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Obsession with distance


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When I'm down I always like to grab a coffee and come and read about some of the long-drive heroics here on the sand trap. Some guys really know how to put a smile back on my face

I've often wondered what is this obsession that many golfers have with distance, whether it is the 'legendary' 300yd drive, or how far they hit their irons? At the end of the day, what does it matter if one guy hits an 100% 8i approach, whilst another guy hits a controlled 6i - if they both hit the green and both make par?

If you ask me what I get most satisfaction from - straining every sinue in my body to hit a long drive, or flushing a controlled iron shot, it'd be the iron shot, hands down. I get so much more satisfaction hitting an iron shot stiff than I do from bombing a drive down a fairway (or not on the fairway as the case may be).

I reckon that most golfers would be much better served tightenting up there iron play - mid and short game - rather than constantly changing drivers or re-shafting to squeeze out another 10yds of distance. If they diverted some of this driver 'enthusiasm' to their iron play, handicaps would surely tumble?

In my opinion, distance is vastly overrated.

Let the debate begin.

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Now how much fun is that?

Honestly, I think you are completely right. And I agree, it is much more satisfying to me to stick an approach shot on the green rather than bomb a long drive. The only distance I worry about is trying to hit consistent distances with my irons.

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id rather be able to make 20 ft putts than 300 yd drives for sure.. hell i struggle with 5 footers
drive for show putt for dough
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In my opinion, distance is vastly overrated.

Corey Pavin is a short hitter by just about any standard. A significant fraction of the LPGA Tour has a longer driving distance than he does. But you know what else? He has the PGA Tour scoring record for 9 holes. He's won far more tournaments already than I suspect John Daly, J.B. Holmes, and Bubba Watson, all reasonably good players that hit the ball far beyond Corey Pavin, are going to gather in their collective careers.

Distance is over-rated. Distance, used accurately, would be fantastic for scores. If I could hit my driver 30 yards farther, without loss of accuracy, I would probably score a little better. But distance isn't the determining factor in scores. I'm thinking in particular of the 18th hole at the course I play most frequently. Yesterday, I hit a 200 yard drive to the center fairway and made bogey. The time before, I hit a 240 yard drive there, also to the center of the fairway, and made double bogey. The only club where hitting it the correct distance really matters is the putter.
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we all know it's all about the short game... but hell, how do you boast about a 40 yard pitch to 2 feet vs a 280 yard drive to the middle of the fairway???

One of them is an almost guaranteed par or birdie, whilst the other still has a lot of work to do.

The thing I like about distance is that you can use shorter clubs. I'm probably hitting my drives around 250, but I wouldn't mind cranking them up to 280+. It would give me the option to hit an 8i instead of 6i, and yes, that makes a difference. The shot is easier and higher, making your chances of getting close easier.
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we all know it's all about the short game... but hell, how do you boast about a 40 yard pitch to 2 feet vs a 280 yard drive to the middle of the fairway???

I believe in most cases your scorecard will do the talking!

Apart from that, I think your playing partners will also be more impressed with your 40yd up and down, as opposed to a long drive?
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we all know it's all about the short game... but hell, how do you boast about a 40 yard pitch to 2 feet vs a 280 yard drive to the middle of the fairway???

...and anyway, a 40yd pitch is a horrible in-between distance. I'd much sooner be 100yd away with a full wedge than 40yds!

I guess a typical scenario whereby a 40yd pitch comes about is when somebody tries to drive the green on a short par 4 and comes up miserably short. For argument's sake, let's say we have a 300yd par 4. I believe a 5iron and a full wedge will be safer and more reliable than a drive and 40yd pitch. Even a couple of 8irons would be more reliable...
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You're absolutely right Kingfisher. From my experience the people that brag about their "long drives" are out there to whack the ball as far as they can and the people that are more concerned about score are out there to shoot a good score.

I've never understood the thought behind hitting an 8 iron into a green when you have a 2/10 chance of getting there vs. a smooth 7 iron that will get there 8/10 times and be more accurate.

My ego will hurt more when I leave that 8 iron 10 yards short than hitting a 7 iron to 15 feet, ON THE GREEN.
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distance is definitely a big advantage as long as you can keep it in play. Par 5s become pretty much guaranteed birdies. You also make more birdies because you have more wedge shots into the green vs. a guy that hits it short.

I'm talking 320+ yards drives vs someone that hits it only 270.
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I love um both actually. MAke me feel very good :]

With a +1.5 index you should be able to enjoy both! For good players, if you can do the business from the tee and on the green, then fair play.

Having said that, I bet you didn't get to +1.5 by just trying to nuke a driver as far as possible every time you're on the tee?
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distance is definitely a big advantage as long as you can keep it in play. Par 5s become pretty much guaranteed birdies. You also make more birdies because you have more wedge shots into the green vs. a guy that hits it short.

Exactly the point -

IF you can keep it in play! I'm not sure about making more birdies because of having more wedge shots into the green? Just because your tee shot puts you closer to the green, it doesn't by default mean it's an easier shot. As I said earlier, give me a full shot any time over a in-between wedge. Anyway, if you're as long as you claim you are, you shouldn't be worried about wedges - you'll be hitting fairway woods into par 5s, so wedge shots become somewhat redundant? Unless of course you're missing the greens? ...which goes back to my original point
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...and anyway, a 40yd pitch is a horrible in-between distance. I'd much sooner be 100yd away with a full wedge than 40yds!

How about a wager? I'll put the money on the guy who is 40 yards from the hole versus a guy 100 yards if they are similarly skilled.

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You're misled if you think pros don't work on distance along with short distances. This game challenges every aspect of your game, including your length. Unless of course someone plays all short courses to feel better about not being able to hang. People who can't hit the ball far just can't relate to long hitters. They don't get it. And worse off, most ACCEPT their deficiency. If distance doesn't make a difference, why do they keep lengthening courses?? 10 yards is irrelevent, but 40-50 is a game changer.....
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How about a wager? I'll put the money on the guy who is 40 yards from the hole versus a guy 100 yards if they are similarly skilled.

I'd take a wager against a similarly skilled player anytime. I've seen plenty of short pitch shots not even reach the green, airmailed over, chilli-dipped, thinned, in bunkers etc.

Ok, maybe a one-off, the other guy may stiff it a foot or two from the pin, but when the pressure is really on, you're far more liable to screw up that 40yd pitch than a full wedge. There's just so much less danger involved in hitting a shot you know you can hit, rather than trying to conjure something up. I tell you what, since it's so easy for the 40yd pitch, why don't we both play over a bunker that's guarding a front pin? Your 40yd pitch will be coming in like a patriot missile whereas my full wedge will be parachuting in. You still up for that wager now?
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