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# Driver or Lay Up - a Poll

• Hit Driver
13
• Lay Up
18

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• You are a scratch player that averages 290 yards off the tee.
• You're playing a 325-yard hole with water in play (if you hit the water, you drop at 80 yards in the rough).
• With driver, you will hit fairway 40%, rough 35%, and water 25% of the time.
• If you lay up to 100 yards to take the water out of play, you'll hit the fairway 80% of the time and the rough 20% of the time.

What is the correct play? Vote in the poll above.

Then look at the spoiler for PGA Tour data.

Spoiler

PGA Tour Info

• Driver: 0.4 * 3.55 + 0.35 * 3.75 + 0.25 * (1 + 3.96) = 3.9725
• Lay Up: 0.8 * 3.80 + 0.2 * 4.02 = 3.844

In other words, on the PGA Tour, it would make sense to lay up, by about 1/8th of a shot. But is the same true of a scratch golfer?

PGA Tour data is in the spoiler.

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I voted driver. I thought it would be pretty close though. It would be interesting to see the math for a scratch golfer.

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I hit water with driver 50 percent of time if it's in play in general. 'Only' 25 percent chance would mean I am having a stellar driving day...😁

No way I'm laying up...

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• Moderator
1 minute ago, GolfLug said:

I hit water with driver 50 percent of time if it's in play in general. 'Only' 25 percent chance would mean I am having a stellar driving day...😁

No way I'm laying up...

Agreed

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I voted layup thinking about how "black" a water hazard is in regards to shot zones.

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(edited)

I voted laying up. Looking at the data of this theoretical golfer, I know that driver is going to cost me 0.25 strokes from the penalty. The question is whether the additional 53.75 yards (65 yards x .75 plus 20 yard x .25) that I would gain offsets that quarter of a stroke?

On it's own, it would be a really close call. The kicker for me is that I am hitting out of the fairway 80% of the time with the layup option vs. 40% of the time with the driver.

I think lay up is the call.

Edited by Big C
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• Moderator

I voted layup thinking about how "black" a water hazard is in regards to shot zones.

Good thinking, but everyone didn’t come out here to watch a Tour Pro laying up

Tin Cup (1996) - Find video clips by quote. GetYarn.io now.

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13 minutes ago, Big C said:

I voted laying up. Looking at the data of this theoretical golfer, I know that driver is going to cost me 0.25 strokes from the penalty. The question is whether the additional 53.75 yards (65 yards x .75 plus 20 yard x .25) that I would gain offsets that quarter of a stroke?

As you likely know it doesn't quite work that way. The rough is a substantial "penalty" over the fairway.

Heck, you're in the rough 5% more often from hitting it in the water than you are if you lay up. Never mind the other % of the time you hit it straight into the rough from the tee. 😄

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I’m most likely laying up. I like a nice wedge into the green. If the big D could get me on the green, I might consider it or if there was a decent drop area perhaps.

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I'm neither a scratch, nor do I know what I'm talking about, but my driver game is shakier than a newborn deer's legs, so I'm laying up.

Also, the first two responses I see on the Twitter. SMDH.

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• Moderator

I voted to lay up. Looking at the PGA Tour numbers, I feel good about it.

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If I’m down a stroke from the leader and going into 18...I’m hitting driver. If I lead I’m laying up.

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I voted to hit the driver.  I figure there is a 75% chance of avoiding the water and if my drive is 290 then I am @ 35 from the hole.  Depending upon how bad the rough is I'll take a 35 yard shot from the rough over a 100 yard shot from the fairway.  True, there is 25% chance of being in the water which would hurt, but I'm not playing for big purses like the tour pros so if I lose a shot I lose a shot.  The only math I did was "325 - 290 = 35" and "35 < 100"

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36 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

If I’m down a stroke from the leader and going into 18...I’m hitting driver. If I lead I’m laying up.

It's unlikely the 18th hole is a 325-yard par four. 🙂

9 minutes ago, StuM said:

I voted to hit the driver.  I figure there is a 75% chance of avoiding the water and if my drive is 290 then I am @ 35 from the hole.  Depending upon how bad the rough is I'll take a 35 yard shot from the rough over a 100 yard shot from the fairway.  True, there is 25% chance of being in the water which would hurt, but I'm not playing for big purses like the tour pros so if I lose a shot I lose a shot.  The only math I did was "325 - 290 = 35" and "35 < 100"

You should read farther into that book you got last week. 😄

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

It's unlikely the 18th hole is a 325-yard par four.

Oh...yeah...I was thinking LPGA. But I guess that could be a par 5 then...🤭

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80% chance of 100 yds to the green from the fairway with a lay up. I'd take that every time.

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I would definitely lay up, but it would be fun watching Phil and a bunch others go for it.

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2 hours ago, CarlSpackler said:

I’m most likely laying up. I like a nice wedge into the green. If the big D could get me on the green, I might consider it or if there was a decent drop area perhaps.

I should have qualified this answer with the assumption that I am sober. After a few drinks, who knows what I would do.

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• iacas changed the title to Driver or Lay Up - a Poll

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