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ohsigmachi

Took the Driver Out of My Bag

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So, first lets's just get this out of the way, I'm a novice. Been playing about 10 months and have already gone through three permutations of my bag setup.

From the very beginning I have struggled with the driver, either very low shots in the very beginning or a vicious slice as I developed more swing speed and "correct" setup. 

Recently I just decided to take the driver out, and wait until I was ready for some lessons. I'm just going to let my Adams 5 wood handle all the 220 yd + duties for a while.

And you know what? The last few rounds I've played, almost all of my shots from the tee box have been in the fairway and I rarely find myself trying to "get back on my hole's fairway." I've also lost considerably less balls.

Am I alone in this?

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4 hours ago, ohsigmachi said:

So, first lets's just get this out of the way, I'm a novice. Been playing about 10 months and have already gone through three permutations of my bag setup.

From the very beginning I have struggled with the driver, either very low shots in the very beginning or a vicious slice as I developed more swing speed and "correct" setup. 

Recently I just decided to take the driver out, and wait until I was ready for some lessons. I'm just going to let my Adams 5 wood handle all the 220 yd + duties for a while.

And you know what? The last few rounds I've played, almost all of my shots from the tee box have been in the fairway and I rarely find myself trying to "get back on my hole's fairway." I've also lost considerably less balls.

Am I alone in this?

The 5 wood is easier to hit than the driver.   The difference is the lack of distance.   Until you get lessons, this is a bandaid fix.   I recommend you get lessons sooner than later and work with an instructor to fix your driver issues.   Your improvement ceiling will be limited until you do.   Not to say you can't play w/o the driver but to get to the next level, you are going to need it.

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No, you are not alone in ditching your driver in favor of another club off the tee. I see this alot. I even do it on those days I am not swinging my driver well. Most of the time I either go with my 3W or 7W. However, I never take the club out of my bag. It's still a part of my tools for golf. 

Ironically for me, my 5W is the club I have the least confidence in. I tend to top the ball with it if not real careful. 

When my driver swing goes south on me, it's usually do to my own lazyness, and not swinging the club with enough speed. Other times, it's a stance/ball position issue, where I have let the ball creep too far back in my stance. In both instances, I am not closing the club head into the ball correctly. I will sometimes practice swinging the driver without a tee'd up ball. Hitting balls "off the deck" forces me to get the club head around, and into the ball correctly.  

 

Edited by Patch

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I agree that learning to hit driver is important.  

 

OP, consider reading this: 

 

It's a great article that I regularly revisit when my own driver isn't up to my standards. 

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I haven't carried a driver for years.  When I'm playing all right, I hit my 3W as far as my regular playing partner hits his driver (he's about 20 years older than me, though).  I have tried lessons with different instructors and never got anywhere.  Trying to swing a driver made me hate playing so I took it out of my bag and haven't looked back.  I may never break 90 but the way I play, breaking 100 again is questionable. 

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I play semi regularly with a guy who doesn't carry a driver either. He carries two different 3 woods and a 5 wood. He pounds that freakin three wood he as far as he did a driver, anyway.  He's a pretty good player too. 6-7 handicap i think. 

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10 minutes ago, krupa said:

I haven't carried a driver for years.  When I'm playing all right, I hit my 3W as far as my regular playing partner hits his driver (he's about 20 years older than me, though).  I have tried lessons with different instructors and never got anywhere.  Trying to swing a driver made me hate playing so I took it out of my bag and haven't looked back.  I may never break 90 but the way I play, breaking 100 again is questionable. 

I think you can break 100, regularly Matt, even with just hitting 4 clubs your comfortable with. So if you have a comfortable club you hit off the tee. A couple comfortable approach clubs and a club from around the greens. You'll be fine.

Edited by onthehunt526

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These threads pop up a couple times a year. It's better, in the long run, to learn how to hit a driver:

  1. A driver goes further than a 3 wood, so you're costing yourself distance and thus strokes.
  2. Driver is the most forgiving club in your bag.
  3. Driver has the biggest face of any club.
  4. 3 woods are the least forgiving club in your bag (unless you have a 2 iron I guess).

Personally, getting my driver under control was the biggest factor in improving my scores. I was the guy that only hit 3 wood for a long time. I quickly dropped strokes when I started to be more consistent with my driver.

All of this is in the long run. If you can't hit driver without slicing it off the planet, then, yes, use your 3 wood off the tee. On that day. But you're not going to play your best golf if you don't learn how to hit a driver.

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5 hours ago, dennyjones said:

The 5 wood is easier to hit than the driver.   The difference is the lack of distance.   Until you get lessons, this is a bandaid fix.   I recommend you get lessons sooner than later and work with an instructor to fix your driver issues.   Your improvement ceiling will be limited until you do.   Not to say you can't play w/o the driver but to get to the next level, you are going to need it.

