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Play the "right" way—or ditch the driver?


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5 hours ago, cnosil said:

Saw your Twitter post that you lost more strokes on your short game.  Did you have more or longer short game shots than normal or was it just a bad day with the wedges?  

Incredibly bad day. Absolute, flaming garbage of a bad day. Number one area for improvement on the round (and I didn't need Arccos for this):

image.png

I had multiple holes on which I missed the green with chips from right beside the green. For the most part, they weren't thins or skulls: my hands just lacked all judgment today and I kept hitting balls too hard.

EDIT: Did some counting through my Arccos data. I took 47 shots on the round of nine. 17 of those shots were drives or approaches. I hit only 2/9 greens.

I had 15 putts.

If I had gotten on the green with a wedge every time I missed the green, I would have shot a 39. Instead, I had 15 wedges within 40 yards or so.

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Feel for you. Golf is like a whack-a-mole. Improve one part and another problem pops up

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It sounds more like you need to be fit into a driver that works for your swing. Given your comment about AOA of your driver swing, you may need a shaft with the correct kick point and flex for your swing. Club heads also with weight posts front and back may help as well. If you can hit 240-250 with a 3 wood, no reason not to be able to hit a driver. Maybe not just the one you have.

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5 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:
  • Hole 9: 187, lost it right, hit a tree and came back in the fairway

All told, Arccos gave me a -1.2 SG:Driving for the round, compared to my 10 round average of -5. I think that might be my best SG:Driving on the front nine of my course.

 

When this is what happens to your worst tee shot, take it as a sign you're on the right path 😉 Ride the 3w until it goes cold and you get driver figured out. 

Nearly 4 SG improvement is a nice result. What is your average GIR on that 9? Looks like you averaged about 235 with 3w dropping that last hole which is comparable or higher than your average driver distance. (But shorter than your good ones). 

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I too have suffered with bad driver play from time to time, while still hitting the 3W really well. 

Couple of things: 

1) The driver is the only club that you want to hit as far as you can.  If you are ever worried about hitting it too far, then club down to 3W.  Way too many guys grab driver on anything that isn't a par 3.

2) It all depends how far you hit your three wood and the courses you play.  If you can hit a 3W 250 with decent accuracy, you are better than 95% of the amateurs out there.  If you want to play from the tips (7000 yds +) in a gross club championship, you probably will need to learn to hit the driver.  But just shelve it until you take a lesson(s).   If you are playing reasonably casual from 6500, not hitting the driver is fine when you have zero confidence in it.

3) While it is a slightly different swing than other clubs might be, much of it is probably now psychological.  "I just can't hit it".  From an objective point, hitting a 3W off of a tee is not that different, but it is a little different.  Similar to "I can't hit the lob wedge".  A lob wedge normally has little difference from the sand wedge.  (4 degrees and some bounce change), but people think because it is a "lob" wedge they need to be hitting massive cut lob shots with it.  It is just another wedge.

4) if you can hit a 3W 250 legit, that probably means you are hitting 9 or PW 150 because you have nice swing speed.  On a 400 yard par 4, you could hit 3W then 9.  Pretty good.  

Me personally, I haven't given up on the driver as I want to be a club championship competitor, (Plus I can't let the driver win!)  A few lessons might get you over the hump in both swing and in the mind.  It did for me.  It still isn't my favorite club, but I am not scared when I tee it up, not having any idea where it is going to go anymore.  2 lessons.  

Cheers

Tigger

 (PS. sucks not having a driving range.  Sorry about that)

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I'm very similar. I actually ditched my driver. I cover the ball with my normal (non driver) swing, so switching between that and hitting up on the ball (with a driver) just ruins my swing consistency.  Yes, I could practice both swings, but I am lucky to play a round a week. I too hit a solid 240/250 with my 3 wood. It's boring golf, but try playing skins with your buddies and just pound the fairway consistently. You will score better. Its just a mind wrecker to not go for the "optimal" driver shot when you know you have it in you somewhere. I think of it like laying up on a guarded par 5. You do that 10 times and you probably gain 3 strokes vs. going for it in those 10 holes. Yeah you may have had an eagle putt or two, but you also hit it in a bunker 5 of those 10 times. Same concept on your tee shot. For sprayers, every tee shot is "guarded," and off the planet is always a possibility. Also, if you can hit 240+ with that 3 wood, your approach game from those drives should still be very reasonable. Your 2nd shot is an easier club to hit than the guy who hits his driver 240. 

Bottom line, take it out of your bag for a couple rounds and see if you enjoy the game more. See if you score well. 

