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Dent

Club Choice

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I see people talking about only hitting driver on a couple of holes.

Okay, that can depend on the type of course and the layout. I sometimes see players that have a wide open fairway, but still insist to use the 3w or an Iron.

I find myself using my Driver on every hole. Regardless of trees, I know I can hit it straight, So I gamble with the chance that it will go down the middle. I know I can probably hit lower scores if I stay away from that driver.

What makes you decide to hit something different off the tee? I feel like Im not playing properly by using my driver on every hole at some courses.

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At the risk of sounding obvious, I'd hit a 3w or an iron based on strategy and course management.

1. There are those doglegs that if you hit driver, assuming you could not cut off the dogleg, you would blow past the fairway, and end up in the rough.

2. A hole where the landing area of the fairway is heavily bunkered, and the smart play is to not hit a club that puts you in the range of those bunkers, but rather end up short of the bunkers. It's a lot less pressure than trying to drive past the bunkers, if you can still hit the green from behind the bunkers.

3. It's very windy, and I want to keep the ball down to penetrate the wind, instead of being pushed around by the wind. So I'd hit an iron off the tee.

4. Comfort. If you happen to feel more comfortable hitting something besides your driver, and you're not having the best of days, or you're looking to play within your game- especially to win that particular hole, why wouldn't you want to hit with your comfort club? It's all about confidence.

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I just have to ask: Are you serious with this question? It’s all about course management, as opposed to having the course manage you. Why would you leave yourself between clubs on any hole? On the whole, that’s insanity – I mean, get your Prolixin® prescription refilled insanity. You said it yourself, “I know I can probably hit lower scores if I stay away from that driver.” Are you not interested in reaching scratch status? Don’t take offense to this… but you are de facto not playing [the game] properly.

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I just have to ask: Are you serious with this question? It’s all about course management, as opposed to having the course manage you. Why would you leave yourself between clubs on any hole? On the whole, that’s insanity – I mean, get your Prolixin® prescription refilled insanity. You said it yourself, “I know I can probably hit lower scores if I stay away from that driver.” Are you not interested in reaching scratch status? Don’t take offense to this… but you are de facto not playing [the game] properly.

That's not what I was asking. Obviously I don't go on a par 3 and tee up a driver, or try to shape my driver for a 90* dogleg. I'm not stupid. I'm just wondering what keeps skilled players away from hitting their driver on tree lined holes when they know they can hit it straight.

You see pros on TV hitting 3 woods with no obstacles or anything in sight. A clear fairway path, and for instance, can still hit their driver well that day. what gives them the incentive to do this?

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What is it with the “trees” that’s the second time you’ve mentioned them: Who are you, Joyce Kilmer? Trees have nothing to do with it – it’s about course management, and not leaving yourself between clubs. It’s just that simple. I expect a 7.5 H.I. to know better.

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Haha who said pros know that they can hit a driver straight? They hit other clubs because they are not positive they can pull off the shot. I was on a 380 yard 4 yesterday going into the hole even(first time). Now i could hit a driver 260-280 and have some type of wedge in. However not feeling overly confident with my driver i took out my 3 wood and put it on the 150 marker. Literally had to take a drop cause i was dead in the center of the fairway on the marker. It really is so much easier to control a 3 wood for me. Therefor i hit it whenever i can. The incentive is to hit a shot that they absolutely know they can hit consistently.

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If the hole is 300 yards lets say (i know pros dont use that) and adam scott hits a SW 95 yards (thats what he says in the GOLF magazine) he will hit something 200-210 off the tee so he has his full sand wedge shot into the green.

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Yup, confidence,if i am driving the ball well i will hit driver on most holes,but if i am feeling sketchy i will hit my 19* hybrid.On a short par four say 300 or less
i will take a 7 iron if i am sketchy with the driver.

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For most of the time I've had my 3 wood I've not liked it (but I've started feeling better about it recently) and hit driver on every hole. Nowadays, I'd take the 3 wood out if it was a short par 4 (regardless of trees) and it left me with say an 8 or 9 iron into the green versus some full sand wedge, a weakness (one of many!) in my game.

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At the moment I am trying to let my gut instinct tell me what club to hit, as doing this avoids doubt creeping in to your mind, regardless of the tightness of the fairway, if I feel confident and comfortable enough I will probably hit the driver.

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For most of the time I've had my 3 wood I've not liked it (but I've started feeling better about it recently) and hit driver on every hole. Nowadays, I'd take the 3 wood out if it was a short par 4 (regardless of trees) and it left me with say an 8 or 9 iron into the green versus some full sand wedge, a weakness (one of many!) in my game.

Ditto here - I am most confident with my 8 iron approach shots. There are other reasons I might want to hit 3 wood, but this is the prevailing factor for now.

Edit - unless its a reeeeally short par 4...i may just go for it so that I'm either on the green in one or have a short pitch left.

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What is it with the “trees” that’s the second time you’ve mentioned them: Who are you, Joyce Kilmer? Trees have nothing to do with it – it’s about course management, and not leaving yourself between clubs. It’s just that simple. I expect a 7.5 H.I. to know better.

