Originally Posted by trackster
Instead of just hitting a 3 wood, why not just learn to hit your driver accurately? When I started I thought that driver was the only way to go and I was very inconsistent. By the middle of my second year of golf I started to hit a 3 wood off the tee. My scores drastically improved. After a while I hit a snag. I was constantly leaving myself 180-200 yard second shots. I was hitting 3 wood, 3 wood, chip almost every hole. I was tinkering around and started to learn to hit my driver. Again I saw a huge improvement in my scores.
If you hit your driver well then it's seems logical that those of us that struggle with it should just practice more, but I'd argue there's more to it than just practice. The loft, head size, shaft size all lend to make it a tougher club to hit, factor in muscle tension, swing thoughts, pressure from others watching your tee shot and no fairway seems wide enough.
If you watch the pro's they will miss the fairway fairly often, what makes them pro's is they can hit their 2nd shot from the rough, cart path, under trees much further and better than I can. If they miss the fairway, they still have a shot at birdie or par, I typically don't. I hit my driver pretty well at the range, when I take my time and there's no pressure to hit a great shot. I'll still slice or hook a shot, but 80%+ of the time I'd hit it within my imaginary fairway.
On the course, with all the other distractions, etc, I'm closer to 40% - 50%. For me, off the fairway becomes a mental fight, because in my head if my ball is sitting; in the water, lost in the woods, in deep rough, behind trees or buried in a fairway sand trap I know I'm losing at least a stroke for the mistake off the tee. I'm trying to improve and lower my handicap and here I've just blown a hole on the first shot, it gets me frustrated with myself and I'll typically make another mistake or two on the hole for a total blowup.
I just picked up the Callaway X Hot 3Deep and if I catch it right, I'll hit it just as far as my driver, otherwise it's 10 - 20 yards shorter in carry but more rollout. I've had it out for 3 rounds and my biggest miss was the second cut on the fairway. This keeps me mentally in every hole and I've seen lower scores as a result. If I was giving up a lot more yardage I might consider it more of a problem, but I'll take 225 in the fairway over 235 in the thick rough or trees.
I'm also experimenting with some old drivers like the Titleist 975D and 983J. At the range I'm hitting them longer than the 3Deep and almost as accurately. The smaller head, shorter shafts on these clubs seem to work better for me, so I doubt I'll be putting a 460cc, 46"+ shaft driver in my bag any time soon.