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Kevlar10

Averaging Double Bogey on Par 5s

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I was looking at my statistics over the last calendar year and I noticed that I average around a 7 on my par 5s.  I average about 3.6 on my par 3s and about 4.9 on my par 4s.  I’ve just gotten to the point in my game where I’m playing bogey golf overall, but I seem to struggle on par 5s.  I’m not sure this is common but maybe that’s an area that I should focus on improving my course management.  Thinking about my latest rounds, I think I approach the par 5s with a go for birdie mentality which seems to consistently fail.  What is the best approach for a mid handicapper?

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Is the issue with your drive or 2nd shot or another shot?  Where does the breakdown more often than not occur?

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I think it’s probably a combination.  On par 5s I think I tend to overswing on all of my shots trying to minimize the distance of the next shot, if that makes sense.  To the positive, my ability to recover after a bad shot has improved, lol. 

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That makes sense.  Par 5 holes are often rated as the hardest for a course.

Funny that, since the best players seek to score on those. The rest of us just have more chances to screw up.

Edited by Cantankerish

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Not surprising give your Par 3 and Par 4 stats to be honest. Par 5's are longer so it's easier for more to go wrong because typically more swings are involved. Post a My swing thread or take a couple lessons to get your full swing headed the right direction. You should see improvement. I am finally starting to look at Par 5's as scoring opportunities though sometimes they still bite me. 

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On 8/15/2019 at 2:45 PM, Kevlar10 said:

I think it’s probably a combination.  On par 5s I think I tend to overswing on all of my shots trying to minimize the distance of the next shot, if that makes sense.  To the positive, my ability to recover after a bad shot has improved, lol. 

Why do you overswing? Because it's a longer hole? Remember, you have an additional stroke available to you to get on the green. Could you be overreaching? Or just putting pressure on yourself? If you can score what you say you do on par 3's and 4's, there's no reason you should average double bogey on par 5's! It just doesn't make sense. I generally relax on par 5's. 

On 8/15/2019 at 5:17 PM, Cantankerish said:

That makes sense.  Par 5 holes are often rated as the hardest for a course.

Funny that, since the best players seek to score on those. The rest of us just have more chances to screw up.

Absolute nonsense! Check your scorecards. Par 5's are usually rated among the easiest holes for most courses. Unless the course has a gang of gargantuan, 600+ yard 5 pars on your course. 

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OP, how are your drives on typical par-4s?  You average under bogey there.  

 

Think about your home course.  Where would a "swing easy" (NOTE:  I do not mean slow;  I mean you just need a typical) drive take you?  The swing you take when a typical drive would leave you a short iron into the green on a par-4.  

Now, from that position, what's the longest club you can hit without getting into trouble?  Rough is fine, out of bounds and sand are not.  

If you had a par-3 from that position, would you average under 4?  I bet you would. 

Play your par-5s that way for a bit.  I did and made a ton of 5s (and some fours!) on the par-5s at my home course.  

If the par-5s are three-shot holes for you, you don't need a lot of distance.  A good drive, your longest safe shot (note I am not saying something like "hit two 7-irons from here" or anything absurd like that), then finish the hole. 

If your par-5s are already two-shot holes, yes, a shorter club into them for two is nicer, but having that second shot available to you is nicer.

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Sounds to me like the OP is over swinging on par fives. Trying too hard, so to speak. Playing the 5s differently than the 3s, and 4s due to the longer yardages involved. 

I might suggest thinking of the 5s as just a longer 4. Anything to approach the 5s like the other two shorter holes as far as the mental aspect goes. 

I know when I play a 5, most of the time I go with 2, or 3 easy 3 wood swings. A close wedge stroke, and 1 putt for par. 

The averages posted on the 3s, and 4s suggests that the OP has a decent full swing, shorter swing, and putting game. Perhaps just taking it easy, and getting on the green in 4 on those 5s, will save a stroke. Write down a 6, instead of 7 for now, while working towards writing down a 5. 

 

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Keep the drive in play (perhaps using a fairway wood if you are wild with the driver), advance significantly towards the hole on the second shot while avoiding hazards, and then with a short iron or wedge find the middle of the green. Then one (sometimes) or two-putt (most times). That's an easy 5.

The culprit here is the going for broke mentality, i.e. trying to get on in 2 by overswinging on both shots, trying to score an eagle or birdie. If you faced a 500 yards par 4, you wouldn't try to make par every time, so why do it if the par changes from 4 to 5? It makes no sense.

Put your drive in a spot where you have a somewhat short par 4 left (i.e. 300-350 yards), and from there where you have an easier par 3 left (100-150 yards). The rest will take care of itself.

Edited by sjduffers

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On 8/16/2019 at 7:17 AM, Cantankerish said:

That makes sense.  Par 5 holes are often rated as the hardest for a course.

I strongly disagree and have never ever played a course where even one of the par 5s is rated #1. Probably not even 2,3,or 4.

