Jump to content
IGNORED

Ideal Pitching/Layup Distance


Note: This thread is 1344 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, iacas said:

That's not the same kind of "common sense." And "common sense" both ain't as common as anyone wishes, nor is it correct as often as we'd like to think it is.

You're correct.  Perhaps physics or leverage is more apt.  My point was just that things aren't always as clear cut as some would like to believe.  Statistically, that's the percentage play.  It's backed up by your research.  I don't believe it fits every player every time, though.  

I'm curious though.  I've never had a discussion with a professional about this.  I've read your book.  I've seen your posts.  I understand where you're coming from on a statistical basis.  I still can't quite grasp the concept fully, I guess.

You mentioned above that a 24 handicapper is going to benefit more from that type of play.  

Using my example (280 yards away on a par 5) and a 24 handicap player.  You'd suggest a 3 wood that they might hit 200 yards 2 out of 10 times over a 5 iron which they might hit 160 yards 7 out of 10 times?  Is that simply because they'd be more likely to hit it closer from 80 yards if they succeeded than they would from 120 yards?  

I genuinely struggle with decisions like this on the course at times.  Saturday, for example, I hit a decent drive on a par 5.  I was sitting up in the rough along the right side.  I had just about the distance I listed above, 280 yards, to the hole.  There were sand traps short & left... and also to the right of the green.  Short and right, there was an area of fairway down in a valley.  I debated for a good minute or so.  The lie was good... but the traps short & left concerned me.  I didn't want to be left with an awkward 40 yard sand shot.  I ultimately elected to hit my 4 iron, which left me down in that valley just off that area of fairway.  I then hit a shot from 68 yards which just missed the lip and left me a 6 footer for birdie.  

In your opinion, @iacas, if you were there caddying for me... would your advice have been to hit the 3 wood in that situation?  I'm being sincere in my asking because maybe I need to rethink things.  Perhaps as @Golfingdad said, I am overthinking things.  That could be leading to some struggles.  Maybe getting out of my own way is the best option?

CY

7 minutes ago, iacas said:

@Fairway_CY, you're still overthinking it.

If you hit the long clubs poorly, their Shot Zones are correspondingly large, and then sometimes they're the best play (really wide open area, no hazards) and sometimes they're the stupid play (tighter landing area with a hazard or multiple hazards).

@Golfingdad was just pointing out that you, like almost everyone, hit it closer from closer range, even if you're not as confident.

I don't think he was commenting on whether hitting the shot to get there was the smart play or not.

Crap... I was typing the above post while you responded with this.  

This answers my question.  I think I'd benefit from re-reading LSW.  I'm not sure I fully comprehend the shot zones yet.  

Thanks for helping to shed some light on it.

CY

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Replies 106
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

No, I try and get the ball as close to the green as possible without putting myself in trouble.  

Really dumb ideas, these two.  Particularly the second one.  I don't know what they're smoking.  The correct answer is to be as risky as possible and lay back to at least 110-115 yards whenever possib

This is the traditional wisdom for laying up, get to a "good yardage", commonly a full swing wedge of some kind.  Newer statistically-driven strategy would suggest you try to get as close as possible

Posted Images

  • Administrator
1 minute ago, Fairway_CY said:

I don't believe it fits every player every time, though.

Over the long haul, it does.

Over the short term, or for any one individual, no, it doesn't fit every time.

But nobody's ever claimed that it does.

1 minute ago, Fairway_CY said:

You mentioned above that a 24 handicapper is going to benefit more from that type of play.

And posted a chart.

The chart didn't include the shot that got them to that distance.

1 minute ago, Fairway_CY said:

Using my example (280 yards away on a par 5) and a 24 handicap player.  You'd suggest a 3 wood that they might hit 200 yards 2 out of 10 times over a 5 iron which they might hit 160 yards 7 out of 10 times?

No. If you've read LSW, and you read my post above, well… it's still just about Shot Zones and Decision Maps. The Distance Gradient still applies. As does the Penalty Buffer, as does mapping their Shot Zones.

Over the long haul.

Today I really went after a 4-iron to try to reach a par five in two. I chunked it because I sometimes go "down" a bit more when I go harder at a shot, but I knew that and ended up with an 80-yard wedge from light rough.