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After reading this entire thread, I have a few comments:

1. Could everyone please go to Youtube and pull up their favorite PGA/LPGA pro. Then look for them hitting driver and them hitting 3w. Now, tell me if the swings look different? They don't. BALL POSITION may be different, but the swing is the same. As a matter of fact, it looks the same as just about all of their full shots regardless of the club. This is what has gotten in so many golfers heads... that they have to swing the driver different from any other club. It is THE SAME SWING with slightly different ball position. You use a tee because the COG of the head is too high to be practical off the ground.

2. IF your driver FEELS different from your 3w/other clubs.... THAT'S A PROBLEM! Have it weighted to feel the same. It's hard to SWING the same with clubs that don't feel the same. Many think length of drivers is a problem. I built a 47.5" driver back in the spring and it is as easy to hit as my regular 44.5" drivers. Sure, dispersion is a bit wider, but only cause the ball is going further. It is weighted so that it feels like all my other drivers. Proper balance promotes better and more consistent contact.

3. For those who say they have issues hitting anything other than the driver off a tee, I say don't. Yes, the golden rule is always to try to get the perfect lie on every tee box. However, that doesn't necessarily involve a tee. Unless the teeing area is rock hard, I simply tap up a bump of turf with the toe of my club and place the ball on it. It's the same height as a low tee and you don't have the impact resistance that is sometimes felt when the club hits the tee. It also give you confidence to hit those FWs off the deck like they are supposed to be hit.

4. Correct Loft - The OP is using the EFSZ which is a low spin head. When the ball is contacted center to high center, spin is typically very low. Even when the loft is set to it's highest. I play the King LTD Pro which is also low spin. My CHS is around 110 right now and I play the loft at the maximum 10° setting. My typical contact point is center to just above center and sometime the random slight heel center with an AoA of no more than +1°. Even into a good headwind, I get a very piercing flight with about a 12° LA. I see a lot of golfers wanting to play low spin heads at lower loft settings and then trying to hit massively up on the ball to get their desired LA while minimizing spin. This is totally unnecessary. My ball spin numbers are in the low 2000's and I never have balls balloon with my driver. Make the driver fit your swing, not your swing fit the driver.

Lastly, Decade says to play the longest shot without getting in trouble. Many times that's a FW, hybrid or iron. Watch the pros, the SMART ones play what gives them the best chance of hitting the green with the next shot. On courses where the rough is extremely penal, they shoot for the fairway. On courses where the rough is not penal, they play for best position.

BT

 

Edited by RI_Redneck
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I had a similar stretch for several years, a couple decades ago - I absolutely could not hit a driver, but my 3W was generally in play with a slight draw, a bit shorter than your yardages. As others have posted, you seem to be getting adequate distances with a minimum of penalty/misplay events. I eventually sorted out my driving issues, but in the meantime, the scorecard didn't care what I used.

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You answered you own question....right?

Your scorecard doesn't give a DAMN of how pretty you were tee to green

If you cant let it go.  For gods sake get 2 lessons w the driver

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My driver "sucks" right now, so I've taken my 5-wood and dialed it down 1.5° to 16°, giving me 225 yds, opposed to 235 yds with a driver. Difference is I'm in the short grass!

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I have basically given up on hitting the driver (except on the very rare occasions when I am playing in a scramble, and I can just bomb it if one of my teammates has hit a drive in the fairway). Last weekend, I was playing in a two-day Ryder Cup-style event and on day #1 I was spraying the driver all over the place.  On Sunday (day #2), I left the driver at home and put a 7 or 8 year old TM SLDR Mini Driver, shafted with a Fujikura Motore Speeder Tour Spec 7.3 shaft at 43.25" in my bag.  I missed one fairway by about 2 feet and drove the ball great all day with the mini driver, averaging 240-245 yards with it. On Monday in my league, it was the same story, hitting 5 out of 5 fairways with this club, a couple of which were with 250+ yard drives. On Wednesday, I played another 18-hole round and again the mini driver was in my bag. This time, the results were even better, with a few drives of 255+ yards (the best one was 262 yards), and only one missed fairway. With that type of distance off the tee, there is absolutely no reason for this 72 year old to play a "conventional" driver at 45" or longer and with a loft of 9* to 10.5*.

Tomorrow, I am playing in one of those rare scrambles, and I did put a Krank long drive driver in the bag for that event. I figure that one of the other three guys is likely to be in the fairway on the few holes where I will hit driver, so I can just "go for it" on those holes.  If nobody is in the fairway when it's my turn to hit (I am always the last one to hit on my team), I will leave the Krank driver in my bag and hit the mini driver anyway.  I went to the range this afternoon, and hit the Krank driver while I was there. The results were mixed -- about 40% long and straight balls to nice draws with it, and the rest were all over the place.

