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Black Sail

Distance vs. Accuracy

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4 minutes ago, Black Sail said:

What I REALLY wanted to see is how many players would be willing to choose one over the other....

Then why not ask that question in the form of a poll at the beginning of the topic?

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This forum kinda reeks of elitism sometimes.

@Black Sailis simply attempting to have a discussion targeted towards mid/higher handicap players about some simple things and all we mostly have here are low single digit guys debating it's a bad approach, probably because this information is irrelevant to them because they are obviously better overall players. That's my hot take.

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6 minutes ago, ShawnSum said:

This forum kinda reeks of elitism sometimes.

@Black Sailis simply attempting to have a discussion targeted towards mid/higher handicap players about some simple things and all we mostly have here are low single digit guys debating it's a bad approach, probably because this information is irrelevant to them because they are obviously better overall players. That's my hot take.

The things that most of us are speaking on in this topic apply almost equally across all levels of players. 

I don't care what anyone's handicap is, I care about what the facts state, and if someone tries to share information or make claims that contradict well known truths/facts, I will gladly debate them and explain using facts why I believe their claims/opinions are incorrect. Nothing elitist about that, IMO.

 

Edited by klineka

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I actually stopped reading when I saw "vs" in the title

Sorry, I want both.  that just means a better swing.

Or, as my swing got better, guess what, I got gains in both.  It shoudn't be a tradeoff, it's about a predictable swing and knowing your zones

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Improving ball striking is my goal, and considering smash factor goes up the closer to the sweet spot that I get, my distance will increase with that as well, possibly making it harder to know my yardages on my irons as I improve. I can say that hitting my driver 240 yards and in play has made the biggest change to my score this year, as at the beginning of the year, I wasn't even hitting driver, taking a 180 yard 4i off the tee every time and generally being left with another 4i in (or maybe 2 on a par 5). Hitting 9i and PW into greens meant that my GIR/nGIR went up drastically, and my score went down in equal fashion. My irons have improved this year, but not even close to the same amount as my driver.

I've talked about this in other threads, but when I came to this forum I was a giant Golf Sidekick fan. I am still a fan of his but for completely different reasons than when I got here. I thought that hitting that 180 yard 4 iron was doing my game a world of good because I was hitting fairways consistently. All I was doing was limiting my potential, and that is a dangerous thing to tell anyone to do. I use GSK's chipping technique because it works, and I enjoy the entertainment value in his videos. He has really good information sometimes ("take me to Texas!", "stress free golf", and "putting away the ego and taking your medicine"), but the core tenant of leaving full shots in, splitting distances, etc., instead of leaving yourself the shortest shot by hitting the safest long shot, is wrong.

TLDR: Distance is a very important skill, and telling people to put it to the side completely is bad advice.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

It’s really easy to have a discussion when you just make up whatever straw man you want.

Distance is a form of accuracy too.

I mean, distance AND accuracy is important. And distance is often MORE important.

Have you seen that @Black Sail?

I have not seen that, Sir. Thank you for the graphic @iacasI guess, taken out of context, some folks are taking me to mean that distance is NOT important and accuracy is EVERYTHING. What I truly mean is that when I have my students work on their swing mechanics as they apply to the approach shot, their understanding of the golf swing increases and thereby helps their ability to swing the longer clubs. If I can get a guy to hit the sweet spot with shorter clubs, I can get him in the sweet spot with driver as well. At that point one enhances the other. I just start with the shorter clubs first. 

1 hour ago, rehmwa said:

I actually stopped reading when I saw "vs" in the title

Sorry, I want both.  that just means a better swing.

Or, as my swing got better, guess what, I got gains in both.  It shoudn't be a tradeoff, it's about a predictable swing and knowing your zones

@rehmwa Funny you mention that. The VS in the title is the underlying piece here that incites that critical thought. I like to see that golfers can truly appreciate both. Getting to the sweet spot gives you both as @Bonvivantsaid earlier. I put the VS in there to see how many folks would truly pick a side. I agree that both are important. 

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1 hour ago, klineka said:

The things that most of us are speaking on in this topic apply almost equally across all levels of players. 

I don't care what anyone's handicap is, I care about what the facts state, and if someone tries to share information or make claims that contradict well known truths/facts, I will gladly debate them and explain using facts why I believe their claims/opinions are incorrect. Nothing elitist about that, IMO.

 

Another real difference maker here is what tees the amateur is playing from. Middle tees and back tees will tell a completely different story for a person. I am talking about the 15 handicap guy playing from the white tees (6400-6800 yds) where you don't need to hit driver off every par 4 to get a short iron into the green. Again, we are really splitting hairs here as to who this applies to and handicap definitely does make a difference as to how I am going to approach player development. 

1 hour ago, klineka said:

Then why not ask that question in the form of a poll at the beginning of the topic?

Because there is more than one way to get an answer to a question. Just like there is more than one way to cut strokes off your game. 

