game easier. Sure, the long hitters have an advantage, but they have always had an advantage. One tradition that will never go away is, that regardless of the equipment, there still are a lot of players that still can't hit the middle of the club face, still slice, and still three putt. The guys that overpower a course are the absolute cream of the crop. That guy you played with was probably very good, but his talent is nowhere close to the guys on Tour. The game at the elite level has changed a bunch, but the typical club golfer is still trying to put two or three good shots together. I really hope the USGA and R&A don't react to the Pros in a way that will hurt the recreational player.

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11 hours ago, HardcoreLooper said:

I can't answer this question for other people, only for myself. 

A long, high iron approach just looks good in the air.  When it starts 20 feet left of the pin and just tips over to the right, lands pin high and rolls a few feet to leave the player with a well-earned 10 footer for birdie?  That's just brilliant.  Or a slinging draw that hits into the false front to kill the speed, then rolls up to 15 feet?  Chef's kiss.  It's precision, over a long distance.  It separates the technically strong with speed (you can't hit a long iron if you're slow) from the merely fast.  Proximity to the final target is probably also a factor in it.  The differences between the great shot, the average shot and the poor shot are immediately apparent.

A 350 yard drive that finishes within the playing corridors leaving the player with a wedge just isn't as compelling to me.  TV coverage gives you very little feel for length, and the target (which now is the corridor, with the fairway just being a bonus) is so much larger.  It just doesn't have the precision of the approach shot, so it's not as interesting to me.  Golf is exciting when the margin of error is small and the penalty for failure (or even mediocrity) is large.

That's not to say that the power game isn't the right way to play the game right now.  It obviously is.  Does it make me want to watch?  I fast-forward through quite a bit of it.

I think you'd probably be disappointed even if the long iron approach shot was brought back into the fold. There are very few, if any, coaches on Tour that are teaching their guys to shape the ball on every shot. Pretty much every guy out there can do the 9 box drill, but when it comes to playing the game, most coaches today are preaching to their players to own one shot shape. The only time they'd coach a player to hit a different shot shape than that is if the situation truly demanded it, i.e. there's an obstruction blocking them from hitting their preferred shape. You'd never see DJ hit that drawing 3 iron. Not unless there were trees obstructing his ability to hit a fade. He'd also be targeting the fat part of the green and would likely never take on a pin with a 3 iron. Even as good as he is. The corridor you talk about with the driver is the same approach a lot of these young guys are using throughout their bag. They're utilizing their shot variances to pick their targets rather than trying to force a shot at the pin with a shape they're uncomfortable hitting. Even some of the older guard are on board with this thought process. Heck, Tiger's basically done it his entire career.

I also wonder though why a guy like Bryson who hit 58% of his fairways last season with a driving distance over 322 yards doesn't meet your qualifications of precision over a long distance. Tour average GIR is 65% and that covers all approach shots. It's like 46% as you get over 200 yards. Their proximity from over 200 yards ranges from 50 to 75 feet from the hole. These guys are good, but they're not that good that they can pull off the shots you talk about so fondly with any shred of consistency.

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Didn't Arnie say Grip it and Rip it 50 years ago?

I've actually started going the other direction. My home course is 6600 from the back tees, and I hit driver on 7 holes. When the course really dried out in July/August, I only hit driver on 5 holes. I could hit it on 10 holes, but there's little reason to hit it on some of them.

The first hole is 320, and I'm not loose enough to try and drive the green. #12, is 415 yards, but the driver landing zone is 15 yards wide between a hazard and OB. #3 is the odd one because there's no obvious reason to not hit driver, but I'm usually at a better distance with a 3 wood.

It's about staying back to a full shot with a club I trust instead of having an in between distance where I can't control spin.

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Regardless of traditions, the game has always changed. They went to rubber balls from featheries. Steel shafts from hickory. Metal woods from persimmon. Solid core balls from wound. The invention of the sand wedge. The 60 degree wedge. Shoot, at one point, they didn't even allow center shafted putters. All these changes either added distance, or made the game easier. Sure, the long hitters have an advantage, but they have always had an advantage. One tradition that will never go away is, that regardless of the equipment, there still are a lot of players that still can't hit the middle of the club face, still slice, and still three putt. The guys that overpower a course are the absolute cream of the crop. That guy you played with was probably very good, but his talent is nowhere close to the guys on Tour. The game at the elite level has changed a bunch, but the typical club golfer is still trying to put two or three good shots together. I really hope the USGA and R&A don't react to the Pros in a way that will hurt the recreational player.
I've said that before too. Don't rule against everyone because 15 guys on tour destroy it.

