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SCfanatic35

Par 4 Issues?

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I have been having some serious issues on par-4's related to scoring. Par-3's, I average about 3.25 shots per hole. On Par-5's, I have been averaging about 5.5 shots per hole. On Par-4's, I have been averaging near 6.5-7.0 shots per hole. What could be some issues playing the par-4's? Usually my 7's and 8's almost always come on the Par-4's. If I can find a way to fix this my scores will come down significantly.
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Off the top if my head I would guess you're hitting too many drivers off the tee when a hybrid or iron might be a better choice in some cases
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Do you hit a lot of wayward drives?  You can usually make up for those on a par 5, but its tough on a par 4.

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I usually tee off with a 3W. The majority of the time my shots are just off the fairway. I hit about 4-5 fairways a round, and when I miss it is usually not too bad. I guess what I don't understand is how I can play the Par-4's to around a triple-bogey? If I can usually get a 6 on a Par-5, then why can't I get a 6 on a Par-4? It's not computing in my brain.
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You are the only one who knows where your shots are wasted. Since this is a specific par 4-issue, I would guess tee shots, long iron shots or short game. Give us some examples of par 4s where you use 6+ shots. List all your shots on the hole.
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When your shots are "just off the fairway", what are the lies? Just off in some first cut shouldn't be a problem. But if you are off in the junky stuff and STILL think you have the right club, you don't. Play back to the fairway with a club that will advance the ball without getting into more trouble. I see too many people trying for the hero shot from a lie that a pro wouldn't attempt. They'll hack at it, clank it 30 yards but still in the rough or brush, then again, same result. Finally they'll hit something towards the green and end up in a trap or worse, get on the green and 3 putt because they'e so pissed off at the previous shots. And there is your 7 or 8 on the card. If the next hole is a similar distance par 4, they get so worked up about the previous hole they over think and hit the exact same tee shot into the rough. But they don't learn from the previous experience and say "I'm gonna do it THIS time!" clank... and it continues. If you're 200 yards out from the thick rough, you aren't going to get that 3 iron anywhere close. 7 wood might get close, though- so a chip and a putt is better than a 170 yard shot from the rough...again. I've gotten into the habit of not playing one round of 18 holes- I play 18 rounds of ONE hole. Each is it's own entity. A 7? Next hole is a new round. Most of the time I will do much better (other than extenuating circumstances like OB or into a lake or something), and I feel better again. But the good holes don't carry over- a new hole is a new round. (but honestly, when it's a good hole, your confidence does go up)
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You are the only one who knows where your shots are wasted. Since this is a specific par 4-issue, I would guess tee shots, long iron shots or short game. Give us some examples of par 4s where you use 6+ shots. List all your shots on the hole.

I guess now that I am thinking about my shots it seems like I am losing most of them on tee shots or long irons. That confuses me because I can hit those on Par-5's OK. Maybe it's all mental? Maybe I feel more pressure to hit a good second shot?

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When your shots are "just off the fairway", what are the lies? Just off in some first cut shouldn't be a problem. But if you are off in the junky stuff and STILL think you have the right club, you don't. Play back to the fairway with a club that will advance the ball without getting into more trouble. I see too many people trying for the hero shot from a lie that a pro wouldn't attempt. They'll hack at it, clank it 30 yards but still in the rough or brush, then again, same result. Finally they'll hit something towards the green and end up in a trap or worse, get on the green and 3 putt because they'e so pissed off at the previous shots. And there is your 7 or 8 on the card. If the next hole is a similar distance par 4, they get so worked up about the previous hole they over think and hit the exact same tee shot into the rough. But they don't learn from the previous experience and say "I'm gonna do it THIS time!" clank... and it continues. If you're 200 yards out from the thick rough, you aren't going to get that 3 iron anywhere close. 7 wood might get close, though- so a chip and a putt is better than a 170 yard shot from the rough...again. I've gotten into the habit of not playing one round of 18 holes- I play 18 rounds of ONE hole. Each is it's own entity. A 7? Next hole is a new round. Most of the time I will do much better (other than extenuating circumstances like OB or into a lake or something), and I feel better again. But the good holes don't carry over- a new hole is a new round. (but honestly, when it's a good hole, your confidence does go up)

Interesting thoughts. I will try some of these when I play this week.

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The fairways can be wider and more forgiving on par 5s, and you may still reach in 3 with a shorter iron from the rough. On par 3s you always got a perfect lie.
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The fairways can be wider and more forgiving on par 5s, and you may still reach in 3 with a shorter iron from the rough. On par 3s you always got a perfect lie.

True. It just is baffling to me that I can shoot 5 or 6 on a 500 yard long hole, but routinely get 7 or 8 on a 370 yard hole. I was thinking maybe I should be hitting a 4h or 5i off of avg par 4's and see if the accuracy of the tee shot helps my scores. It would make for a longer approach shot, but who cares, already scoring poorly.

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Yeah, on a 370 yd hole for instance, you can even hit a 4i or something maybe 200, and have a mid-iron to the green. I did it on one hole in my last round. Wanted so badly to hit driver on the really short 320ish par 4. Wanted a chip/short pitch with 56* into the green. Took 4i instead and had 110 full gap wedge to the green, which I hit. 2 ways to peel that onion. One is way riskier(driver and half wedge) One is safer (full, easy 4i, full easy GW)
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But the driver is so much more FUN, I admit. ... Unless you are hitting 5 off the tee or 3 out of the trees, etc.
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SCfanatic35:  You sound like a person with a pretty good golfer inside that's trying to get out but maybe hasn't come to terms with the mental part of this, the hardest game in the world.  You are eating up par 3's, and doing good on par 5's.  What do those have in common?  You can get to the green pretty easy in regulation.  They don't put so many par 4's on courses to make it easier on us you know.

