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# Help With the Distance Vs. Accuracy 'Debate'

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Ok so I’ve been a big fan of hitting it longer in the rough than shorter in the fairway ever since I read LSW and Every shot counts.

Now the thing is that I’m rereading Every shot counts and I’m looking at the table attached in the picture.

So for PGA pros the average strokes to hole out from 100 yards in the rough are 3.02. If we look at the fairway numbers the first number higher than that is at 180 yards at 3.08! So even from 160 yards from the fairway it’s 2,98. So we can say that they are equal from about 165 yards.

So doesn’t that mean that a fairway hit is worth 65!!! yards less in driving distance?

The difference is less with higher distances but still it hovers about 40 yards? If someone can point me out to where my logic is flawed that’d be great.

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Well, I can point out specific yardages, but I would gladly sacrifice 10 yards or more of driver distance to be in the fairway instead of the rough. Now first cut is not a bad place to be, and some might even consider that a fairway hit (like me), but the rough takes it's toll.

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• iacas changed the title to Help With the Distance vs. Accuracy 'Debate'

Congratulations on making the PGA Tour, @Killa!

The rough is about a 60-70 yard penalty on the PGA Tour, yeah. This is partly because of how they calculate "rough." There aren't that many areas on the golf course: there's "rough" or "fairway" or "bunker" or "other" (basically), so if you hit it in the trees off to the side, often that just counts as "rough." (Oh, there's "water" too.)

And… with regards to Dustin Johnson vs. Zach Johnson, the math still favors DJ over ZJ because on 11 or so of the tee shots on par fours and fives, they're ending up in the same situation, but DJ is 40 yards ahead of ZJ, and can bank that advance for the 2 or 3 times Zach is in the fairway that Dustin (40 yards ahead) is not.

Finally, in reference to my first sentence, these numbers aren't nearly as wide apart for average golfers. Many, in fact, prefer to be in the rough over the fairway, particularly if they're above about single digit handicaps.

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• iacas changed the title to Help With the Distance Vs. Accuracy 'Debate'
3 minutes ago, iacas said:

Finally, in reference to my first sentence, these numbers aren't nearly as wide apart for average golfers. Many, in fact, prefer to be in the rough over the fairway, particularly if they're above about single digit handicaps.

This makes sense. The rough at my course is nothing like the rough at a tour course. It's not mown as tight like the fairway, and can be a little inconsistent/clumpy, but there is rarely a bad lie where the grass actually inhibits the club from striking the ball.

The one time recently I played a tour level course (TPC Harding Park), the rough was a completely different experience, and resulted in a lot of just trying to hack out and advance the ball to a better spot.

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• Moderator

All of those numbers are fine, but what would you propose to change in your decision-making?  Yes, missing a fairway costs you some fraction of a stroke, just as playing shorter costs you some fraction of a stroke.  So, you're going to play shorter off the tee?  Will that mean you hit significantly more fairways, or will your percentages stay basically the same?  If you're not hitting a LOT more fairways, you're giving up strokes by playing a shorter club off the tee.

I don't know how applicable those stats are to my game or to yours, but here's an exercise.  Let's take the idea that @Billy Z brings up, lose 10 yards on every single tee shot.  Looking at the chart, 10 yards is something like 0.03 to 0.04 strokes each and every time you hit a tee shot.  Over 14 tee shots, you'll give up about 0.5 strokes.   And if you hit it 10 yards shorter, do you think you'd gain maybe 1 additional fairway per round?  Going from rough to fairway gains something like 0.25 strokes.   So he's "paid" 0.5 strokes to gain 0.25 strokes.  If he hits TWO more fairways he just breaks even, using those numbers.  He'd have to REALLY increase his accuracy, hit 3 additional fairways per round, to come out ahead.

@Billy Z, I'm not trying to pick on you, just trying to put some numbers to the idea of giving up yardage.

41 minutes ago, Killa said:

Ok so I’ve been a big fan of hitting it longer in the rough than shorter in the fairway ever since I read LSW and Every shot counts.

I'm a big fan of hitting it longer, as long as longer doesn't mean a LOT more in the rough.  And in general, improving swing mechanics helps most players hit it longer AND more accurately.