Edited by funkyjudge

 

Driver: Ping G425 Max, 9*, Miyazaki  Kuala Mizu Tour Issue 6S, 44.75" playing length

4-Wood: Titleist TS2, 16.5*, Miyazaki Kuala Mizu Tour Issue 7S, 42.75" playing length

5/7-Wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero set to 20* loft; Tensei Blue 75-S, 41.5" playing length

Hybrids: Exotics EXS Pro (22*), Mitsubishi Tensei Silver 75S

Irons: Exotics EXS220 5-iron and New Level MODB-1 (6-iron through PW), KBS TGI Tour 80 (stiff) shafts

Wedges: New Hogan Equalizer wedges (48* and 56* + Maltby TSW Forged 52-8, all bent 1* weak

Putter: Evnroll ER2, 34”with Gravity Grip

Ball: Snell MTBx

Spoiler

 

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I had that same issue after I started playing golf again. what solved it for me was, 

Getting lessons and getting fitted. 

Even the best in the game go through phases where the driver, or irons, or putter 'stop' working and sometimes all it takes is a little check-up.

 

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3 hours ago, RI_Redneck said:

After reading this entire thread, I have a few comments:

1. Could everyone please go to Youtube and pull up their favorite PGA/LPGA pro. Then look for them hitting driver and them hitting 3w. Now, tell me if the swings look different? They don't. BALL POSITION may be different, but the swing is the same. As a matter of fact, it looks the same as just about all of their full shots regardless of the club. This is what has gotten in so many golfers heads... that they have to swing the driver different from any other club. It is THE SAME SWING with slightly different ball position. You use a tee because the COG of the head is too high to be practical off the ground.

2. IF your driver FEELS different from your 3w/other clubs.... THAT'S A PROBLEM! Have it weighted to feel the same. It's hard to SWING the same with clubs that don't feel the same. Many think length of drivers is a problem. I built a 47.5" driver back in the spring and it is as easy to hit as my regular 44.5" drivers. Sure, dispersion is a bit wider, but only cause the ball is going further. It is weighted so that it feels like all my other drivers. Proper balance promotes better and more consistent contact.

3. For those who say they have issues hitting anything other than the driver off a tee, I say don't. Yes, the golden rule is always to try to get the perfect lie on every tee box. However, that doesn't necessarily involve a tee. Unless the teeing area is rock hard, I simply tap up a bump of turf with the toe of my club and place the ball on it. It's the same height as a low tee and you don't have the impact resistance that is sometimes felt when the club hits the tee. It also give you confidence to hit those FWs off the deck like they are supposed to be hit.

4. Correct Loft - The OP is using the EFSZ which is a low spin head. When the ball is contacted center to high center, spin is typically very low. Even when the loft is set to it's highest. I play the King LTD Pro which is also low spin. My CHS is around 110 right now and I play the loft at the maximum 10° setting. My typical contact point is center to just above center and sometime the random slight heel center with an AoA of no more than +1°. Even into a good headwind, I get a very piercing flight with about a 12° LA. I see a lot of golfers wanting to play low spin heads at lower loft settings and then trying to hit massively up on the ball to get their desired LA while minimizing spin. This is totally unnecessary. My ball spin numbers are in the low 2000's and I never have balls balloon with my driver. Make the driver fit your swing, not your swing fit the driver.

Lastly, Decade says to play the longest shot without getting in trouble. Many times that's a FW, hybrid or iron. Watch the pros, the SMART ones play what gives them the best chance of hitting the green with the next shot. On courses where the rough is extremely penal, they shoot for the fairway. On courses where the rough is not penal, they play for best position.

BT

 

I disagree with you completely on point #1.  The driver swing is DEFINITELY different than the swing with any other club, including the 3-wood, and you will notice that with every professional golfer.  The driver is the only club that you hit with an upward angle of attack, and it is the only club with which you don't want to be brushing (or as many golf instructors say "bruising") the turf.  Even with a 3-wood, you should have a slight downward angle of attack, but with a driver, you must have at least a slight upward AOA.

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Driver: Ping G425 Max, 9*, Miyazaki  Kuala Mizu Tour Issue 6S, 44.75" playing length

4-Wood: Titleist TS2, 16.5*, Miyazaki Kuala Mizu Tour Issue 7S, 42.75" playing length

5/7-Wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero set to 20* loft; Tensei Blue 75-S, 41.5" playing length

Hybrids: Exotics EXS Pro (22*), Mitsubishi Tensei Silver 75S

Irons: Exotics EXS220 5-iron and New Level MODB-1 (6-iron through PW), KBS TGI Tour 80 (stiff) shafts

Wedges: New Hogan Equalizer wedges (48* and 56* + Maltby TSW Forged 52-8, all bent 1* weak

Putter: Evnroll ER2, 34”with Gravity Grip

Ball: Snell MTBx

Spoiler

 

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1 hour ago, funkyjudge said:

 

 

I disagree with you completely on point #1.  The driver swing is DEFINITELY different than the swing with any other club, including the 3-wood, and you will notice that with every professional golfer.  The driver is the only club that you hit with an upward angle of attack, and it is the only club with which you don't want to be brushing (or as many golf instructors say "bruising") the turf.  Even with a 3-wood, you should have a slight downward angle of attack, but with a driver, you must have at least a slight upward AOA.