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23 minutes ago, Bosox04 said:

Regardless of traditions, the game has always changed. They went to rubber balls from featheries. Steel shafts from hickory. Metal woods from persimmon. Solid core balls from wound. The invention of the sand wedge. The 60 degree wedge. Shoot, at one point, they didn't even allow center shafted putters. All these changes either added distance, or made the game easier. Sure, the long hitters have an advantage, but they have always had an advantage. One tradition that will never go away is, that regardless of the equipment, there still are a lot of players that still can't hit the middle of the club face, still slice, and still three putt. The guys that overpower a course are the absolute cream of the crop. That guy you played with was probably very good, but his talent is nowhere close to the guys on Tour. The game at the elite level has changed a bunch, but the typical club golfer is still trying to put two or three good shots together. I really hope the USGA and R&A don't react to the Pros in a way that will hurt the recreational player.

Fair points, and yes, at present it is a very small percentage of tour players driving (no pun intended) the debate.  Personally, I just like seeing the pros play more of their golf bag then the increased hitting distance and landlocked course lengths allow.  The USGA and R&A can do nothing (at least that I can think of) to limit physical strength and swing mechanics.  Playing the round with Thane really made it clear just how much of an advantage big distance hitting is. 

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I remember growing up when Tiger was just hitting first gear in his career.  Smashing the ball a mile, not hitting many fairways, and using his short game to his advantage.
Today, there is another game changer doing the same thing. I don’t know if I was to young to notice, but I don’t remember Tiger getting all of the heat from golf media outlets.  Although, he did force Faldo into retirement... Probably because things like social media didn’t exist.
When I play, my goal is to be as close to the green on the first shot as possible.  I have never found many fairways so I am used to being in the trees, rough, or worse.
Distance is king out there, it has been proven for a long time. Even Jack was a long hitter.
Moral of my story is.... I don’t think there is such a thing as a wrong way to play golf... people are just mad they can’t keep up with B.A.D., much like the governing bodies think anchored putting is bad, soon enough driver length will be 41”... 
Just stop, and let them play golf.  If that is a 400 yard drive and a putt... or 250 yards a 7 iron, chip, and putt.  
 
The more I read this the more it is just me rambling... anyways, I am liking my new found distance, and will look for more so I can have the shortest iron in hand on the next shot.
What say you?



I agree with you on all points except ones- Tiger was actually quite straight (for how long he hit it) with driver when he first came it. Mid career was when Tiger’s accuracy with driver started to suffer.

All sports change. I love baseball, absolute love it. It has changed so much over the past decade that it’s incredible - it will change again as hitters start to learn how to defeat the shifts thrown at them.

I love golf as well. I’m not going to be one of those old guys who doesn’t appreciate the games evolution.


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I agree with you on all points except ones- Tiger was actually quite straight (for how long he hit it) with driver when he first came it. Mid career was when Tiger’s accuracy with driver started to suffer.

All sports change. I love baseball, absolute love it. It has changed so much over the past decade that it’s incredible - it will change again as hitters start to learn how to defeat the shifts thrown at them.

I love golf as well. I’m not going to be one of those old guys who doesn’t appreciate the games evolution.


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15 minutes ago, revkev said:

 

 


I agree with you on all points except ones- Tiger was actually quite straight (for how long he hit it) with driver when he first came it. Mid career was when Tiger’s accuracy with driver started to suffer.

All sports change. I love baseball, absolute love it. It has changed so much over the past decade that it’s incredible - it will change again as hitters start to learn how to defeat the shifts thrown at them.

I love golf as well. I’m not going to be one of those old guys who doesn’t appreciate the games evolution.


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I have to get my rant on baseball in.....

I love baseball, played for many years,  legion, college, summer leagues, into my 30's and only quit playing because of bad elbow & shoulder issues.   I DESPISE the way hitters approach the game today......HR or K.  If there is a shift on then much like a golfer with one shot shape in his bag they do not make any adjustment but try to hit it over the shift for a HR.  Unless you are facing the Phillies current bullpen you are likely to fail.  If defenses tried to play a shift on Brett, Carew, Rose or Gwynn I set the over / under on their average at .550.  