So the same as if I'd layed up, with the potential to give myself an eagle putt if I wasn't a moron. :-)

So even stipulating 2 out of 10 times doesn't help me. What if the other 8 times they hit it thin and it goes 150-170? What if the other 8 times they chunk it twenty yards or slice it 40 yards right? What if their 5-iron 3 out of 10 times is a shank and there's OB right?

Too many questions to answer, even with the stipulations you gave.

It's very simple, and it involves the Shot Zones and Decision Maps.

1 minute ago, Fairway_CY said:

I was sitting up in the rough along the right side.  I had just about the distance I listed above, 280 yards, to the hole.  There were sand traps short & left... and also to the right of the green.  Short and right, there was an area of fairway down in a valley.  I debated for a good minute or so.  The lie was good... but the traps short & left concerned me.  I didn't want to be left with an awkward 40 yard sand shot.  I ultimately elected to hit my 4 iron, which left me down in that valley just off that area of fairway.  I then hit a shot from 68 yards which just missed the lip and left me a 6 footer for birdie.  

In your opinion, @iacas, if you were there caddying for me... would your advice have been to hit the 3 wood in that situation?

I don't know. I don't know much at all about your game.

It'd come down to Shot Zones and Decision Maps. It's really very simple.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

As the philosopher, Al Khaseltzer, once famously intoned: It is better to have lived and had heartburn than never to have lived at all.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I don't really have favorite distance. I hit the ball as far as I can with my full swings, and what ever is left over is what it is. 

I am kind of  partial to 40-50 yard flop shots when I get them so maybe thats my favorite. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

7 hours ago, RayG said:

But you take Joe Weekender and his 24 hdcp to 50 yards out with 10 balls and I GUARANTEE that at least 2 will be 30 yards over the back and 2 will be 30 yards short and 15 yds right.

 

27 minutes ago, iacas said:

Now, we didn't take 24 handicappers out there, but… those people are not really here on the site, and if the trends from the lower handicappers to the higher handicappers continued, they'd actually benefit the MOST from being at 50 yards than being at 90 yards.

Say what?!

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 6.08.15 PM.png

I'm pretty much a 24 HC. This is filtered to show gap wedge approaches over the last 15 rounds recorded and include some pretty poor rounds. I use this club for anything under 100 yards.

As you pointed out @RayG, the three short were duffs or misjudged swings. But it's not to the extent you might think. All 17 of these shots are anywhere from 50 to 100 yards out.

Hitting a partial shot is easier than a full swing to me. The mechanics are simpler and less can go wrong. In fact, I've taken some good advice I received from other members of this site (looking at you @Denny Bang Bang and @b101 ) and I rarely take a full swing with a 9 iron and less (the 9 iron is the cut-off and I will take a full swing with it if 125 to 130 yards out). 

And if a partial shot easier, one with a shorter backswing and followthrough is even easier, IMO.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Administrator
16 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

Say what?!

If you actually took offense to that… c'mon. (I don't think you did… but just sayin'). We don't have many 24+ handicappers hanging around.

I'm glad that one of the few we DO have had some insight.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 hour ago, iacas said:

If you actually took offense to that… c'mon. (I don't think you did… but just sayin').

Of course not. I should have added a smiley face or something.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I tend to play with the mindset of "advance the ball safely".  That can result in different decisions during any given round (I.e. some days are better than others).

If I'm playing well, I'll go for greens all day long (within reason... e.g. I'm typically not going to pull out a driver and go for a short Par 4 surround by water and OB stakes).

If I'm having a rough day (e.g. a major hook with the longer sticks), I'm probably going lay up if there is trouble left, and right isn't looking much better. In this situation, I do choose a layup distance that I'm pretty confident with (which is as close to the green as possible, while staying out of trouble).

Edited by Denny Bang Bang
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Administrator
1 hour ago, Buckeyebowman said:

Ideal layup/pitching distance? I don't have one! Other than to say that it should be as close to a full swing as possible! Partial swing give me trouble!

:doh:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

For the guy questioning the three wood that's a question imo that depends on the player/situation.

I play with a guy whose a short knocker with a short swing but his three wood is a moneymaker.  He's shallow.  He loves that thing!  I leave my three woods in a closet.