I don't agree with you. Don't use the 'I expected a 7.5 to know better'. It sounds snobby. Most pro's will use driver on a hole because they would take a 9i-Pw into a green compared to a mid iron as there is greater accuracy. most of the time they use 3w on hole with narrow fairways, or holes with fairway bunkers at their driving length.It's not really about leaving yourself between clubs because to hit a drive so its a full 9i rather than a 7 1/2 iron to the the green is almost impossible to know exactly how far you will hit your club.

rant over

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Dent,

Some advice I was given by a really good player, a +1.5, regarding this same subject. He stated that on most holes, he plays to the yardage that would give him the opportunity to hit from his favorite distance: 150 yards and in.

On certain holes, that might call for him to hit a driver, a long iron, even a hybrid. Additionally, since most of the courses he plays has the 150 yd stake, that becomes his target and nothing else.

I don't know if your home course has those stakes. I know some courses, don't. However, if they do and your comfortable from that distance, it might be something for you to shoot for the next time out.

Hope this helps.

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on hole 7, people in my sixsm always pull out a hybrid. i use a iron. the hole is 204 from back and 190 from front. on fronts i use a 7 maybe a 6. on backs i use a 6 maybe a 5 or 4.
from what i can tell they dont have confidence in their iron distance and accuracy. i feel irons are better in this case. and i never try to roll it up to the green, i always want to land on the green first.

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It's all about course management. If the driver is the right club, then I hit driver. If it's not, then I don't. On my home course, on a nice day with light breeze I use driver on a maximum of 2 holes on the front 9. Sometimes only on one hole. If the wind is blowing, that strategy changes depending on direction. There are holes where the wind either makes the hole play too long if I don't use driver, and there are holes where a tailwind will get me in range of a par 5 in 2 when it's usually a 3 shot hole. If it's going to be a 3 shot hole anyway, then I will use a 3W or a 4W to be more certain that I'll be in play.

If there is no advantage to use a driver, then why use it??? I know guys like you Dent, and they just think... "It's a tee shot. It's not a par 3. So I'll use the driver." That is the sum total of their thinking process for the shot. You may think you hit the driver straight, and maybe you do, most of the time . But if that's the case then you should be absolutely deadly with a 3W, so why not use it on those holes where the driver brings bunkers, rough and other obstacles into play.

The whole idea of playing good golf is to avoid trouble, and using a club that completely eliminates a certain hazard because it can't reach it just increases your odds of scoring well on that hole. Just think about how often Tiger Woods uses a 3W or an iron off the tee just so that he can't possibly reach a bunker complex in the landing area. He still might be in the rough because of a mishit, but the bunker is guaranteed to be out of play. He just improved his odds on that hole. Why take a risk unless it's necessary. You have to weigh the reward against the risk, and that is one thing that the best players are very good at (with a couple of notable exceptions ).

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For me it is all about playing the hole backwards as to what I will hit off the tee on a par 4/5. I am comfortable that I will hit the green on a shot from 180 yards in out of the fairway, and about 160 from the rough. The scoring range, or being able to go after a pin, is 150 on in from the fairway or 125 and in from the rough. Depending on the course and rough conditions sometimes it doesn't matter if you are in the rough or in the fairway so that plays into the decision as well. The angle of attack to the green depending on where the hole is placed can also come into the decision. So...

I know I can hit my 2-iron about 220-230 off the tee, 3-wood around 240-250 and driver 275 on up over 300 sometimes. I am usually straight with the first two, and can sometimes be erratic with the driver.

The eleventh hole at my course is 355, slight dogleg right, with a narrow fairway and bunkers at about 275 off the tee, trouble right and left. This is usally always a 2-iron which will leave me 125-135 to the green usually out of the fairway, but if not, I am close enough the rough won't matter. To hit driver here would require a perfect fade because if you go through the fairway to the left you are in the river, right is OB. With a 2-iron, there is no chance of hitting through the fairway. Plus the way the green angles, the left side of the fairway is the better way to attack the hole.

The next hole is short also, only 375. It is pretty straight and the only trouble is way right or way left. Driver is the play here because it is a great scoring chance by being able to approach with a GW or SW. Even if I miss the fairway I will be close enough the rough won't matter. If I haven't hit the driver very good that day, I will hit 3-wood and still have a PW to the green.

For me it all boils down to this thought "what can I hit off this tee box that gets me to my scoring range at the correct angle to the green that is the safest play to avoid any trouble".

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I have read about a lot of Pro's playing a course backwards, from the hole to the tee.

Find your "go-to" shot: lets say 100-yards with a 9i.

So, for example: 450-yard, par 5.
We know that we want to be hitting our 3rd shot from 100 yards out. So, our 1st and 2nd shots need to cover 350 yards total.

3w + 5i? Those are nice easy shots, with lots of confidence behind them. So, why NOT take them?



Or, same example, except with a "go-to" shot of a 50-yard Wedge.
450-yard, Par 5.
3rd shot will befrom 50.
1st + 2nd needs to cover that 400 yards.
Driver + hybrid? Now, we need the big stick because we need the first shot to go past 200 yards and hopefully approach 250 yards to ensure our 2nd shot will put us in range of our "go-to" shot.


That's the course management as I understand it.

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