I watch less and less baseball each year.  Apparently I am not alone as their ratings seem to drop a bit and the younger fans are not getting involved in the game.  I hope golf is careful about how it evolves the game so it doesn't follow baseballs path.

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4 hours ago, Bosox04 said:

Regardless of traditions, the game has always changed. They went to rubber balls from featheries. Steel shafts from hickory. Metal woods from persimmon. Solid core balls from wound. The invention of the sand wedge. The 60 degree wedge. Shoot, at one point, they didn't even allow center shafted putters. All these changes either added distance, or made the game easier. Sure, the long hitters have an advantage, but they have always had an advantage. One tradition that will never go away is, that regardless of the equipment, there still are a lot of players that still can't hit the middle of the club face, still slice, and still three putt. The guys that overpower a course are the absolute cream of the crop. That guy you played with was probably very good, but his talent is nowhere close to the guys on Tour. The game at the elite level has changed a bunch, but the typical club golfer is still trying to put two or three good shots together. I really hope the USGA and R&A don't react to the Pros in a way that will hurt the recreational player.

I agree with this completely.  Willie Park won the first Open Championship with a score of 174.  The tournament was played going 3 times around the 12 holes at Prestwick, 3800 yards.  That corresponds to about 5700 yards for 18 holes, and an average 18-hole score of 87.  What do you think Willie Park would have thought to see Bobby Jones play?  And Jones was astonished at Nicklaus playing a "game with which I am not familiar".  And Nicklaus thinks the same about Dustin and Bryson.  Part of it has been equipment, part has been conditioning of the players, part has been changes in the courses, and part has been tactical changes. Golf is going to continue to change, we can't turn back the clock.

I agree with @revkev:

1 hour ago, revkev said:

I love golf as well. I’m not going to be one of those old guys who doesn’t appreciate the games evolution.

 

 

 

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I have to get my rant on baseball in.....
I love baseball, played for many years,  legion, college, summer leagues, into my 30's and only quit playing because of bad elbow & shoulder issues.   I DESPISE the way hitters approach the game today......HR or K.  If there is a shift on then much like a golfer with one shot shape in his bag they do not make any adjustment but try to hit it over the shift for a HR.  Unless you are facing the Phillies current bullpen you are likely to fail.  If defenses tried to play a shift on Brett, Carew, Rose or Gwynn I set the over / under on their average at .550.  
I watch less and less baseball each year.  Apparently I am not alone as their ratings seem to drop a bit and the younger fans are not getting involved in the game.  I hope golf is careful about how it evolves the game so it doesn't follow baseballs path.


I also played baseball through legion and college - With all due respect I can assure you that none of the players you mentioned would hit .550

Pitching is overwhelmingly better than they faced as is scouting - hence the shifts - great players those guys, but they did not have to face upper 90’s, guy after guy after guy, often got four cracks at the same pitcher who may have had his count on the 120’s by that time. Today it’s more common for a hitter to face a different pitcher every at bat than see one three times.

Baseball will evolve, guys coming up will learn to adapt to defeat shifts and then pitchers will evolve to get them out.




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Well, my 120 range speed did not follow me to the course.  I averaged 270 today off the tee with the Big stick.  About average for me, but I found many more fairways than I thought possible.  There is an extra gear but my left lower back was giving me fits.

I demoed a F9 Driver and hit one on the course out to 287 effortlessly.  I have to work for that big time with the PXG.  A little lighter shaft but same model.

But... I played the rest of my game like a video game.  Everything was just on.  Ended up playing 27.  78 on the first 18, and 36 on the last 9, lipped our two birds too.

 

I need a solid 230 and 215 club.  This Probably going to ditch the 3 and 4 irons for a hybrid or two, or maybe a wedge. 2 hybrid is a 240+ club, and the 3 and 4 irons don’t gain any distance on the 5 iron, at 204ish.

The 52°, 58° wedge set up needs some tweaks as well.  52° is a 120 club and the 58° is a 96 club.  Probably going to go .5°-1° weak on the 52° and .5-1° strong on the 58°. Arccos tells me the 100-150 yard game sucks, so that needs work.  It did cost me 4 strokes today that I remember... and a duffed flop shot for a double on a par 3...

