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235 Out on This Par Five - What's the Play? - Page 8

post #127 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post

As usual, you miss the point and don't read the actual post.
I am not talking about a chip being harder than a shot from 100 yards.
You are butting into every single thread and you don't even know what they are about.

Have you never ever heard or of or seen players lay up to a comfortable distance? For the shot that follows?
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of golfers make is to hit their second shot as far as they possibly can on every par 5 and every par 4 they can't reach.
That's because it's easier to get up and down from a chip than a full shot ESPECIALLY on this hole where there is no room long or around the pin to spin, if you lay up there is still a good chance you will miss and you are in a worst spot then if you hadn't, and a have another stroke
post #128 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

Ok well that's your preference but its not that way for all, and 30 yards is a chip because you don't worry about yardage but mainly about feel and you bring it back a quarter and through a quarter, and also you would never have a 30 yard shot in this senario unless you seriously mishit it

My 22* hybrid only goes about 210 yards. And into a wind, it may only go 200. That would indeed leave me with a 30 yard shot. And I didn't seriously mishit anything in that scenario.
post #129 of 263

What would I do?

 

I'd grab my 3 wood, aim at the tree on the left side of the fairway, and hit a low cut letting it roll up from left to right toward the hole, that's my standard 3 wood shot if I have the option anyway.

 

That's the "plan". What actually happens?

 

3 scenarios:

 

1: I hit it straight, and it goes into the trees on the left.

2: I cut it too much, and land in the front right bunker.

3: I hit it too hard and end up in the trees behind the green.

 

Note that the plan doesn't fall under any of the 3 actual scenarios. g1_wacko.gif

post #130 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Answer being typed up now.

 

Though calling it an "answer" gives it too much weight IMO. I do feel I will back up my opinion fairly well, though.

 

It may take me awhile. Please keep posts in the meantime as on topic as always.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

And though it's OT (but done now), and a bit commercial, because you're a long-time and valued member and because it's not golf-related, we are happy to let you keep a single simple sentence in your signature. a1_smile.gif

 

Thanks...looking forward to the answer.

post #131 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

That's because it's easier to get up and down from a chip than a full shot ESPECIALLY on this hole where there is no room long or around the pin to spin, if you lay up there is still a good chance you will miss and you are in a worst spot then if you hadn't, and a have another stroke

Depends, mike weir won the masters laying up on every par 5 at Augusta national. His wedge game was far more superior than his long game.
post #132 of 263
He
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Depends, mike weir won the masters laying up on every par 5 at Augusta national. His wedge game was far more superior than his long game.
probably laid up because he couldn't get there, and that takes away the reward and is all risk, but maybe that's true but for most scratch+handicappers that's not true
post #133 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post


Depends, mike weir won the masters laying up on every par 5 at Augusta national. His wedge game was far more superior than his long game.

You might be thinking of Zac Johnson - but Weir may have too. Neither of them are huge hitters.

post #134 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil McGleno View Post

Hit it 200-To take everything out of play-Leave a chip or whatever straight up at it.

 

I think I like this the best. I think.

 

Interested to see what Erik has to say though about it. 

post #135 of 263
Thread Starter 

Okay, time for the "answer." As I said above, "answer" isn't the right word. And though I feel pretty strongly about what is the "best" play, as with anything like this, two things are true:

  • I could be wrong, and I'm happy to discuss it.
  • Your individual situation may be unique. Maybe you are absolutely terrible at hitting a 4I, or you can't chip a ball to within 20' to save your life, or whatever. This discussion deals with generalities, not individual situations.

 

The second is more likely than the first. a2_wink.gif (To those who don't know me very well, that's a jab at myself. a1_smile.gif)

 


 

Dave and I have spent a lot of time observing how people play golf, and by and large, we feel that there's a LOT that can be done for golfers to help them overcome some basic course management flaws. We've started caring more and more about this because we believe that there's a lot more to improving at golf than learning the full swing. We're geeks, and we want to make people better at golf, regardless of the means - whether it's the full swing, short game, pitching, chipping, putter or wedge fitting, or course strategy - we'll do what we can to help make golfers better.

 

Strategy is one of those other aspects of the game that, seemingly, needs to be taught more than it is. Yes, we're coming out with a book (KickStarter project will launch some day… eventually…), but that's about the last I'll mention of that. This isn't promotional, I'm just mentioning that so that people have some understanding why this topic interests me right now. This example may even make it into the book, because it struck Dave and I in the fairway as a good example of a situation to which people would have all sorts of answers. If 235 yards isn't your "hybrid" distance, the distance can be adjusted so that the shot is pretty much the "same" to you, and then the answers will make sense to you as well.

