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Strategy on Neshanic Valley Ridge #2


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I was playing around with MyStrategy on Shot Scope to figure some things out for Saturday and I figure I might as well share it.

Neshanic Valley Ridge #2

Neshanic Ridge #2.png

I never quite know how I want to approach this hole. On Sunday I went with the conservative option and hit 4i off the tee and into the penalty area. It's basically the shot I marked in red. I was second guessing the shot at the time and based on the wind conditions it looks like I was right. I'm not expecting it to be as windy on Saturday but it's something I need to consider. Even without the wind though the 4i puts the bunker into play. I might end up hitting something like 6i short of the bunker. It still leaves me with less than 150y for my second shot.

Side note: I kind of wish the shots plotted would move when you add wind, but they don't. Only the cone changes.

Ridge #5

Neshanic Ridge #5 Driver.png

Ugh this hole is rough. I hit the shot in green on Sunday. It looks like I probably shouldn't hit driver on this hole. Here's what it looks like with 4w:

Neshanic Ridge #5 4w.png

It looks safer. Ignore the random shots I topped from earlier in the year. Or maybe not, I don't know. It's not like I can't top my driver, too. Now would be a good time to mention that the rough here isn't just rough. Most of the areas between holes are fescue and even during the early Spring it can be hard to just find the ball. I'm mostly concerned about not flaring it right and the 4w tends to draw. The dispersion tendency on my driver is actually slightly right of center and slightly left with the 4w. This might be more of a game time decision but I'm more comfortable with the 4w sitting here at my computer.

Meadow #2

Neshanic Meadow #2.png

This one I hit into the penalty area (shot marked in red). It was an awful lie and I should have just taken lateral relief but I tried to play it out into the fairway, only hit it like 10 yards and it stayed in the penalty area so it took a second try to get back on the fairway. Lesson learned. Later in the round I played out of the penalty area and had a much better lie so I was able to put it on for GIR. I really need to learn to evaluate risk/reward better because there isn't a lie I'm convinced I can't hit out of and that can be problematic.

But anyway the point was to highlight the tee shot. I think the decision to play 4i was fine, actually. I just pulled it slightly and it caught the slope off the back of the bunker and kicked into shit. I should probably just shift the target line slightly further right.

I'll probably play around with this thing some more for the Lake nine in case I end up playing that. Lake is honestly my least favorite of the three as a whole but has my favorite finishing hole on the course. It's a weird collection of long holes and short holes that just kind of sets up really awkwardly for me.

Bill

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(edited)
57 minutes ago, billchao said:

 

Neshanic Valley Ridge #2

Neshanic Ridge #2.png

I never quite know how I want to approach this hole. On Sunday I went with the conservative option and hit 4i off the tee and into the penalty area. It's basically the shot I marked in red. I was second guessing the shot at the time and based on the wind conditions it looks like I was right. I'm not expecting it to be as windy on Saturday but it's something I need to consider. Even without the wind though the 4i puts the bunker into play. I might end up hitting something like 6i short of the bunker. It still leaves me with less than 150y for my second shot.

Side note: I kind of wish the shots plotted would move when you add wind, but they don't. Only the cone changes.

 

 

My golf strategy isn’t very good so please accept this as me learning rather than challenging. 
 

For the second hole, is there a significant fall off to the left or penal rough? Why not hit a longer club over the bunkers (centred closer to fairway)? Half the time you hit fairway and the other half is a 70 yard shot from the rough?

 

 

IMG_0847.jpeg

Edited by 4zim
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April 2024 hcp: 20.3

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12 minutes ago, 4zim said:

My golf strategy isn’t very good so please accept this as me learning rather than challenging. 

It's all good, man. I appreciate the discussion.

 

14 minutes ago, 4zim said:

For the second hole, is there a significant fall off to the left or penal rough? Why not hit a longer club over the bunkers (centred closer to fairway)? Half the time you hit fairway and the other half is a 70 yard shot from the rough?

 

 

IMG_0847.jpeg

The hole slopes right, towards the penalty area. That's the part just past the cart path that isn't mowed. You can land a ball on the fairway that ends up in it if the ground is firm enough.  Everything that's brown in the satellite image isn't rough. It's fescue, which even during this time of year is tall enough that just finding a ball in it can be hard. Bunkers might as have red stakes around them - I read that in a book, once. So having set that table, here's what the shot cone looks like if I try to play for what you're suggesting:

Neshanic Ridge #2 Hybrid.png

I just don't see that as the optimal play. I need to get out of there with no worse than 5, not try to make 3 and end up with 6 or more. It's a short hole and my strength is in my iron play. I'm actually oddly not much better from 50-100 yards than I am from 100-150 yards. It's like a 4% difference in green success rate and 8' closer in proximity. I don't see that as worth putting trouble into play off the tee for.