Moral of the story?  I’m not sure yet.

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7 hours ago, FrogginBullfish said:

I think you'd probably be disappointed even if the long iron approach shot was brought back into the fold. There are very few, if any, coaches on Tour that are teaching their guys to shape the ball on every shot. Pretty much every guy out there can do the 9 box drill, but when it comes to playing the game, most coaches today are preaching to their players to own one shot shape. The only time they'd coach a player to hit a different shot shape than that is if the situation truly demanded it, i.e. there's an obstruction blocking them from hitting their preferred shape.

I don't think it's a good idea to shape the ball on every shot.  You talk about doing it if the situation truly demanded it, and when you're in contention to win a tournament and need to make birdie (or eagle) is one of those times.  And again, that's compelling to me.

 

7 hours ago, FrogginBullfish said:

They're utilizing their shot variances to pick their targets rather than trying to force a shot at the pin with a shape they're uncomfortable hitting. Even some of the older guard are on board with this thought process. Heck, Tiger's basically done it his entire career.

Tiger's shown a willingness to rise to the occasion and thrill us with a brilliant shot when the situation demands it.  The 18th hole at the 2000 Canadian Open immediately comes to mind.

 

7 hours ago, FrogginBullfish said:

I also wonder though why a guy like Bryson who hit 58% of his fairways last season with a driving distance over 322 yards doesn't meet your qualifications of precision over a long distance.

The smaller the target, the bigger the thrill, for me.  And the farther away from it you are, the more thrilling.  I enjoy watching approach shots more than tee shots.  I am not saying that it does not take skill to hit a ball 330 yards and put it on the correct side of the corridor to maximize your chance of getting the ball close with your approach shot.  It absolutely does take a ton of skill to do that.  It just doesn't get me excited when watching a tournament on TV.

 

8 hours ago, FrogginBullfish said:

Tour average GIR is 65% and that covers all approach shots. It's like 46% as you get over 200 yards. Their proximity from over 200 yards ranges from 50 to 75 feet from the hole. These guys are good, but they're not that good that they can pull off the shots you talk about so fondly with any shred of consistency.

You're absolutely correct in the statistics you cite.  And if anyone wants to get into contention, they're certainly going to execute their game plan and not try a low percentage shot on a Friday or Saturday when they're trying to move up the leaderboard (and not down). 

But I don't want to watch the tour average late on a Sunday afternoon.  I'm hoping to watch a couple of guys who are battling it out, really feeling it, and playing to win.  And hopefully there are some really compelling shots to make it worth the watch.  

 

 

 

 

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You're absolutely correct in the statistics you cite.  And if anyone wants to get into contention, they're certainly going to execute their game plan and not try a low percentage shot on a Friday or Saturday when they're trying to move up the leaderboard (and not down). 
But I don't want to watch the tour average late on a Sunday afternoon.  I'm hoping to watch a couple of guys who are battling it out, really feeling it, and playing to win.  And hopefully there are some really compelling shots to make it worth the watch.  
 
 
 
 
That Tiger shot on 18 at the Canadian Open is a perfect example of a system like DECADE though. Tiger wasn't aiming to hit that shot. He was aimed at the centre bunker at the back of the green and hit a push cut to get it where it ended up. It was a brilliant result that was born out of a correctly selected target. Had he hit the shot as intended, he'd have been left of the flag in the fat of the green.

Collin Morikawa hammered this stuff home at the PGA this year in the final round too. The driver on the tee shot on the driveable par 4 to 8 ft when he made eagle. His 9 iron into 18 was pure DECADE. His aim point was like 20 ft right of the flag but it accounted for the pull he ended up hitting and he ended up in a great spot. Had he not let go of the club in the follow-through, nobody would have known he hit a hot pull there.

DJ shot 30 under at The Northern Trust hitting to the fat of the green on 71% of his approach shots.

I get it though. Those long approach shots hit close are great to watch. They're just so few and far between and honestly the vast majority of them aren't even close to intentional results. The all time greats might pull them off more often than others but it's likely just that they're able to maintain tighter shot variances with longer clubs than other players so they can take on some slightly more aggressive targets than those other players. And by having tighter variances, they're able to end up with a better result more often.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is short of there being obstructions in the way, there's no need for a player to force a shot shape that isn't their stock shape, no matter the scoring context. If someone is running out of holes and has a 215 yard approach shot and is in need of a birdie, they have a better chance of a birdie by playing aggressively to a conservative target. They could potentially pull off the hero shot but it's such a small percentage shot compared to the other one and brings the big number much more into play.