 

So, we thought we'd get a good amount of discussion with a lot of answers, and y'all proved that correct. You gave several answers, but I think they can be lumped into roughly three groups. Those groups are:

  • Go for the green.
  • Lay up close to the green.
  • Lay up to ~100 yards.

 

I made a birdie 4 (but bogeyed the next two holes before birdieing the par-five 17th to shoot +1 total and E on the back nine), but that doesn't make my play the "right" one. It's important to divorce the result from the choices - sometimes an unusually good or bad shot (or good or bad luck) will change the result, but the choice was still what it was.

 

The "winner," in my opinion and based on the information I'll lay out below, is the second: lay up close to the green. I hit a stock 4I because even if I pured it, it wasn't reaching the bunkers, I couldn't flub it much (and even if I did I'd have a wedge in), and it wasn't going to get into any trouble at all unless I quite literally shanked it or something, but then again shaking it will get you in trouble regardless of the shot you choose, so… :-)

 

I hit the shot fairly straight (two yard cut), and left myself a pitch just about straight up the green. I chipped a 9I that flew a yard too far (just past the top edge of the bowl), made a very "hollow" sound, and bounced and rolled 15 feet past the flag into the back fringe an inch or two. I tapped the putt (it's quite steep - 4% all day) and it dropped in for a four in which I technically "scrambled" and missed the GIR (by a few inches). The worst score I was going to make with this strategy was 5 (par). The best was birdie with a very, very, very slim chance of eagle (chip in).

 


 

Why "Laying Up to 100 Yards" is the Wrong Play

 

The short answer: The closer a player is to the hole is the single biggest determinant in how close their next shot is. Or, to put it in sarcastic terms: "You're telling me that you'd rather play from 100 yards than 20 yards? So if we made a deal that every time you were off the green but inside 100 yards, you had to pick your ball up and walk back to 100 yards without penalty, you'd do it?" No, you wouldn't, and that's why it's the wrong play here.

 

The longer answer: Though occasionally a PGA Tour player will lay up to a yardage where they can spin the ball, these are often situations where:

  1. they need to spin the ball to get anywhere near the hole (i.e. it's tucked over water or a big bunker or a tier or something)
  2. there are bunkers at 65 yards and 125 yards, so 90 fits between them well
  3. they're stupid a1_smile.gif (Seriously, sometimes PGA Tour players are guilty of making the same mistakes as a lot of people.)

 

In fact, a MUCH better predictor for score is "going for its." It talks about how many times pros "go for it" - trying to get on or near a par five in two, or on or near a par four with their tee shot. There's a fairly tight relationship between pros who "go for it" frequently and scoring averages on the PGA Tour.

 

But okay, let's say I've laid up to 100 yards. Let's look at what some PGA Tour level players (players WAY better than I am) can do from there:

- The leader (Tiger Woods) hits the green from 100-125 yards only 86.79% of the time. The 100th ranked player (I'm going to use 100 a lot) hits the green only 74.8% of the time (let's call it 75%).

- From 100-125 yards, the leader in proximity is 15'1" (Robert Garrigus). The 100th ranked player is 19'10".

Since we're missing the green 25% of the time, we're going to have to scramble. The leader in scrambling is 66% (Bob Estes), while #100 is 56.99%.

 

So, let's crunch the numbers.

 

- We hit the green 75% of the time, to a distance of about 20 feet (which is a good thing, since that's about all the room that's around that flag at all - 15' long is in the fringe, 15' right is in the fringe, we have 30' left of the flag, and 15' short of the flag is a slope down into the bowl). The rest of the time we're scrambling. We can scramble only 57% of the time, meaning we are making bogey 43% of 25% of the time.

- We're making birdie from 20' only about 11% of the time, and that's generous because this isn't a PGA Tour quality green (additionally it's very sloped - about 3.5% on average in that section of the green).

 

So:

 

Miss GIR:

((6 * 0.43) + (5 * 0.56)) * 0.25 = 1.345

 

Hit GIR:

((5 * 0.89) + (4 * 0.11)) * 0.75 = 3.6675

 

Total expected score (for 100th ranked player on PGA Tour in all stat categories): 5.0125.

 

So, basically, I'm making par. The times I three-putt (which I didn't even add in, but which is a real possibility with the bowl so close to the hole location) and fail to scramble are more than offset (though not by a lot) by the times I make birdie after hitting the green (11% of 75% of the time).

