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When do you use Iron off the Tee? (Or anything other than Driver)


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Anytime it leaves me to play 150ish and in. I’m much more consistent with an iron off the tee and it leaves me in a good spot to capitalize. As long as it’s 150 or less I’m looking at a 8 iron or less into the green which I feel comfortable scoring with

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I've been practicing on playing more target golf and it seems like more often than not, my driver stays in the bag, whenever I play a practice round...targeting the 150 markers, or a very specific position (e.g. short of a trap, on the fattest area of a dogleg) and at times, i'll work backwards from a hole strategy and try to execute (e.g. I want a full wedge into the green so I'd have to hit a certain distance off the tee, etc). It's been making me a bit more deliberate on my approach to the game while giving me an opportunity to work on different aspects of my game and not just driver, short iron, chip, and putt(s).

In a comp/match, I'll use my driver a good amount to have the shortest approach possible, to increase my chances at scoring. This is of course calculating to avoid hazards or forced carries with an average hit...not the full distance of perfect strikes.  

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On 7/31/2021 at 8:49 AM, RollingGreens said:

Anytime it leaves me to play 150ish and in. I’m much more consistent with an iron off the tee and it leaves me in a good spot to capitalize. As long as it’s 150 or less I’m looking at a 8 iron or less into the green which I feel comfortable scoring with

Great way to lower your scores. Find your favorite <150 club and play to that distance as much as possible.

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On 7/31/2021 at 7:59 AM, juspoole said:

@Shankster - I think you covered it pretty well in your initial post.  For me it's usually 2 hybrid on a tighter hole and where the distance isn't needed quite as much.   

This does get me wondering where the trade off of aggressive play would be for the chance at a birdie.  I was just listening to the Chasing Scratch Podcast and they had the guy who developed strokes gained and it was pretty interesting.  There is an app out there you can get your own percentages and I think it may be worthwhile to try.

Read Broadie's book, Every Shot Counts, to get a more detailed understanding of Strokes Gained.  It'll make you think critically about advice to lay back rather than get closer.  If there's not a specific reason to hit a shorter club(terrain, narrowing fairway, bunkers, hazards), I always try to get as close to the hole as possible.  With a tiny bit of practice, I know I'm better from 50 yards than from 75, better from 75 than 100, etc.  There's really no reason to avoid partial shots, almost all of us will still get closer to the hole, on average, with a shorter partial swing than we will with a full swing from further back.

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When hybrid is too much club

Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

Putter: Scotty Caemeron Super Rat1

Ball: Titleist Prov1

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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Read Broadie's book, Every Shot Counts, to get a more detailed understanding of Strokes Gained.  It'll make you think critically about advice to lay back rather than get closer.  If there's not a specific reason to hit a shorter club(terrain, narrowing fairway, bunkers, hazards), I always try to get as close to the hole as possible.  With a tiny bit of practice, I know I'm better from 50 yards than from 75, better from 75 than 100, etc.  There's really no reason to avoid partial shots, almost all of us will still get closer to the hole, on average, with a shorter partial swing than we will with a full swing from further back.

I agree. Alot of people think they have a great 150 yard or 125 yard shot, but if you really looked at the numbers they would be shocked how many greens they miss from there.  Just think what is your Par 3 scoring average? Most of us are over par, and much worse than your par 4 or par 5 averages relative to par. And that's because you are not hitting greens with your irons.

From 125-150 yards, Danny Willet is averaging a miss of 27 feet from the fairway, 48 feet from the rough, 59% GIR from that distance and he has probably has a wedge in his hands. Most of us could not hold Danny Willet's bag or make his tea right. 

Chop the distance to 75-100 yards which is likely a partial shot for him and Willets GIR is 94%. Approach from fairway is 11 feet. Approach from rough is 16 feet. 

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It's a function of Length and Girth... Of the fairway (Don't be nasty). And Dassit! 

- Raj

HDCP 12
Driver - Taylormade M5 9 - HZRDUS Smoke S
Irons - Ping i200 AWT 2 stiff shafts
Wedges - Titleist Vokeys 50, 55, 60
Putter - Odyssey Fang 2 Ball

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8 minutes ago, Raj LP said:

It's a function of Length and Girth... Of the fairway (Don't be nasty). And Dassit! 

Manolo?

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this happen to me on sunday .. played couple holes and my driver was just not working for me and the course was pretty tight so I switch to 3w mostly but on couple of holes I hit 5 iron and ended up paring both holes where I laid up. To me it was feel .. I wasn;t feeling the driver so just felt what I thought would be the right club to use on that hole. 

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6 iron is my longest iron so never on anything other than a par 3. 
 

I will hit less than driver for trouble avoidance - that’s the only reason why. I’m generally an accurate driver and not very long, taking driver out of my hand significantly impacts my ability to score. 

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Tour Exotics 3 wood is in the bag because we are allowed 14 clubs.  It's a great club for pulling balls out of the water or from bushes - you never want to put your hand into anything in Florida unless you are absolutely certain that it's safe.  There are rare wind conditions when I might hit it off the tee on a few holes that I play.  