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19 hours ago, Kenny B said:

Yeah, you are a big hitter.  Not Chris big, but still big.  Well-struck drives at my course leave me with anything between LW to 3H depending on the which par 4 hole.  I like the wedge shots; the 3H and 6i shots, not so much.  My odds of hitting the green go way up, the closer I get to the green.

I think for my age, my driving distance is a little better than average, but excessively so.  I must be the odd man out here, but I actually like hitting my 5-7i on second shots.  I paid good money for the damn things, so by God their getting used 😁.

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14 hours ago, HardcoreLooper said:

I don't think it's a good idea to shape the ball on every shot.  You talk about doing it if the situation truly demanded it, and when you're in contention to win a tournament and need to make birdie (or eagle) is one of those times.  And again, that's compelling to me.

 

.........

But I don't want to watch the tour average late on a Sunday afternoon.  I'm hoping to watch a couple of guys who are battling it out, really feeling it, and playing to win.  And hopefully there are some really compelling shots to make it worth the watch.  

 

 

 

 

I like see the aggressive iron shots late in Sundays round as well.  It doesn't have to be a long iron for me, flighting & shaping a low iron to a buried back left or right pin under pressure is just as impressive to me.  Since they are at or near the top for the week they generally are the ones most in tune with their swing and controlling the ball better than anyone else that week and have a better chance pulling off the shot than the rest of the field.  Since that gets TV coverage and the good shots get replayed it probably skews our impression of how often they are successful as a whole.

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To test the theory, the next single round I play will be from the forward tees.  I ‘Should’ be able to get super close to the green on most of the holes. Same deal, hit as far as I can off the tee, even if that includes driving some greens on par 4’s.  There won’t be too many. 3 greens on the front side will be. Really close on, two of them are gettable from my normal tees on the right day.

Back nine I can only think of two on the back that will be driveable.  I may look at the last few tournaments and see how many really short par 4’s and and play the tees accordingly to match what they are seeing.

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1 hour ago, Shankster said:

To test the theory, the next single round I play will be from the forward tees.  I ‘Should’ be able to get super close to the green on most of the holes. Same deal, hit as far as I can off the tee, even if that includes driving some greens on par 4’s.  There won’t be too many. 3 greens on the front side will be. Really close on, two of them are gettable from my normal tees on the right day.

Back nine I can only think of two on the back that will be driveable.  I may look at the last few tournaments and see how many really short par 4’s and and play the tees accordingly to match what they are seeing.

What are the yardages involved with your tests? At the courses I routinely play here in MT and in AZ, there are maybe two par 4's that I can reach from the white tees. The last course I made the green off the tee was #16 at Emerald Canyon, from the white tees. Very few par 4 holes at <300 or that are close but have water, wash area, etc. 

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2 hours ago, Shapotomous said:

I like see the aggressive iron shots late in Sundays round as well.  It doesn't have to be a long iron for me, flighting & shaping a low iron to a buried back left or right pin under pressure is just as impressive to me.  Since they are at or near the top for the week they generally are the ones most in tune with their swing and controlling the ball better than anyone else that week and have a better chance pulling off the shot than the rest of the field.  Since that gets TV coverage and the good shots get replayed it probably skews our impression of how often they are successful as a whole.

I get what you are saying here,   but that is not how golf strategy is trending.  Players are learning to play without emotion and playing to percentages.  I suggest just following Scott Fawcett on Twitter and see how all pro's are changing their strategies to score more effectively.   Players have 20+ yard wide dispersion patterns coming into a green and are just as likely to hit it to 2 feet as they are to 60 feet since they don't know which shot of their pattern will come next.   This is true with every shot a player takes.   

Scott provides a great example where the announcers are saying Tiger needs to be aggressive to win a tournament (he is one behind the leader in the clubhouse with 3 holes to play) and he does not change his targets on any of the holes from where he played in the first 3 rounds.  

All players from college through tour level are solid ball strikers and they strategy they are being taught is pick your spots.   Even my golf instructor it teaching me this type of strategy.   My scores are the results of bad ball striking, not necessarily poor decision making.  

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