I'm just now trying to take this silly game back up, but I had the advantage of playing with my father years ago.  He was in his later sixties but still played to a single digit handicap, though he had lost a good bit of distance due to health issues.  He seldom hit a par four in regulation, but he still managed par pretty often.  Try this: stand on the tee and play that par four as a par 5 from the start.  Pick a club you can hit the fairway with from the tee and then don't try to hit the green from 200 yards out.  Lay up for a nice easy wedge that'll maybe be close enough to one-putt, or at least save your bogey.  Look to the par 5's and 3's for your par/birdy opportunities for a while.  Your score card will not suffer.

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Par 4s are normally the 'teeth' of most courses. Par 5s tend to be wide open and you got 3 swipes to get on, and par 3s, well, unless they are long or beset with hazards, you should at least be around the green off the tee. Par 4s, you never know. Quite often, they test the largest assortment of shots in your arsenal. Par 4s.are where the architect takes his revenge.
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SCfanatic35:  You sound like a person with a pretty good golfer inside that's trying to get out but maybe hasn't come to terms with the mental part of this, the hardest game in the world.  You are eating up par 3's, and doing good on par 5's.  What do those have in common?  You can get to the green pretty easy in regulation.  They don't put so many par 4's on courses to make it easier on us you know. I'm just now trying to take this silly game back up, but I had the advantage of playing with my father years ago.  He was in his later sixties but still played to a single digit handicap, though he had lost a good bit of distance due to health issues.  He seldom hit a par four in regulation, but he still managed par pretty often.  Try this: stand on the tee and play that par four as a par 5 from the start.  Pick a club you can hit the fairway with from the tee and then don't try to hit the green from 200 yards out.  Lay up for a nice easy wedge that'll maybe be close enough to one-putt, or at least save your bogey.  Look to the par 5's and 3's for your par/birdy opportunities for a while.  Your score card will not suffer.

I will try the Par-5 approach to Par-4's the next time I play. I will let you know how it goes. I do feel like I'm close to dropping significantly. Sometimes I will par 4-5 in a row. I have been close to finishing some great rounds and then finish 8-7-8 to ruin it. The good news is that I am capable of doing it, just need to be consistent.

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Originally Posted by SCfanatic35

I have been having some serious issues on par-4's related to scoring. Par-3's, I average about 3.25 shots per hole. On Par-5's, I have been averaging about 5.5 shots per hole. On Par-4's, I have been averaging near 6.5-7.0 shots per hole. What could be some issues playing the par-4's? Usually my 7's and 8's almost always come on the Par-4's. If I can find a way to fix this my scores will come down significantly.

Obviously it's highly dependent on the set up of the course(s) you normally play but assuming they're pretty regulation then playing the par 3s well indicates decent iron play and short game/putting. Playing the par 5s at 5.5 indicates either being shortish but accurate or long but a little wild. And playing the par 4s poorly I'd say puts you in the second category, a little wild off the tee. Par 5s are generally more forgiving off the tee and you'll be happy to pitch out/recover and then play a mid iron into the green (similar to a par 3) but on a par 4 you'll probably feel more pressure to go for the green after getting out of position.

So my guess is that while you're equally wild off the tee on par 4s and 5s, on a 5 you're more likely to play for position as you're ok with getting there in 3. On a par 4 you'll still try and get there in 2, make a mess with a lower percentage shot and wrack up a big number.

Playing the par 3s in 3.25 is very promising. Work on staying out of trouble off the tee and taking your medicine when you get out of position and you'll see those scores dropping soon.

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On most courses, I regularly hit irons and 3 wood off the tee on par 4s. If I can get inside 150-100 yards, I'd rather take it than risk missing with a driver. It all depends on the hole. I'd rather be at 80 yards than 130 yards, and if the fairway is safe enough for driver, I'll hit it. On a 370 yard par 4 with narrow fairways, I might hit a 4 iron to 170 yards and 7 iron into the green. I'm far more likely to hit the fairway with an iron than wood or driver. That's just my game; you have to find out what strengths you can play to and what weaknesses you should try to avoid. I know my driver can be erratic at times, so I'll leave it in the bag if I don't want to take my chances. Knowing when to lay up is also necessary. Getting a long iron to the green from 200 yards can often end with you not even getting out of the rough. Unless you're a good ballstriker and feel confident you can hit the ball first, you may be better off laying up inside 100 yards and have a wedge to get up and down. Write down each shot on those holes and keep track of where you throw away shots. Learn from your mistakes and try to do things differently the next time. Remember that you are a handicap 18, which means you are supposed to use around one shot more on each hole. You want to go for par of course, but it's important to know your limits and take the chances when you get them, not trying to force good results.
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Many articles on the 5i approach out there- If you hit a 5 iron 180yds... par 4's of 360 or less are within reach in 2, par 5's of 540 or less are reachable in 3. You can adjust those numbers up or down if you hit it 170 or 190. Trick is to get into a mental approach to the game and realize that you don't have to smash the ball 38 gazillion yards to score well. Heck, my Dad could't hit the fairway with a driver if it was 100 yards wide- so he would hit 5 woods or 3 irons off the tee. Played ALL par 4's as 5's (for his ability anyways) and par 5's were 6's. He was a KILLER chipper and putter and he would save strokes around the green and pick quite a few pockets. He hasn't played in 5 years now due to health reasons, but we took him out as a rider to World Woods a couple of weeks ago. Without holding anyone up, he would drop a ball 10-20 yards off the green and play in with us. Even after not playing for that long he would still get it inside the flagstick nearly every time- so all that practice stuck with him. As a many have quoted and paraphrased- the difference between a good game and a bad game is about 6 inches... the space between your ears.
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