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1 minute ago, leftybutnotPM said:

I strongly disagree and have never ever played a course where even one of the par 5s is rated #1. Probably not even 2,3,or 4.

You need to travel more. It's not always, of course but it happens: it's usually due to a combination of length and difficulty with penalty areas.

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8 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

You need to travel more. It's not always, of course but it happens: it's usually due to a combination of length and difficulty with penalty areas.

I fully understand why players average high scores on par 5s - it's because they have more opportunities to make a mess of the hole - but I have certainly never played a course where the #1 hole is a par 5. And I dispute the notion that it is "often" the case. It absolutely is not.

8 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

It's not always, of course but it happens

There's a big difference between saying "often" and "it happens".

Edited by leftybutnotPM

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I agree, it's not very often, but it happens. I know several courses that have a par 5 as their #1 handicap and a few more with a par 5 as #2. It's like saying par 3s are always handicap #15, #16, #17 and #18: yes, sometimes, but I have also seen a par 3 as #1 handicap as well as anything between #1 and #18.

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8 hours ago, leftybutnotPM said:

I strongly disagree and have never ever played a course where even one of the par 5s is rated #1. Probably not even 2,3,or 4.

Talega golf club, in southern California, has as the #2 and #3 handicap holes par-5s.  One of them has interesting (let's call it that) hazard placement and forced carries that make it easy for a low handicap (although it probably forces most of them to play it as three shots) while there are plenty of opportunities for a high handicap to put one in the hazard (due to the many full swings required where a bad shot would be heavily punished). 

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I look forward to Par 5s, I view them as a chance for par or even birdie. I guess it is because I can hit my fairway metals really well, I can be on or just off the green in 3, chip and putt, or just putt if I'm on in 3. I play a course here on Long Island, New York that has a Par 6, (Cherry Creek). Now that is a tough hole, doglegs left, a big sump on the left which you cannot carry, (unless you carry your dives 275 - 290 yards, which I do not). For me I'm happy with a 7 on that hole.

If possible, I would try to change my outlook on par 5s and view them more as an opportunity, and as stated above don't try to kill the ball to reach the green.

Just my thoughts. Good luck.

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On 8/25/2019 at 10:21 AM, Patch said:

Sounds to me like the OP is over swinging on par fives. Trying too hard, so to speak. Playing the 5s differently than the 3s, and 4s due to the longer yardages involved. 

I might suggest thinking of the 5s as just a longer 4. Anything to approach the 5s like the other two shorter holes as far as the mental aspect goes. 

I know when I play a 5, most of the time I go with 2, or 3 easy 3 wood swings. A close wedge stroke, and 1 putt for par. 

The averages posted on the 3s, and 4s suggests that the OP has a decent full swing, shorter swing, and putting game. Perhaps just taking it easy, and getting on the green in 4 on those 5s, will save a stroke. Write down a 6, instead of 7 for now, while working towards writing down a 5. 

 

I don’t think I overswing.  I hit my drives the same way I hit on par 4s.  I played this weekend and still struggled a bit.  I think I need to lay up a bit more and hit a longer iron instead of defaulting to my 3w.  I put myself in a bad position several times then pressured myself to get on the green in 3 which resulted in  hitting it thin or fat.  This resulted in a few shots lost around the green consistently.  I parred a few but the 7s, 8s, and a 9 put me right back where I was.

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15 minutes ago, Kevlar10 said:

I don’t think I overswing.  I hit my drives the same way I hit on par 4s.  I played this weekend and still struggled a bit.  I think I need to lay up a bit more and hit a longer iron instead of defaulting to my 3w.  I put myself in a bad position several times then pressured myself to get on the green in 3 which resulted in  hitting it thin or fat.  This resulted in a few shots lost around the green consistently.  I parred a few but the 7s, 8s, and a 9 put me right back where I was.

You should advance the ball and get as close to the green as you can (barring hazards and other trouble), but you should also take into consideration how consistent and reliable you are at executing that second shot. If you're hitting your 3w and it's leaving you with a difficult attempt at GIR, your 3w was probably not the right play to begin with.

For example, I have a tendency to top my 3w which ends up as a worse result than if I just laid up with a 7i or something 75% of the time. So for me the correct play and the one that leaves me with the best chance at GIR is to take the shorter club that I can hit better.

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3 hours ago, Kevlar10 said:

I don’t think I overswing.  I hit my drives the same way I hit on par 4s.  I played this weekend and still struggled a bit.  I think I need to lay up a bit more and hit a longer iron instead of defaulting to my 3w.  I put myself in a bad position several times then pressured myself to get on the green in 3 which resulted in  hitting it thin or fat.  This resulted in a few shots lost around the green consistently.  I parred a few but the 7s, 8s, and a 9 put me right back where I was.

What's your handicap level?  This might affect some of the advice being given.

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