 


 

Why "Go For It" is the Wrong Play

 

This one will be a bit tougher to justify using statistics, because the unique features of this green and target and hole location are unusual. Those features include:

  • A heavily tilted green, with some parts being steep enough to roll off and the remainder of the green being about 3.5% on average.
  • An immediate slope of 15' or so beyond the back of the green, from which simply staying ON the green is considered a pretty darn good shot.
  • The relatively small area in which to stop the ball on the level of the flag.
  • The relatively steep bowl which will lead to a long putt IF you hit the green.
  • The fact that the shot required is a fade of fairly good length, and yet long and left is D-E-A-D.
  • The bunker shots with which one would be left are from 40 yards, uphill 10' or so, and to a small portion of the green over which, once again, is D-E-A-D.

 

Let's look at some actual figures, now.

 

- From 200+ yards (and this is from 235 yards to a very sloped green WITH a bowl, two bunkers, and a cliff over the back, WITH a reasonable sized fade), the best PGA Tour player hits the green 62.96% of the time. #100? 43.8% of the time.

- When these players manage to hit the green, their proximity to the hole is 41'6" at best and #100 is over 50'.

- From 52' or so, players three-putt fairly often. In fact, from "25+ feet" the leader 3-putts about 5% of the time while Mr. 100 is three-jacking over 10% of the time. They'll make the putt for eagle less than 2% of the time.

 

So what's their score if they hit the green (43.8% of the time)?

(3 * 0.01) + (4 * 0.88) + (5 * 0.11) = 4.1.

 

Basically, the player will average a score of 4.1 IF they hit the green (and bear in mind these putting stats are from 25+ feet, when in all reality the putts will likely average 50' or so given the bowl and the unlikelihood of a ball sitting in the 15' radius circle around the cup very often. In this light, I consider two putting 88% of the time generous, as this green is quite steep throughout the entire green, unlike most PGA Tour greens).

 

4.1 * 0.438 = 1.7958.

 

Now what if we miss the green? We have the advantage of only lying two, after all. But things aren't looking good for us. Either we're in the sand with a LONG bunker shot (40+ yards), or we're short in the rough (pitching to a small area, but that's manageable), or we're long and down the steep slope behind and left of the green, from which recovery is VERY difficult - in fact, just keeping your ball on the green is often considered a good shot.

 

In fact, being over the green is such a lousy place to be, we can almost consider the putting stats from 25+ feet above, with one extra shot added to the score for the pitch:

(4 * 0.01) + (5 * 0.88) + (6 * 0.11) = 5.1.

 

But let's see how it shakes out by looking at scrambling from farther away.

 

The current leader (Luke Donald) is 100% in sand saves from 30+ yards (he only has two attempts, however) and Ben Crane is first with 75% from 20-30 yards. #100 on each list is 31.25% (5 of 16) and 46.43%. I don't think it's particularly unfair to rate our likelihood of getting up and down from the bunker at about 20%. In fact, I feel that's incredibly generous given the facts that: a) we're not PGA Tour level golfers, b) the green is severely tilted, c) PGA Tour bunkers are pristine, and manicured the same every week, and d) there's a massive drop-off behind the green. So, 20% is generous, but we'll go with it.

 

So, if my ball winds up in the bunker, that's easy math:

(4 * 0.2) + (5 * 0.8) = 4.8.

 

Now, if my ball winds up over the green, well, as I've said, that's lousy. I already quickly estimated that the average score would be 5.1. You'll have to trust me a bit, but again, realize that I said the green was 10-15' above you, and consider how high that is. Look at this image from the first post:

 

AppleMark

 

Do you see the guy on the left? He's halfway into the green. Notice how you can't see any grass behind the ball? That's because he's already six feet above the ground level behind the green, with the green still above his head. It's a B-A-D spot to be.

 

Jerry Kelly leads in scrambling from > 30 yards at 44.9%. #100 is at 28%.

 

So just quickly looking at these numbers:

 

(4 * 0.28) + (5 * 0.72) = 4.72*

 

* This doesn't take into account the slope of the green, and it's why I feel the 5.1 number above just based on putting (again from only 25+ feet when you could easily have a putt from 50+ feet) is more realistic.

 

So, combining all of these, we have the 1.7958 from hitting the green 43.8% of the time. I'm going to say we're pitching or hitting out of the rough 60% of the time, and 40% of the time we're in the bunkers.

 

((5.1 * 0.6) + (4.8 * 0.4)) * 0.562 = 2.79876

 

Add the two up: 2.79876 + 1.7958 = 4.59456.

 

Let's call it 4.6. Things look good for "going for it," especially if you can hit the darn green.

 

 


 

Why I feel Laying Up *Just* Short is the Right Play

 

Short answer: Because I'd favor going for it if the green weren't so severe and the punishment so large, so the next best option is getting close and taking my chances at getting up and down for birdie, or two putting for par at the worst the vast, vast majority of the time.

