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More fairways = more greens/better scores?

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My approach play from fairway or semi-rough is my worse part of my game, especially when I'm over 150yds and out. I'm not the most consistent of ball strikers so spin and control don't necessarily come into my thoughts The semi at my club is short so in a lot of cases the ball sits up making it easier to hit. Looking at my Skycaddie stats over the last 20 rounds I see no correlation in my numbers between FIR and GIR. Currently siting at FIR 59%, GIR 43% 

Recently was fitted for a shorter driver to improve my dispersion but lost 10-15 yds. So got it lengthen, my thought being no use being in the fairway if I'm a couple of clubs longer into the green. 


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  • 1 month later...

I see no correlation in my game between hitting more fairways and scoring better. But hitting more greens? Absolutely. If I hit 9+ GIR,  I’m gonna break 80. For me to gain a tangible accuracy increase, I have to club down to 3 iron, so hitting 3 out of 4 fairways comes at a cost of 30-50 yards. Like everyone else, I’m much more accurate with a wedge than a 7 iron; whether it’s in the fairway or rough is of almost no consequence to me. I want to hit my tee shot as far as possible, and give me the shortest approach shot possible.


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At different parts of the year I would have a different answer. During the early spring and late fall when it gets wet, the course grows out the rough more, in that case it is necessary to play for the fairway to have a better chance to hit GIR, during the late spring and summer, more distance=more GIR, the rough is shorter and significantly easier to play from. Biggest thing for me is staying out of the thick rough, fortunately I have been able to score frequently this year from any spot on the course.

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I would want as many fairways as possible. I say that because of the course I play. On a large amount of the holes you need to be in the fairway or even a certain side of the fairway to have a shot at the green. This is because of the layout and trees. We actually have a couple of holes with no rough. Either your in the fairway or in the trees with no shot. Some holes are very narrow as well. 

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Like @Tom the Golf Nut pointed out....this is highly course dependent!  On my course, missing the fairway by much will put you into tree issues in most cases.  Other courses that I've played, there's limited penalty for missing the fairway other than heavier grass.

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FWIW, regression analysis from my last 141 rounds (I was curious):

  • 71% of the variance in my actual scores was explained by FW missed, Greens missed and # of Putts.
  • Standard error was 2 strokes.
  • GIR was the strongest predictor by far, # of putts was second***, FW missed was third predictor.
    • However, *** I count putts only when on the putting surface, if I'm even an inch off the green it's not in my # putts even if I use a putter. My regression and correlation would probably be different if I counted every time I use a putter instead.
    • And if I'm easily in the first cut of rough with a clear shot at the green on my approach, I count is as a FW hit, even though it's technically not. Sometimes I am not aiming for the center of the fairway. And if I've missed the fairway by a couple feet, I don't count that as a miss.

I have no idea if that's representative for anyone other than myself...

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  • 2 months later...

I definitely hit more greens when hitting more fairways, although the difference is only 2 greens per round. Generally if i'm in the fairway I'm going to get more roll and i probably struck it better so i end up with shorter distances into greens as well as the additional distance control that you're going to get with a fairway lie. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

here in Kentucky (and other states I am sure) you better hit the fairway in the spring or kiss it goodbye. Grass grows really fast and thick. I think, the closer to breaking 80 you get, the more important fairways become. I hit about 50% fairways and 20% greens and I am a 12 handicap. Moving up to the "proper" tees has not helped. My iron/hybrid game just sucks. BUT! This year is going to be different! (says the 70yr old who has been playing 58 years)  best I ever played to was a 7 handicap when I was in my 50's. I was using wilson $9 per dozen balls and drove the ball about 250. At that time I hit 60% fairways and 50% greens. So, for me, I need to hit more greens.

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... The Golf Gods giveth and they taketh away. After spending an entire year in Phoenix it has been a Tale Of Two Courses as winter produces light rough of dormant Bermuda that runs faster and longer than most fairways. It can set me up for short approach shots from better angles than the fairway. Flip side is slightly off line in the rough and the ball can run into the rocky, scraggly, bushy desert. So as long as I keep the ball in play, the brown rough and fairway are equal for scoring and some rough is even better than the fairway hitting a speed slot and gaining distance and/or giving me a better angle to the pin. 

... Conversely late spring and summer in the desert produces over watered fairways with thicker green rough so not only is the there little to no roll on the fairway or the rough, the thicker rough can force me to take a shorter club and just get the ball back in position. So hitting the fairway becomes much more desirable in the "off season". The desert also has some strategically placed trees but they are more the exception. Playing in the Midwest is a completely different experience. 

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On 8/11/2021 at 9:16 AM, RickyBobby_PR said:

We see frequently people wanting to improve their fairway hits percentage. Nothing wrong with that as usually being in the fairway gives a good lie and usually a good stance on most courses which in theory makes it easier to hit a good shot.

The question is when you hit more fairways does it increase your GIR that day? Do you score better with more fairways hit on that day?

Me personally I don’t worry that much about fairways hit, hitting more greens for me is more important. I can miss a fairway and be in the first cut and still have a chance to get on the green on most of the courses I play. I’ve had some low rounds with only a few fairways hit but hit 9+ greens or barely missed the green and still get par.


I don't have personal stats on whether FW hit % impact my GIR%.   There must be tour data that can be dug up to answer that question at professional level.  I'd imagine that there is good correlation between FW hit % and GIR %.   Poster is saying that being in the rough (as long as not in the woods or blocked out) is not much of an issue for him (on course he plays).

For me hitting FW is important.  I play on public tracks.  while the rough is not long and most of the time it's not much of an issue, good portion of the "rough" is bare dirt. aka extremely tight lie.  I don't like hitting from dirt.   If the rough is lush and short, sure no problem.

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2 hours ago, pakman92 said:


 There must be tour data that can be dug up to answer that question at professional level.  I'd imagine that there is good correlation between FW hit % and GIR %.   Poster is saying that being in the rough (as long as not in the woods or blocked out) is not much of an issue for him (on course he plays).

Follow Lou Stagner on twitter and you will see these types of stats regularly.   But generally distance trumps lie so the farther you hit it the better.   

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