Bill

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Fair

 

My uneducated thought: the big miss is the penalty area. If you want to optimize score, missing into the bunker (likely 5) is better than missing right into the penalty (possible 6). With that, your strategy seems sound and if you hit a committed shot, you get a bunker 5% of the time, take your medicine and hopefully get a putt for par but accept bogey. You may find yourself in a penalty situation 2-3% of the time and accept the associated outcome. The vast majority of the time though you are giving yourself a good approach shot into the green. 

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4 hours ago, 4zim said:

Fair

 

My uneducated thought: the big miss is the penalty area. If you want to optimize score, missing into the bunker (likely 5) is better than missing right into the penalty (possible 6). With that, your strategy seems sound and if you hit a committed shot, you get a bunker 5% of the time, take your medicine and hopefully get a putt for par but accept bogey. You may find yourself in a penalty situation 2-3% of the time and accept the associated outcome. The vast majority of the time though you are giving yourself a good approach shot into the green. 

I’m not sure I’m following you. My current plan is to take the bunkers out of play completely and hit something like a 6i to 130-150 range.

Bill

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33 minutes ago, billchao said:

I’m not sure I’m following you. My current plan is to take the bunkers out of play completely and hit something like a 6i to 130-150 range.

Yes, if you are gonna layup, then layup. No need to nickle and dime a few extra yards and bring bunker back into play.    

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What's the case against blasting a driver at the green? I'm guessing it puts the penalty area/fescue too much into play, but if that's just standard rough around the green, there would be a good case for it.

If it's not driver, then I agree with your approach. The one thing I would add is to shade your aim towards the bunkers vs. center of the fairway. Hitting out of a bunker is (marginally) better than a penalty drop.

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What @DeadMan said. From the satellite it looks like there's tall grass to the right, long of the fairway post-dog-leg. But left it just looks like regular rough all the way to the neighboring tee boxes. If that's true I'm aiming left edge of the green and bombs away every time, hoping for a 30-70 yard up and down opportunity.

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1 hour ago, billchao said:

I’m not sure I’m following you. My current plan is to take the bunkers out of play completely and hit something like a 6i to 130-150 range.

Again, I’m not an expert so take it with a grain of salt

My question is whether laying back even further becomes too conservative and that strategy is suboptimal as a result? Essentially what’s the cost of guaranteed longer second shot vs the x% risk for hitting the bunker?


I think the optimal way to answer the question is looking at strokes gained, in consideration of the hazards and penalties, and picking the strategy that maximizes SG off the tee. I’ve seen some apps that do this but I’m not sure how accurate they are.
 

And again, asking all this so I can learn what I should be doing in these situations rather than questioning your approach Bill. I would give an example of the course I’m joining this year where I plan to aim at the bunker, but I don’t want to take over your swing thread any further!

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1 hour ago, GolfLug said:

Yes, if you are gonna layup, then layup. No need to nickle and dime a few extra yards and bring bunker back into play.    

Right. The difference between being 120 out and 70 out for me (this is the important part) is negligible and not worth putting other risks into play off the tee.

1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

What's the case against blasting a driver at the green? I'm guessing it puts the penalty area/fescue too much into play, but if that's just standard rough around the green, there would be a good case for it.

 

48 minutes ago, mdl said:

What @DeadMan said. From the satellite it looks like there's tall grass to the right, long of the fairway post-dog-leg. But left it just looks like regular rough all the way to the neighboring tee boxes. If that's true I'm aiming left edge of the green and bombs away every time, hoping for a 30-70 yard up and down opportunity.

Ok the argument against driver is that my shot cone is comically large. It puts every possible outcome into play.

Neshanic Ridge #2 Driver.png

You can't see the green from the tee so there's a good chance I'd have to wait for it to clear which would slow down play. That's the third tee right in the middle of the firing range there. I really don't want to wait just to hit a terrible shot and I especially don't want to injure somebody.

1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

If it's not driver, then I agree with your approach. The one thing I would add is to shade your aim towards the bunkers vs. center of the fairway. Hitting out of a bunker is (marginally) better than a penalty drop.

Yea I have no problem playing out of the rough short of the bunker if I'm just going to lay up short of the bunker, but I absolutely need to avoid flaring it right into the penalty area if I'm going to be laying up in the first place.

1 hour ago, 4zim said:

My question is whether laying back even further becomes too conservative and that strategy is suboptimal as a result? Essentially what’s the cost of guaranteed longer second shot vs the x% risk for hitting the bunker?