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After reading and listening to a ton of stuff on this I really only use iron if it meets several criteria: 

1. The landing zone that I am hitting at is considerably wider in than where my driver would land. 

2. There are too many hazards in play to use driver (ex. hole 14 at the home course has OB right, forest left and bunkers guarding the green. 325 yards.)

Generally speaking the rule of thumb for me is play what you can hit the furthest AND keep in play.  

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26 minutes ago, Shankster said:

Manolo?

Yes! Glad someone caught it. 🙂

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- Raj

HDCP 12
Driver - Taylormade M5 9 - HZRDUS Smoke S
Irons - Ping i200 AWT 2 stiff shafts
Wedges - Titleist Vokeys 50, 55, 60
Putter - Odyssey Fang 2 Ball

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I have a PXG 1 iron that I use especially on windy days when a high drive or 3w off the tee can be pushed further in the wrong direction. I hit it almost as far as my 3W (with no wind), sometimes farther on firm ground with the run out.

WITB

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PXG 1 iron. Stiff.

Mavrik Sub Zero 3wd. Mavrick 3Hybrid

Mavrik Pro 5-PW. 

Mack Daddy 46, 52, 60 wedges

Odyssey Stoke Lab Marxman

Chrome Soft Triple Track

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PXG 1 iron

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Odyssey Stroke Lab Marxman

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28 minutes ago, MScott said:

I have a PXG 1 iron that I use especially on windy days when a high drive or 3w off the tee can be pushed further in the wrong direction. I hit it almost as far as my 3W (with no wind), sometimes farther on firm ground with the run out.

WITB

Epic Flash Sub Zero. 10o. Mitsubishi Tensei 75g shaft.

PXG 1 iron. Stiff.

Mavrik Sub Zero 3wd. Mavrick 3Hybrid

Mavrik Pro 5-PW. 

Mack Daddy 46, 52, 60 wedges

Odyssey Stoke Lab Marxman

Chrome Soft Triple Track

A 1 iron.  Love it.  I’ll buy you an Ice Tea if we ever meet in person.  Gen 1 or 2? I almost bought one last year.

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31 minutes ago, MScott said:

I have a PXG 1 iron that I use especially on windy days when a high drive or 3w off the tee can be pushed further in the wrong direction. I hit it almost as far as my 3W (with no wind), sometimes farther on firm ground with the run out.

WITB

Epic Flash Sub Zero. 10o. Mitsubishi Tensei 75g shaft.

PXG 1 iron. Stiff.

Mavrik Sub Zero 3wd. Mavrick 3Hybrid

Mavrik Pro 5-PW. 

Mack Daddy 46, 52, 60 wedges

Odyssey Stoke Lab Marxman

Chrome Soft Triple Track

Courage my dude, I'm not super comfy with anything below a 4 much less hitting a 1 iron! 

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Only on par 3's.  Only other time I don't use Driver is on tight holes or holes with trouble where I will probably play my 5W

Driver: Cobra F6

3W: Titleist TSi3

5W: TM RocketBallz -(my favorite club)

Hybrids: Cleveland 2-4

Irons: Callaway Apex DCB 4-PW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SMB 52 & 56

Putter: TM Rossa Monte Carlo Mallet 

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I irons off the tee to hit my number on short par 4s or to avoid hazards and bunkers. 
 

I also had a coach teach us on par 5s you should go 5 iron, 5 iron then that will give you full scoring club into the green. 

WITB

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3wood- Mizuno ST190( don’t like)

2hybrid- Taylormade Rocketballz tour 

4-PW- Srixon ZX7 

49- Vokey SM7

54- Jaws5 

62- PM grind 

Putter- triple track two ball 

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It's something I'm still working on, but I like to try to play the hole in reverse...basically shooting to a targeted approach distance.  So, that usually determines what I use off the tee.  Any trouble can play a factor as well.  But there are also times when I'm really feeling it with the driver, and I just pull it on everything, but that can get me in trouble if I get to a close distance I don't like going into the green with.

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I ONLY hit irons off the tee when it's a Par 3 I'm playing. I have 4 woods in my bag, 3,5,7, and 9. Nine wood is 24*'s with a carry of 205, so my longest iron is my 6i. Depending on what distance off the tee works best, I'll hit one of my woods and that usually means Fairway hit and an iron into the green on Par 4's or high loft wood for the second shot on par 5's. MY driver is about 265 carry so if that will not get me into trouble off the tee, I hit driver. My 18* 5 wood is good for 255 total, so that is my club of choice on most short Par 4's, especially a dogleg hole where more than 265 means running through the fairway and into the rough. 

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I use my 4i, 5w and 3w off the tee pretty frequently. I prefer hitting driver when possible but my home course has 6 holes that I have to use the other 3 clubs to tee off with. It’s mostly due to a creek that runs throughout the course. Many of the tee boxes are up high with the creek running across the fairway down below. So I have to use less club to stay short of the hazard. Another hole has a tight fairway that slopes hard to the right forcing you to hit the left fairway which will funnel your ball back to the middle. The problem is there are woods lining the left that start about 230 yards from the tee box. I use my 4i to tee off with because it only carries about 215 yards which keeps me short of the trees if I go too left. This takes the penalty out of the equation and it funnels me back to the middle for my approach. Hope that helps give you some ideas. 

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