I've been thinking lately about my game and the rounds I've played and the scores I've posted. I'm practicing quite a bit in all aspects of my game and I know that I have improved a lot over the winter in virtually all aspects of my game. I know this because I can see the improvement in my range sessions and in certain shots that I hit during rounds. My statistics also show that I have improved as my FIR, GIR, and putts per round have all improved since last year. My scoring and overall score has not improved at the same rate as my other stats. Obviously there are so many factors that can prohibit level improvement compared to certain stats, but I can just tell that I should be scoring better. So this got me to thinking about how I manage my round. I'm pretty sure that my course management skills are poor and with improvement in decisions that I make during the round, this should improve my scores.
Specifically, I believe the problem is with second/third shots on holes, particularly the long par 4's and on par 5's. I believe that it's an issue when I cannot "comfortably" reach the green with my shot. For me in the average conditions for this time of year, the yardage where I would say this starts to be an issue is from 175+ yards out. From yardages under that, I can usually hit a pretty good shot and get around the green.
Here's an example that happens quite often.....on one of the par 5's at my course, I will hit a drive and will be left with 250 or sometimes more yards to the green after my drive. Sometimes I'm in the fairway, sometimes not. Regardless, it's still too far for me to reach in two at that yardage whether I'm in the short grass or in the rough. While I cannot get there I still try to get as much yardage as I can and many times this results in me hitting a 3 wood. I hit that club okay, not great and not that bad. Because most of the par 5's play uphill and into the wind at my club, even if I hit the 3 wood really solid (which does not happen all the time), I'm left with an approach shot that can sometimes still be more than 150 yards. If I hit a duff, then I can still be out from over 200 for my third shot.......I think that I am attacking this the wrong way and instead should hit the club that I have the best chance of making solid contact with and getting some distance out of. Maybe a 5 or 6 iron for my second shot instead of 3W or 2H? I'm not going to get there anyway and the chances are better that I will make more solid contact with an iron. Does this make sense? Should I do this or am I nuts and should hit the wood?
This also happens on long par 4's too. I will sometimes have 200 or more yards to the green. Again, I can hit 3 wood and if I really get it good then I have a small chance of getting on the green. Since the chance is so small of getting on the green but the chance is high that I will hit a poor shot, I'm thinking that it makes more sense to play that situation as a green that I get on in 3 instead of 2, even though it's a par 4.
I'm hoping that this strategy will eliminate those handful of bad shots that I seem to give away in rounds. My playing partners may call me a wuss but I would rather score better and be a wuss then hit low percentage shots. Your feedback/advice is greatly appreciated.