As a general strategy I understand where you're coming from. But since we're specifically talking about me (this is a shot I'm going to have to hit on Saturday), I think the cost is fairly marginal.

24-04-18 Approach Performance.png

I hit the ball 8' closer on average from 50-100 than I do from 100-150 from the fairway and rough and the green success % difference is 4%. Bunker might as well be a penalty drop. Based on the data, 

1 hour ago, 4zim said:

I think the optimal way to answer the question is looking at strokes gained, in consideration of the hazards and penalties, and picking the strategy that maximizes SG off the tee. I’ve seen some apps that do this but I’m not sure how accurate they are.

Here's my SG:A data compared to a 10:

24-04-18 SGA.png

I honestly don't know how to use SG for decision making. That's why I was mostly looking at proximity to hole and green success rate for comparison. I mostly use SG as a way to track my progress.

1 hour ago, 4zim said:

And again, asking all this so I can learn what I should be doing in these situations rather than questioning your approach Bill.

All good. Like I said, I appreciate the discussion. It makes me think. If I didn't want to see alternative/opposing viewpoints to my own I just wouldn't post anything.

1 hour ago, 4zim said:

I would give an example of the course I’m joining this year where I plan to aim at the bunker, but I don’t want to take over your swing thread any further!

You should post it! In your own swing thread, of course. It's been a fun exercise.

Bill

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On 4/17/2024 at 5:33 PM, billchao said:

Ridge #5

Neshanic Ridge #5 Driver.png

Ugh this hole is rough. I hit the shot in green on Sunday. It looks like I probably shouldn't hit driver on this hole. Here's what it looks like with 4w:

Neshanic Ridge #5 4w.png

It looks safer. Ignore the random shots I topped from earlier in the year. Or maybe not, I don't know. It's not like I can't top my driver, too. Now would be a good time to mention that the rough here isn't just rough. Most of the areas between holes are fescue and even during the early Spring it can be hard to just find the ball. I'm mostly concerned about not flaring it right and the 4w tends to draw. The dispersion tendency on my driver is actually slightly right of center and slightly left with the 4w. This might be more of a game time decision but I'm more comfortable with the 4w sitting here at my computer.

I'd agree that 4w seems like the right play here. I'm not a course designer or anything but that hole looks like it could be so much more fun if everyone played from those front 2 tee boxes that are right outside your shot cone and they cut down most of the trees down that left side of the fairway. That would give risk reward to long hitters who want to try and push it up to that left fairway, allow more players to reach that second fairway, and still allowing it to be perfectly playable for someone who only hits driver like 150yds off the tee.

 

On 4/17/2024 at 5:33 PM, billchao said:

Meadow #2

Neshanic Meadow #2.png

This one I hit into the penalty area (shot marked in red). It was an awful lie and I should have just taken lateral relief but I tried to play it out into the fairway, only hit it like 10 yards and it stayed in the penalty area so it took a second try to get back on the fairway. Lesson learned. Later in the round I played out of the penalty area and had a much better lie so I was able to put it on for GIR. I really need to learn to evaluate risk/reward better because there isn't a lie I'm convinced I can't hit out of and that can be problematic.

But anyway the point was to highlight the tee shot. I think the decision to play 4i was fine, actually. I just pulled it slightly and it caught the slope off the back of the bunker and kicked into shit. I should probably just shift the target line slightly further right.

Yeah it looks like 4iron aimed at that inside edge of the right bunker is the play there, especially if you don't expect a 20mph tailwind again. If it is down wind again, 5iron would be just fine too, it'd still get you inside 150yds for your approach. 

Keep in mind tee marker locations too, you measured that one from the back so if those tee markers are moved all the way towards the front of that box then 5 iron is probably best just to be sure that right bunker is never in play. 

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5 minutes ago, klineka said:

I'd agree that 4w seems like the right play here. I'm not a course designer or anything but that hole looks like it could be so much more fun if everyone played from those front 2 tee boxes that are right outside your shot cone and they cut down most of the trees down that left side of the fairway. That would give risk reward to long hitters who want to try and push it up to that left fairway, allow more players to reach that second fairway, and still allowing it to be perfectly playable for someone who only hits driver like 150yds off the tee.

Oh I'm dumb, I just noticed I did the MyStrategy from the wrong tee box. I don't think it changes anything, though. I'll play it as a three shot hole and I still don't really want to miss right (guy I played with on Sunday never found his ball he hit just over the trees right). I think the trees left are considered part of the environmentally sensitive area because it's part of the drainage area for the course.