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9 hours ago, Black Sail said:

Tiger Woods made it very clear with this quote. “The last thing I need is for my ball to go farther. I need to go my number.”

That's a nice soundbite from one of the best ballstrikers to have ever played the game. Mid to high handicap players likely don't have a number they can consistently hit on the line they want, regardless of what that number is, or they wouldn't be a mid to high handicap player.

9 hours ago, Black Sail said:

 

Distance vs. Accuracy.png

How many top ten players in driving accuracy in 2019 are in the top ten in OWGR? Zero.

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16 hours ago, Black Sail said:

This post is for my mid to high handicap friends looking for simple fixes without the need the completely overhaul their swing.

Sooo… let's get back to the whole distance debate in golf. If you're a person looking to drop shots off your scores, then stop focusing on how far you CAN hit the ball and constantly trying to hit it as far as possible. Instead, find out exactly how far you need to hit the ball from where you're standing and choose the appropriate club based on your knowledge of how far you hit each club in your bag.

For example, if you're 150 yards away from the green then you should be aiming to the safest part of the green possible. It may not always be the center of the green, just the largest part that gives you room for error. That way if you miss long, short, left, or right by 5 or 8 yards, even 10 yards in some cases, you're still going to hit the green. Golf is not all about how far you hit the ball. It's about how often you hit the ball the distance you need to.

Tiger Woods made it very clear with this quote. “The last thing I need is for my ball to go farther. I need to go my number.”

Furthermore, if you look at the list of the Top 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings right now, only 3 of them will pop up in the top of the Driving Distance Leaders category.

Hitting it long is great and Rory, DJ and Brooks have made it an art form, but they also have the rest of their game in place to back it up.

If you want to play better you have to know your numbers. Start building your practice routine around understanding how far each of your clubs travel when you use your “stock” swing. If you want to be a professional long driver, then go ahead and hit the gym, buy a driver with a giant clubhead and super long shaft, and jump up on your tippy toes while swinging as hard as you can. But, if that's not your cup of tea, focus on building a swing that is repeatable, controllable, and will perform under pressure.

Once you can do that, you can start counting your skins money at the 19th hole instead of trying to figure out how you are going to explain to your spouse that date night just turned into a trip to McDonalds.

Distance vs. Accuracy.png

Distance and accuracy usually develop together. As I got longer, I also got straighter.

I don’t see the two as a choice?

And I overhauled my swing. There’s no quick fixes...

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9 hours ago, billchao said:

That's a nice soundbite from one of the best ballstrikers to have ever played the game. Mid to high handicap players likely don't have a number they can consistently hit on the line they want, regardless of what that number is, or they wouldn't be a mid to high handicap player.

That's my point @billchao. Focus on getting your numbers dialed in and the consistency will come. Once that happens, the distance will come as well. It's kind of a "one hand washes the other" mentality.

9 hours ago, billchao said:

How many top ten players in driving accuracy in 2019 are in the top ten in OWGR? Zero.

Correct. The PGA Tour season is very young. Most of the top players don't have data in the system yet. I actually started this post with the current data and got ate up pretty good. These guys are on their game in here and I love it. I learn something new every day.

2 hours ago, Lihu said:

Distance and accuracy usually develop together. As I got longer, I also got straighter.

I don’t see the two as a choice?

And I overhauled my swing. There’s no quick fixes...

You are spot on there, but a few course management decisions CAN make a difference for a player who struggles with consistency. I wrote this piece for the guy that doesn't want to completely change their swing, but wants to enjoy the game more and maybe score a little better.

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Speaking as a guy trying to figure why this is thus and what is the reason for this thusness...

I seem to continue to buck the trends.  I hit drives pretty hard (270-280), and when I am NOT on a good day, I spray them.  I throw away a good 2-3 tee shots per 18 holes on such days, costing me strokes.

Some of those are certainly the result of a ball traveling on a line that would be on the edge of the fairway if it were more like 230 yards.

I have most certainly entertained the preference for a predictable and shorter tee stroke in days like that.

 

I definitely do not see this as  a case of both improving in tandem.

Edited by Cantankerish

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7 minutes ago, Cantankerish said:

Speaking as a guy trying to figure why this is thus and what is the reason for this thusness...

I seem to continue to buck the trends.  I hit drives pretty hard (270-280), and when I am NOT on a good day, I spray them.  I throw away a good 2-3 tee shots per 18 holes on such days, costing me strokes.

Some of those are certainly the result of a ball traveling on a line that would be on the edge of the fairway if it were more like 230 yards.

I have most certainly entertained the preference for a predictable and shorter tee stroke in days like that.

I definitely do not see this as  a case of both improving in tandem.

You certainly may be an anomaly, the world is full of them, so general rules may not apply to you.  After all, we're all individuals, we each need to evaluate our own game and work on the weakest points.  But one general rule does apply, if you improve your swing as a whole, you'll almost certainly decrease the number of wayward drives.