 

- Because we'll lay up in the fairway, we'll have a clean lie, a good look at the hole, and an uphill chip. There aren't any good stat categories that present this type of shot, so we'll look at proximity from 30+ yards: Zach Johnson leads at 8'7" and #100 is 12'6". This includes shots from the rough, though. I consider the severity of the greens a wash because we've not shortsided ourselves, and that cancels out hitting through or over the bowl IMO.

- Vaughn Taylor leads at 41.75% from 10-15'. #100 is 28.97%.

- Ben Curtis (#100) 3-putted from 10'-15' 0.88% of the time.

 

Given the proximity of about 12'6" and the fact that we're knocking home a birdie 28.97% of the time and three-putting less than 1% of the time, the math becomes:

(4 * 0.29) + (6 * 0.01) + (5 * 0.7) = 4.72.

 

What these putting stats don't account for is that we have some control here, or more control than we typically do when putting (because many putts from 10-15' occur after an approach shot, so the ball may be above the hole, on a sidehill slant, etc.). Chipping from just short of the green increases the odds of leaving ourselves the easiest putt if we think about it at all, and the easiest putts are the relatively straight uphill putts.

 


 

So by the math, using PGA Tour player #100 for the best available stats, going for the green would win out by 0.12 strokes.

 

Didn't I thus contradict myself? Isn't going for it the right answer?

 

Yes… if you're a PGA Tour player! A big part of what separates the average PGA Tour player from the average golfer is their abilities in a few areas. One of the bigger ones is the long game. These players hit the green from 200+ yards 43.8% of the time, which dramatically drops the "go for it" number, even if we do all we can to factor in the green and the length of their likely putts.

 

Additionally, we can't truly capture in stats how difficult getting up and down from the bunkers or long of the green will be. The PGA Tour stats are, as I've said, for average PGA Tour courses. A green with this tilt and a 15' "cliff" behind it is unusual. And even the average single digit player is as likely to make 6 from long or in the bunkers as they are to make 4, or maybe more likely. You've gotta make a big swing for a long bunker shot, and hit awfully close to the ball, too. Or you'll have a 50' putt out of the bowl. And if you're long, and leave it short going for the hero shot, you'll struggle to get up and down for PAR let alone making birdie.

 

After all, we're looking about about one tenth of a stroke difference. The fact that the green has a collection area in front (the bowl) makes the 0.1 disappear relatively quickly.

 

Still, if I was scoring this (and I'm not, but I hope this exercise has proven interesting), anyone who said "go for it" would get a B, especially if they said "go for it but err on the side of leaving it short." Long and/or left is dead, again. Anyone who said "lay up close" (and there were only a few) would get an A. Anyone who said "lay up to a comfortable yardage" gets a C if I'm in a good mood. a1_smile.gif Seriously, the next time you're less than 100 yards from the green, go pick up your ball and walk it back to your "comfortable wedge distance" and play from there. I think you'll see what I'm saying about that idea pretty quickly. :-)

 


 

So that's my answer. Again, it may not be correct, but I feel pretty strongly that it is. Our book will have certain "rules" in it, or ways of looking at scoring that you can apply to your game, and one of them, particularly for anyone who isn't a Tour level golfer (any professional tour level, really) is "avoid bunkers at all costs."

 

FWIW, I played three other par fives that round.

 

- On the first hole, from the fairway, I had 270 or so into the green. There's a fairway bunker 50 yards short of the green, and two greenside bunkers. The pin was tucked back. I hit a hybrid into the fairway to about 90 yards (as close as I could get without running the risk of hitting into that fairway bunker), a 2/3 sand wedge to the back fringe, and just missed the 20' putt for birdie. Par.

- On the sixth hole, from the fairway, I had 277 to the green. I hit a 3W (the only trouble were two greenside bunkers pin-high) that just trickled onto the front of the green. I two-putted for an easy birdie.

- On the 17th hole (17 yard wide fairway), I hit the fairway and had 235 to the green again. There's a collection area left of the green, and I drew a hybrid a little and ended up just through it in the rough five yards from the green. I had a relatively simple pitch to two feet. Birdie.

 

In other words, I got as close to the green each and every time while doing everything reasonable to avoid serious trouble. On the first hole, that meant the fairway bunker. On the sixth and 17th holes, that meant going for it. On the 13th hole, that meant not messing with a long bunker shot or going over the green.

 

And yes, it's anecdotal, but I was -3 on the four par fives, with the one par coming from a 20' putt that almost went in and a tap-in left for par.