I actually like this hole a lot. I'll try to remember to take a picture next time.

25 minutes ago, klineka said:

Yeah it looks like 4iron aimed at that inside edge of the right bunker is the play there, especially if you don't expect a 20mph tailwind again. If it is down wind again, 5iron would be just fine too, it'd still get you inside 150yds for your approach. 

Keep in mind tee marker locations too, you measured that one from the back so if those tee markers are moved all the way towards the front of that box then 5 iron is probably best just to be sure that right bunker is never in play. 

I probably overestimated the wind speed. We had sustained winds of like 12-15mph with gusts up to 25mph. The wind is actually forecast to be WNW on Saturday instead of WSW like was when I played on Sunday so if I play this hole again the wind will be pushing towards that bunker. Similar speeds, though. Wind is always a factor at this course because there's really nothing blocking it. I'm definitely going to have to pay attention to it, especially with the wind. I hit a handful of short iron approaches a lot farther than I thought I would on Sunday.

As of right now the only thing I know for sure is I'm starting on Ridge. I don't know if the back 9 will be played on Meadow or Lake.

Bill

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5 hours ago, billchao said:

Ok the argument against driver is that my shot cone is comically large. It puts every possible outcome into play.

Neshanic Ridge #2 Driver.png

You can't see the green from the tee so there's a good chance I'd have to wait for it to clear which would slow down play. That's the third tee right in the middle of the firing range there. I really don't want to wait just to hit a terrible shot and I especially don't want to injure somebody.

Honestly, unless there's something about that rough there that makes it abnormally penal or a lost ball likely, this might be the play. I don't know how the mystrategy cone works, but per LSW, you don't use every shot for your shot zones. In that scatter plot, you have no balls in the bunker, and 1 in the penalty area. The median outcome seems to be a 50 yard pitch. Even if you aren't great from 50 yards, you're better off there than in a fairway bunker or the penalty area on the right of the fairway.

It could also be a strategy you keep in your back pocket if you need to make up ground. Maybe this is a higher average score with driver, but better chance at a birdie. Maybe you are hitting your driver well and feel comfortable with letting one rip. 

I get not wanting to wait and not wanting to endanger people on the tee, but in a tournament, I think I value playing for score more than waiting. I don't value that over hurting people, but you can always yell fore 😆

6 hours ago, billchao said:

Yea I have no problem playing out of the rough short of the bunker if I'm just going to lay up short of the bunker, but I absolutely need to avoid flaring it right into the penalty area if I'm going to be laying up in the first place.

Only thing I would say is I'm not sure whether that cone is the best representation of the strategy (see my comment above about LSW's shot zones). To me, it looks like a 4 iron where you're aiming closer to the bunker might be the play. You have a lot of shots out to the right and only a few to the left. Obviously, I don't know where you are aiming (and this is a limitation of MyStrategy), but it seems like most of your 4 iron shots are right. You have 2 in the bunker but aiming a bit closer to the bunker won't bring more of your shots into the bunker. It does bring a few away from the penalty area on the right. 

This could also depend on how severe the penalties are for missing the green. Do you need to be closer to avoid issues around the green? 

It's not a bad strategy to hit 6 iron off the tee, be in the fairway, and have 150ish in. I'm probably overthinking this.

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7 hours ago, DeadMan said:

Honestly, unless there's something about that rough there that makes it abnormally penal or a lost ball likely, this might be the play.

I’ll have to pay attention more attention to the area when I’m there. I know the area to the left of the bunkers off the tee is fescue/native vegetation but I can’t remember what’s around the tee boxes.

Something to consider still is that you can’t see the green from the tee. You can’t even see all three bunkers IIRC. So I could have a line on the drive but still not know where it ends up. I think I’d be a lot more comfortable going with driver if I played here more regularly and had a log in my head of where shots tend to end up like I do at the other county courses.

I have never hit driver on this hole off the blue tees. I have done it from the gold, but the length and angle are different, and during casual rounds when I didn’t care that much about score. I’m not sure the best time to try it is the second hole of a tournament. Or at the very least, I’m uncomfortable with the idea and that’s probably enough reason not to do it.

7 hours ago, DeadMan said:

To me, it looks like a 4 iron where you're aiming closer to the bunker might be the play. You have a lot of shots out to the right and only a few to the left. Obviously, I don't know where you are aiming (and this is a limitation of MyStrategy), but it seems like most of your 4 iron shots are right. You have 2 in the bunker but aiming a bit closer to the bunker won't bring more of your shots into the bunker. It does bring a few away from the penalty area on the right.

I see what you’re saying. Wind is supposed to be pushing out more to the right on Saturday, too. I could probably aim right at the bunker and not end up in it.