This is pretty good advice.

The driver has the greatest amount of influence on my rounds, both good and bad. Having gone through this experiment at various times myself, I learned I don't necessarily score better without it. Part of it is because I don't give it enough credit when I hit it poorly but get a decent result due to forgiveness. Plus I can miss the fairway with any club off the tee.

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27 minutes ago, DeadMan said:
  • A driver goes further than a 3 wood, so you're costing yourself distance and thus strokes.
  • Driver is the most forgiving club in your bag.
  • Driver has the biggest face of any club.
  • 3 woods are the least forgiving club in your bag (unless you have a 2 iron I guess).

I guess this isn't 1980 with persimmon.

The problem that high-handicappers run into with their drivers are:

1) It's the longest and most intimidating club in the bag.

2) It has the least loft of all the clubs except the putter.

3) it is a club you must work with to be consistent with.

I do agree that Driver is a necessary tool in order to get better. But for high-handicaps they just want to advance the ball as far as they can with the most consistent club they can. For some that's a 3-wood others maybe a 4-iron or hybrid, etc.

Don't you think until one becomes confident on their consistency with the Driver, a back-up club is okay temporarily?

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4 minutes ago, onthehunt526 said:

Don't you think until one becomes confident on their consistency with the Driver, a back-up club is okay temporarily?

 

39 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

All of this is in the long run. If you can't hit driver without slicing it off the planet, then, yes, use your 3 wood off the tee. On that day. But you're not going to play your best golf if you don't learn how to hit a driver.

 

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Daniel,

I read that part, too. Oops, my bad.

I'll reiterate that I agree that Driver is an essential club to score your best. 

I know in LSW it says hit the longest club you can advance safely. Shit, some days for me that's a 4 or 5 iron. Driver is wild, I go to 5-wood, that sucks I go to 4-iron. Then 5-iron. I'm usually okay by the time I get to 4-iron, and if I put 2 or 3 good tee balls out there with 4-iron. I may grip down a little on a Driver and swing 75% and usually that fixes it.

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1 hour ago, onthehunt526 said:

Daniel,

I read that part, too. Oops, my bad.

I'll reiterate that I agree that Driver is an essential club to score your best. 

I know in LSW it says hit the longest club you can advance safely. Shit, some days for me that's a 4 or 5 iron. Driver is wild, I go to 5-wood, that sucks I go to 4-iron. Then 5-iron. I'm usually okay by the time I get to 4-iron, and if I put 2 or 3 good tee balls out there with 4-iron. I may grip down a little on a Driver and swing 75% and usually that fixes it.

I wonder if that last bit would work in place of the 5-wood off the tee?  Maybe a 3/4 shot with a driver, might go as far as the 5-wood, but with a more forgiving head.  

I don't know, I haven't tried it.  Closest was when I had a driver too big for me (bought used, did not cut down) I found I hit it better when I used an AK-style grip instead.  But that's probably because it was then at the proper length instead. 

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I've posted this before, but it might be relevant here.  At the driving range, set up your teed ball so the logo is at the back and quartered in towards you. Then take a slow (VERY SLOW) swing trying to hit the logo.  Be relaxed, don't worry about distance, but see if this doesn't help you hit without the big slice.  Also a good point is keeping your upper left arm in contact with your body to prevent the head flying outside in or coming over the top.  Once you've mastered that and the ball is going straighter, then add some speed incrementally.

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My friend carries a driver he seldom hits. Once every two or three rounds he'll pull it out, take a wild swing, mutter nope and back into the bag it goes. Same with both of his fairway woods. Basically, out of the 14 clubs he carries, he's down to hitting with a 5 iron, 7 iron and chipper. I accept that I'm going to hit bad shots with my driver and my woods but I feel I'll never improve hitting them if I don't keep working with them. And, when I do manage to connect (which happens more frequently than it used to), it is really a superb feeling.

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9 hours ago, Shindig said:

I wonder if that last bit would work in place of the 5-wood off the tee?  Maybe a 3/4 shot with a driver, might go as far as the 5-wood, but with a more forgiving head.  

I don't know, I haven't tried it.  Closest was when I had a driver too big for me (bought used, did not cut down) I found I hit it better when I used an AK-style grip instead.  But that's probably because it was then at the proper length instead. 

When I meant said 75% I meant effort not length of swing, but 3/4 swing with a Driver will work too. Goes only about 10 yards less than normal it's my "fairway finder".

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Driver with a big head,on a high tee is the easiest to hit shot. The problem is everyone who stuggles with a driver swings it to hard and out of control. It has become an epidemic in today’s game. 

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Tinker, I actually am guilty of swinging very hard.  Nobody told me not to until after it had “become my swing”.  It’s difficult for me to agree that an aggressive swing is always undesirable considering the advantages it has already afforded me.  

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