 


 

Whew.

 

That was a lot to type out. If I linked to the wrong stat, please let me know. If I made some other math mistake or something, please let me know. It's getting late, and I'm tired, and that was a lot to type. a1_smile.gif But I think this should further the discussion, and I'm happy to have possibly made a few people think about this.

post #136 of 263

So, basically I win :)

post #137 of 263

I think 95% of PGA Tour players would go for the green. Actually, more like 100%.

post #138 of 263

Great thread. Very sound answer...And I would still hit the cut 3W.a3_biggrin.gif

post #139 of 263
Thread Starter 

BTW, the answer likely changes quite a bit if the hole is cut in the bowl. It takes long out of play, and makes BOTH bunker shots A TON easier. In the front of the green, the play is to cut a 3I or baby a hybrid cut in there.

post #140 of 263
Doesn't change my mind- thats an easy green to hit and if you hit a low hybrid you are in the middle and could run up and if not you have an easy chip- no matter what you are par or better... And the only real reason the pros lay up to 100 yards is because if they hit a ful 3 wood they would be like 70 yards away(in between clubs) so they will hit a hybrid or something to a full club... Or the other reasons he stated
post #141 of 263

I like the "answer" a lot. This is the first time I've read this discussion. As soon as I read the situation, I thought 3i. If I flush it, I'm on the green with a long eagle putt (assuming a solid bounce when it lands). And I'm happy because my lag putting is usually spot on. If I miss it, I'm probably fairly close and chipping straight-on at the pin. Not my best play, but I'm still going to have better results than laying up to a full wedge, statistically speaking. I'm not hitting a cut 3w, because I'm just not that accurate with that club. When I pull a 3w, I'm typically trying to hit it as far as possible, not to a particular yardage. That leaves a lot up to chance. 

 

Great discussion though. I love the setup and some of the responses. 

post #142 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post


Choice is then between hybrid and a long iron. If I'm going to hit iron, I would throttle back and take probably a 5-iron, in order to avoid the bunker and aim for the front fringe.

So my second choice was the correct one! Isn't it always. a3_biggrin.gif

EDIT: FWIW, I'm pretty sure it it was my game, I would have gone for the backup plan layup that I described in my post. Hit a 5-iron or so to the front fringe, short of the bunkers. 235 is too far for me to hit a hybrid, and maybe a touch too short for a 3-wood. Plus, there's a pretty sizable drop-off of accuracy (distance-wise and left/right) for me between hybrid and 3-wood. Hybrid I feel like I can control at least a bit, 3-wood is a lot more "hit and hope."
post #143 of 263
Hmmm, well, I greatly appreciate the in depth analysis. I have to say I'm kinda shocked at some of the numbers. Tiger only hits the green 86% of the time from 100-125 yards?! The #100 player only hits it 75%?! That's shocking to me.

Even with all the statistics, I'm still hitting 9iron to 105 and then a nice smooth wedge in. I could pull my 4 hybrid and try to hit up there about 200 yards, but there's a 30% chance I hook it or push it. Then I'm looking at bogey. Even if I hit it perfect down the left side, I'm not confident a 35 yard pitch shot is going to get inside 15'.

But the statistics do make me think about it more. My regular playing partner ALWAYS tries to hit it as far up on par 5's as he can, leaving a shorter 3rd. I ALWAYS lay up to a good distance 115-105 for me. Most of the time I walk away with par. And although he has more birdies with his strategy, he also makes more doubles. I'll have to rethink my strategy (and work on my shot from 30yards and in).

Good thread.
post #144 of 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyrtleBeachGolf View Post

Hmmm, well, I greatly appreciate the in depth analysis. I have to say I'm kinda shocked at some of the numbers. Tiger only hits the green 86% of the time from 100-125 yards?! The #100 player only hits it 75%?! That's shocking to me.

Even with all the statistics, I'm still hitting 9iron to 105 and then a nice smooth wedge in. I could pull my 4 hybrid and try to hit up there about 200 yards, but there's a 30% chance I hook it or push it. Then I'm looking at bogey. Even if I hit it perfect down the left side, I'm not confident a 35 yard pitch shot is going to get inside 15'.

But the statistics do make me think about it more. My regular playing partner ALWAYS tries to hit it as far up on par 5's as he can, leaving a shorter 3rd. I ALWAYS lay up to a good distance 115-105 for me. Most of the time I walk away with par. And although he has more birdies with his strategy, he also makes more doubles. I'll have to rethink my strategy (and work on my shot from 30yards and in).

Good thread.
If you leave yourself in a bad position on this hole you will still make par, its when there are hazards and stuff in the way
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