I should mention a note of geometry here.  If your drive at 230 is on the edge of the fairway, say 20 yards offline from the fairway center, at 270 yards it should only be 10 feet or so into the rough.  That's usually not a huge problem, its the ones that are in the trees or hazards or OB that are the big problems.

I may also not quite fit the generalizations.  At my age, 63, and playing at a reasonably decent level for a good while, I'm unlikely to gain a whole lot of distance with an improved swing.  My primary goal is to be more consistent, more solid strikes, less lateral dispersion.  That may result in some small increases in distance, and I'll be happy if it does.  Still, my route to lower scores is primarily through improving my full swing.

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2 hours ago, Black Sail said:

That's my point @billchao. Focus on getting your numbers dialed in and the consistency will come. Once that happens, the distance will come as well. It's kind of a "one hand washes the other" mentality.

Well that's an issue with mechanics, not mentality. When I was a 20, I had a number but could be 20 yards off of it simply from mishits. I wasn't one of those my number is the best I've ever hit this club kind of guys. It's just simply having a larger shot zone due to lack of skill.

Hell even now I have a number but I don't always hit it.

2 hours ago, Black Sail said:

Correct. The PGA Tour season is very young. Most of the top players don't have data in the system yet.

That's why I wrote 2019 leaders. That season is over.

Accuracy in the traditional sense (fairways hit) is overrated. Distance is a form of accuracy; a longer drive is closer to the hole.

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17 hours ago, Black Sail said:

 

@rehmwa Funny you mention that. The VS in the title is the underlying piece here that incites that critical thought. I like to see that golfers can truly appreciate both. Getting to the sweet spot gives you both as @Bonvivantsaid earlier. I put the VS in there to see how many folks would truly pick a side. I agree that both are important. 

the tradeoff is always a good discussion.  I knee jerk didn't bite because those discussions tend to be the strawman 'mutually exclusive' arguments that aren't based in reality and I choose not to follow absolutists arguing with each other.  had I know it was bait to try to foster a discussion, I'd have given it better attention.  we have a good crowd here that'll do both, so it matters who is responding.

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I think it all depends on where you are with your swing and what you want to achieve. I agree that distance is important and gives you a big advantage when having a short iron for your second shot, but when I was trying to break 100, the driver was probably costing me too many strokes that it nullify that advantage. At that point, playing a round with or without the driver didn't make a big difference on my score because my swing wasn't repetitive and efficient enough. I'm now shooting in the low 90/ high 80 and with a swing that is more consistent(not enough yet but still!), the driver is more predictable and a great tool when I don't slice it. I can say that at some point when I was trying to improve, accuracy and reliability with my irons was more important (at least to me) than hitting my driver farther. Now that i'm a little more predictable with my irons, I would like to add extra yards to my driver!

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1 hour ago, billchao said:

Accuracy in the traditional sense (fairways hit) is overrated. Distance is a form of accuracy; a longer drive is closer to the hole.

I agree. Both are important, I am simply cautioning golfers to approach fundamentals first and then distance because usually distance shows up when consistency kicks in anyways. 

59 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

the tradeoff is always a good discussion.  I knee jerk didn't bite because those discussions tend to be the strawman 'mutually exclusive' arguments that aren't based in reality and I choose not to follow absolutists arguing with each other.  had I know it was bait to try to foster a discussion, I'd have given it better attention.  we have a good crowd here that'll do both, so it matters who is responding.

Absolutely. I have really enjoyed hearing everyone's thoughts on it. I appreciate all the candid responses. Good times...

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I’m one of those that hits it quite long but am very wayward with my drives. On a good day I could have 100 yards left on a 400 yard par four but on another day I am in the trees looking for my ball having to chip out. I need to work on driving accuracy, the distance is there

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2 hours ago, Cantankerish said:

I have most certainly entertained the preference for a predictable and shorter tee stroke in days like that.

I’d probably prefer to look into just using a shorter club but same swing?

 

16 minutes ago, Benit0 said:

I think it all depends on where you are with your swing and what you want to achieve. I agree that distance is important and gives you a big advantage when having a short iron for your second shot, but when I was trying to break 100, the driver was probably costing me too many strokes that it nullify that advantage. At that point, playing a round with or without the driver didn't make a big difference on my score because my swing wasn't repetitive and efficient enough. I'm now shooting in the low 90/ high 80 and with a swing that is more consistent(not enough yet but still!), the driver is more predictable and a great tool when I don't slice it. I can say that at some point when I was trying to improve, accuracy and reliability with my irons was more important (at least to me) than hitting my driver farther. Now that i'm a little more predictable with my irons, I would like to add extra yards to my driver!

For me, distance accuracy are related. On days that I hit bad, my shots are usually shorter too. Bad strikes or hitting the corner of the driver does both of those things...

 

1 minute ago, Nail said:

I’m one of those that hits it quite long but am very wayward with my drives. On a good day I could have 100 yards left on a 400 yard par four but on another day I am in the trees looking for my ball having to chip out. I need to work on driving accuracy, the distance is there

Good ball striking helps...

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