I agree with @RI_Redneck.  Swings are the same; ball position and stance width are different.  I can't imagine anyone having different swings for driver vs other clubs.  I don't; Tour players don't.  

Also, an upward AoA is not necessary for a driver.  The Tour average AoA is down 1º.  Yes, an upward AoA might give more yards, but they don't need it and would rather opt for more control.

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9 minutes ago, Kenny B said:

I agree with @RI_Redneck.  Swings are the same; ball position and stance width are different.  I can't imagine anyone having different swings for driver vs other clubs.  I don't; Tour players don't.  

Also, an upward AoA is not necessary for a driver.  The Tour average AoA is down 1º.  Yes, an upward AoA might give more yards, but they don't need it and would rather opt for more control.

Agree. The swing plane changes for a driver vs a 3w just like it does for a 3w vs a 6i. Body tilts change for each as well. 

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I feel fo a lot of folks on this thread, except that I’m jealous how well you hit your fairways off the tee. I actually started leaving mine at home because it has become tool whereby I create new opportunities to hit recovery shots, and nothing more. I have to drop down to a hybrid for a ‘fairway finder.’ As a result I hit a lot of drivers even when I’m struggling with it. 
 

In regards to the AOA on the driver I feel like I hit it well when I het a little hop off my lead foot. I think that adds (or maybe facilitates) some degrees to angle of attack beyond ball position and tilt. However, when I get lazy I sky it nowhere. 

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11 hours ago, AndySP said:

I feel fo a lot of folks on this thread, except that I’m jealous how well you hit your fairways off the tee. I actually started leaving mine at home because it has become tool whereby I create new opportunities to hit recovery shots, and nothing more. I have to drop down to a hybrid for a ‘fairway finder.’ As a result I hit a lot of drivers even when I’m struggling with it. 
 

I agree with you evaluation that people in this thread seem to hit the fairway a lot. I don’t have a fairway finder n my bag.  I am just as likely to miss its any club…I could probably hit a shot iron into the fairway but that would be a useless shot. 

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Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
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Per Shot Scope’s data, most don’t see an improvement when hitting 3 wood off the tee over driver. You could be the exception. Since you are using Arccos, try it for a month and see what the data reveals. 
 

I was in a similar boat for a long time and chose to stick with driver. It forced me to fix the problem. “Figure it out” so to speak. 

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Driver: Ping G425 Max, 9*, Miyazaki  Kuala Mizu Tour Issue 6S, 44.75" playing length

4-Wood: Titleist TS2, 16.5*, Miyazaki Kuala Mizu Tour Issue 7S, 42.75" playing length

5/7-Wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero set to 20* loft; Tensei Blue 75-S, 41.5" playing length

Hybrids: Exotics EXS Pro (22*), Mitsubishi Tensei Silver 75S

Irons: Exotics EXS220 5-iron and New Level MODB-1 (6-iron through PW), KBS TGI Tour 80 (stiff) shafts

Wedges: New Hogan Equalizer wedges (48* and 56* + Maltby TSW Forged 52-8, all bent 1* weak

Putter: Evnroll ER2, 34”with Gravity Grip

Ball: Snell MTBx

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/20/2021 at 5:47 PM, funkyjudge said:

 

 

I disagree with you completely on point #1.  The driver swing is DEFINITELY different than the swing with any other club, including the 3-wood, and you will notice that with every professional golfer.  The driver is the only club that you hit with an upward angle of attack, and it is the only club with which you don't want to be brushing (or as many golf instructors say "bruising") the turf.  Even with a 3-wood, you should have a slight downward angle of attack, but with a driver, you must have at least a slight upward AOA.

You DO NOT have to change your swing to hit up on the ball. Just change the ball's position in your stance so that the club contacts it after reaching the low point in the swing. I mentioned changing ball position in my post which will change the AoA with the same swing. If the golfer benefits from a positive AoA, then they just need to move the ball forward until their normal swing presents that AoA to the ball at contact. This does not REQUIRE any more tilt, but may require a slight grip adjustment to get the face square (or desired FA if not square) at impact.

BT

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