7 hours ago, DeadMan said:

This could also depend on how severe the penalties are for missing the green. Do you need to be closer to avoid issues around the green? 

I don’t think there’s anything near the green other than that tiny bunker that would give me trouble. Well, trouble in addition to my short game deficiencies that is.

7 hours ago, DeadMan said:

It's not a bad strategy to hit 6 iron off the tee, be in the fairway, and have 150ish in. I'm probably overthinking this.

Yea, me too. All I’m thinking is get it in play, put it near the green, chip on and two putt for 5. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to use my length as an advantage later.

You realize all of this theory crafting will be moot when I chunk it off the tee, right? 😆

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On 4/17/2024 at 5:33 PM, billchao said:

Neshanic Valley Ridge #2

It’s simple.

  1. Hook it onto the tee box of the adjacent hole.
  2. Get a GIR with your approach.
  3. Birdie hole.

#5

  1. Hook it to the adjacent fairway
  2. Hit green with next shot.
  3. Birdie hole.

I call it the Bill Method.

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43 minutes ago, billchao said:

I’ll have to pay attention more attention to the area when I’m there. I know the area to the left of the bunkers off the tee is fescue/native vegetation but I can’t remember what’s around the tee boxes.

Something to consider still is that you can’t see the green from the tee. You can’t even see all three bunkers IIRC. So I could have a line on the drive but still not know where it ends up. I think I’d be a lot more comfortable going with driver if I played here more regularly and had a log in my head of where shots tend to end up like I do at the other county courses.

I have never hit driver on this hole off the blue tees. I have done it from the gold, but the length and angle are different, and during casual rounds when I didn’t care that much about score. I’m not sure the best time to try it is the second hole of a tournament. Or at the very least, I’m uncomfortable with the idea and that’s probably enough reason not to do it.

I see what you’re saying. Wind is supposed to be pushing out more to the right on Saturday, too. I could probably aim right at the bunker and not end up in it.

I don’t think there’s anything near the green other than that tiny bunker that would give me trouble. Well, trouble in addition to my short game deficiencies that is.

Yea, me too. All I’m thinking is get it in play, put it near the green, chip on and two putt for 5. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to use my length as an advantage later.

You realize all of this theory crafting will be moot when I chunk it off the tee, right? 😆

I think I like this hole.  It is a clear "Risk-Reward" choice.  Since most of the shots in your cone cleared the bunkers I would say they are a minor risk and not a big issue.  Playing the aggressive line may give you 70ish yards in from what looks to be playable rough while conservative play is 120ish from fairway.  I know you said 70 vs 120 is minor for you but how does the approach angle in impact your results?  I figure both strategies are playing for Birdie since holing out from either is mostly luck.

Looking at your proximity hole I think it says @ 50 feet when hitting from the fairway from 100-150 and 40 feet if hitting 50-100 from the rough.  Neither of those is an easy birdie putt.  

I like the approach angle from the rough between the bunkers & the adjacent tees over the angle from @ 120 in the fairway but I really do not like the idea of hitting onto the adjacent tee boxes and that may impact my confidence with making the shot.  Also, too far left may be a worse approach angle then from the fairway short of the bunkers.

For me this may come down to how confident do I feel when I reach that tee box.  If I am stroking it well off the tee leading up to the hole I would try for over the bunkers and the better angle in but if I am struggling that day I would likely opt for the fairway to take more bad stuff out of play.

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6 minutes ago, StuM said:

I know you said 70 vs 120 is minor for you but how does the approach angle in impact your results?

Angle is not a factor. I hit the ball 100’ high.

11 minutes ago, StuM said:

I figure both strategies are playing for Birdie since holing out from either is mostly luck.

Par is net birdie. My CH is 16.

8 minutes ago, StuM said:

I like the approach angle from the rough between the bunkers

The rough between the bunkers is like 10’ wide though. That’s not something you’re going to try to hit on purpose. Most of the area to the left of that is fescue/native vegetation and I’m pretty sure there isn’t a flat lie in any of it.

37 minutes ago, StuM said:

For me this may come down to how confident do I feel when I reach that tee box.  If I am stroking it well off the tee leading up to the hole I would try for over the bunkers and the better angle in but if I am struggling that day I would likely opt for the fairway to take more bad stuff out of play.

It’s the second hole.

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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2 hours ago, StuM said:

I know you said 70 vs 120 is minor for you but how does the approach angle in impact your results? 

If any of us on this thread start factoring landing angle as a factor for a 70 vs 120 shot, Imma lose it. 😂 

Vishal S.

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