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22 minutes ago, iacas said:

Congratulations on making the PGA Tour, @Killa!

The rough is about a 60-70 yard penalty on the PGA Tour, yeah. This is partly because of how they calculate "rough." There aren't that many areas on the golf course: there's "rough" or "fairway" or "bunker" or "other" (basically), so if you hit it in the trees off to the side, often that just counts as "rough." (Oh, there's "water" too.)

And… with regards to Dustin Johnson vs. Zach Johnson, the math still favors DJ over ZJ because on 11 or so of the tee shots on par fours and fives, they're ending up in the same situation, but DJ is 40 yards ahead of ZJ, and can bank that advance for the 2 or 3 times Zach is in the fairway that Dustin (40 yards ahead) is not.

Finally, in reference to my first sentence, these numbers aren't nearly as wide apart for average golfers. Many, in fact, prefer to be in the rough over the fairway, particularly if they're above about single digit handicaps.

well I think that if it’s that big of a difference on the PGA it’s even worse for me...

6 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

All of those numbers are fine, but what would you propose to change in your decision-making?  Yes, missing a fairway costs you some fraction of a stroke, just as playing shorter costs you some fraction of a stroke.  So, you're going to play shorter off the tee?  Will that mean you hit significantly more fairways, or will your percentages stay basically the same?  If you're not hitting a LOT more fairways, you're giving up strokes by playing a shorter club off the tee.

I don't know how applicable those stats are to my game or to yours, but here's an exercise.  Let's take the idea that @Billy Z brings up, lose 10 yards on every single tee shot.  Looking at the chart, 10 yards is something like 0.03 to 0.04 strokes each and every time you hit a tee shot.  Over 14 tee shots, you'll give up about 0.5 strokes.   And if you hit it 10 yards shorter, do you think you'd gain maybe 1 additional fairway per round?  Going from rough to fairway gains something like 0.25 strokes.   So he's "paid" 0.5 strokes to gain 0.25 strokes.  If he hits TWO more fairways he just breaks even, using those numbers.  He'd have to REALLY increase his accuracy, hit 3 additional fairways per round, to come out ahead.

@Billy Z, I'm not trying to pick on you, just trying to put some numbers to the idea of giving up yardage.

I'm a big fan of hitting it longer, as long as longer doesn't mean a LOT more in the rough.  And in general, improving swing mechanics helps most players hit it longer AND more accurately.

Naturally my % will increase if I hit 3 iron of the tee than driver. Even if I am at the same accuracy with both of them the dispersion is simply that much greater at a longer distance. And I don’t hit my driver 60 yards further than my 3 iron. Last time out I hit 9 greens and 3 fairways... and the driver was really working that day.

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18 minutes ago, Killa said:

well I think that if it’s that big of a difference on the PGA it’s even worse for me...

It's not. The gap is smaller, and distance is more important.

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• 2 weeks later...

Distance is great and all that, but you have to keep it playable. If the driver is costing you 4 penalty strokes a round take some lessons... real lessons with it, not some quick fix crap.

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I will risk accuracy for distance if it’s still playable and I actually score better that way. If I hit it behind trees and lose balls frequently, maybe a shorter club off the tee is better, but going from a 6 iron to an 8 iron is a big difference.

What I remember best from my best round to date was that I felt in control with the driver and could have at it without the fear if a push-slice. I hit fairways, rough and bunkers, but the advantage of being closer is big, even if I find a bunker or the rough.

The courses also matters of course. Some people play regularly on courses with few trees and manageable rough. I’ve played on some really narrow courses where a bad shot often is a lost ball. You always have to evaluate the hole and where you are likely to land. On some holes the layout suggests an iron is better, or a wood. On other holes you can go for maximum distance with the driver.

It’s easier to use numbers like that with the peofessionals than amateurs, so don’t get too caught up in decimals.

Give it a try a few rounds and see what happens, but remember your shot cones and adjust club selections to the hole layouts.

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7 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

If the driver is costing you 4 penalty strokes a round take some lessons...

Or just hit the club that can advance the ball as far as possible while not bringing the penalty strokes into play?

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