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Old School Bomb and Gouge

Jul. 11, 2006     By     Comments (4)

A quote on hitting driver and wedge… but who is it from?

Guess where this quote comes from?

I'd rather play a wedge second shot out of rough than a 5-iron from the fairway if I gain 40 or 50 yards by doing it… There's ninety ways to get out of the rough after a long drive, but no way at all to pick up those yards you've lost by hitting them soft.

Tiger after his T2 at the Western Open? Phil discussing his strategy at Hoylake or Winged Foot?

How about Sam Snead in his 1962 book Education of a Golfer? You wouldn't have guessed it, but the same problems that "plague" the PGA Tour these days "plagued" the game in the 1950s, too. Or was golf "in ruins" back then, too? If so, how did it survive?

Guess what? The game back then was still won by the guys that put the ball on the green in regulation and putted well, just as Dave has shown it does now.

Thanks to Golf Blogger for the lead.

Discussion

  1. Andy Greenwald says:

    Kudos for the research of a quote.

    I still don't think you get it, but here goes another attempt.

    The courses have been lengthened during Snead's career and during the last 50 years, to keep up with the golfers gain in distances. This lengthening was needed to keep distance and accuracy on an appropriate balance for the players of their time. This is natural evolution.

    Of course, 40 yards longer should be a better scoring position than 40 yards back. Dave's research did not really point this out. His research indicated putting (40%), followed by GIR (30%) are the key factors in scoring followed by fairways hit (20%) and driving distance(10%). I think it stated the obvious, but calculating the percentages was certainly worthy.

    However, here is the key point, the distance gain by the technology of Titanium woods, nano shafts, and hi tech golf balls in the last 10 - 15 years has grown significantly more important in these past 10 years. This distance gain has caused a shift in pro golfer's focus to be more on distance than in accuracy. This distance focus has tipped the balance to the longer hitter's more than in years gone by. Thus, the golf swings of the top players has changed to generate more distance and possibly less accuracy.

    There is a reason that Vijay, Phil, and Tiger hit the ball a mile. The big 3 respective short games are fantastic as well (this is why they win big tournaments and they can compensate for their wildness at times, but Bubba Watson does not win), but the changes have tipped the scales to distance being rewarded more than pinpoint accuracy right now. I am also looking at the bigger picture than just the top 3 names.

    This imbalance of distance versus accuracy is what really needs to be corrected somehow by the course setups. Pro Golfers should win by showing all facets of the game (putting, short game wedges, short and long irons, drives, etc.) in my opinion.

    I doubt Nicklaus, Snead would win tourney's in their time when their drives were finding the fairway 40-50% of the time. Yes, they were longer than their peers, but many of their peers had a chance by finding the fairway and greens more often through accurate drives being as rewarded as long drives.

    I (along with others) just feel that the distance vs accuracy imbalance needs to be corrected, or we will not see guys like Jeff Sluman in the future generation.

  2. Andy, there's nothing to "get," and you'd do yourself a favor if you stopped positioning yourself as the one person who does "get it." It's an arrogant position to take, and unfortunately, one based solely on the emotional appeal that the game is in ruins.

    Dave's research clearly shows that driving distance does not result in hitting the ball closer to the hole. Look at this article - the long drivers hit the ball, on average, 0.42 inches closer to the hole than the accurate drivers.

    Distance hasn't tipped the focus. Dave's 40-30-20-10 rule shows that driving accuracy and distance combined barely make up for putting, and that GIR and putting combined are still 70% of the game. So, factually, you're wrong, despite what your little heart believes.

    There is a reason that Vijay, Phil, and Tiger hit the ball a mile. The big 3 respective short games are fantastic as well (this is why they win big tournaments and they can compensate for their wildness at times, but Bubba Watson does not win), but the changes have tipped the scales to distance being rewarded more than pinpoint accuracy right now. I am also looking at the bigger picture than just the top 3 names.

    Except that you're not. You have no statistics to back up your assertions. Yet Dave's articles do have these statistics and facts, and you choose to ignore them.

    You want pro golfers to have all facets of their game tested, yet you ignore the fact that hitting greens and putting account for 70% of a golfer's ability to place highly in a tournament, on the money list for a year, etc. It's been demonstrated on the PGA, Champions, and LPGA Tours.

    I doubt Nicklaus, Snead would win tourney's in their time when their drives were finding the fairway 40-50% of the time. Yes, they were longer than their peers, but many of their peers had a chance by finding the fairway and greens more often through accurate drives being as rewarded as long drives.

    They're rewarded about as equally in the modern game as well. The accurate drivers make almost exactly the same amount of money as the long drivers, many of whom fail to keep their PGA Tour cards each year.

    Sorry, Andy, but there's nothing to "get." Hogan whined that golf in his day was a putting contest, and he managed to win because he hit so many greens and putted reasonably well. Snead wanted a wedge from the rough instead of a 5-iron.

    Not much has changed, and the facts and statistics don't support your claims that it has.

  3. Andy Greenwald says:

    I appreciate Dave's research in calculating the percentages for the factors (and said so in my response), and I do not believe the game is "in ruins". I think the TV contract is more detrimental to the game than the increased emphasis on distance on the Pro Tour.

    I believe the pro tour game has tilted to a power game and that distance has more emphasis/importance than it used to have or should have. I would simply argue that if enough people agree with a viewpoint that distance and power seem to be more emphasized in today's game and courses, maybe there is a grain of truth to it. Nick Price believes it, he seems pretty knowledgeable to me.

    I was just trying to provide you with more background on what some people (like myself) see in the pro tour golf game. It's perfectly fine to disagree.

  4. I believe the pro tour game has tilted to a power game and that distance has more emphasis/importance than it used to have or should have.

    Unfortunately, what you believe does not jive with the facts, Andy. I'm a broken record here. Your beliefs are wrong, and can be proven wrong.

    Nick Price is knowledgeable, but he's also approaching 50 and the fact that he's still reasonably competitive shows you that he isn't right. Same with Fred Funk. Corey Pavin of all people has made nearly half a million dollars and will probably finish in the top 125 this year.

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