I can't hit a three wood to save my life.  Today on our seconds on a par five I was ball below my feet-ball was lying fine but it's was a weird stance for me so I hit my longest iron a five.  I have trouble downhill side hill stances on long shots.   Ended up fairway for an approach around 130.  He piped his typical five yard draw three wood inside a hundred froma slightly better lie (not much better though).

He ragged me for my lack of aggressiveness and dropped one and said here hit my three wood-I can so I know you can.   I hit it much farther than him on full shots - I almost missed the ball and popped it over the hazard to the right which would have left me 155 or so.   

Peoples games especially at an am level like mine can differ greatly.

For me the proper play was what I did given my ability.  Par fives suck for me because I have to make them into par threes.

Its easier to explain if I could post video of our swings.  His stock full move is like a nine to three.  My swing gets ugly trying to whack three wood.  People have told me many times that when I grab three wood mys swing changes.  Oh well...For now I leave it at home.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

To all those that say they don't like partial shots, have you actually practised them? That is to say, gone out to the course late and hit 5 shots with a 3/4 wedge (whatever that feel may be for you), walked to get them and measured the distance. Then done the same with a 1/2 wedge etc, for your 3 wedges? If not, I completely see why you'd prefer a full shot, because you have no frame of reference. If you have no idea what your yardages are, the lack of confidence then causes more issues on top of the fact that you could be trying to hit a 100 yard shot 75 yards etc.

Honestly, find time to do this. Practise the mechanics on the range before going out to measure them. It's so valuable - even if you end up being five yards out or so, it gives you the information to then put them in during a round and know what to do when you have 68 yards. For example, mine currently looks like:

 

¼ soft

¼ hard

½

¾

Full

Lob Wedge (60°)

28

42

52

68

82

Sand Wedge (56°)

34

50

66

82

99

Gap Wedge (52°)

40

 *N/A

77

102

115

Pitching Wedge (49°)

48

*N/A

90

116

125

Give me a preference and I like the 1/4 soft or 3/4 shots the most, simply because I've practised and gamed them the most - I often end up about 100 yards away from the hole, so the 3/4 gap wedge is a lovely shot to hit for me. That said, would I rather have that shot or a 50 yard shot - the 1/4 hard shot with my sand wedge that I'm not so fond of? If you gave me the choice, I'd pick my ball up and walk the 50 yards forward every single time. I would also rather be in a greenside bunker than 100 yards away and I'm 50-50 about whether I'd rather be in a bunker 40 yards short or 100 yards in the fairway.

Does this mean you should go for everything blindly? Here's an example from yesterday that, I think, illustrates my mindset as well as possible and hopefully helps. It's also the first time I've played this course (this is important) and so I can evaluate my own choices with the benefit of hindsight and without being blinded my what I always take etc.

gghills5.png

The shot in question is the second shot. There's absolutely no trouble left, the first bunker finishes at 180 yards, the second at 210 and the greenside bunker was at 245. Now I could have layed up over the first bunker with a hybrid or 4 iron. Hybrid would have been the option here as it's more consistent, but why give up the distance? I could have layed up in front of the cross-bunker with a 9 iron, which would have meant a full wedge in. That brings the greenside bunker into play on the next shot (as well as a lot of other variables). Or, I could hit my longest club (3 wood), which I can carry 220 with no problem and could go to 240 on a dry fairway, but it's a wet day, so is likely to stop pretty much dead. My 4 iron will be straight to a slight draw, hybrid straight to a slight fade and 3 wood will fade about 5-20 yards.

I chose to hit a 3 wood over the left edge of the second bunker (aiming way left of the green). If straight, I'd have been very close to the green and it took most of the trouble out of play, whilst advancing the ball as far as possible. I hit a push-fade that ended about as far right as I could have planned for. I was always carrying the bunker at 210 providing I hit a decent shot (it was actually into wind more than I had realised down between the trees). This left me 55 yards to the middle of the green and I had to go over a tree branch - looking at the chart, the 1/2 swing lob wedge fitted well. I hadn't caught the best of lies and hit the wedge a bit thin, putting me just over the back. Wedge back up the green and a putt for par (or would have been had I not been three off the tee :doh:). It is SI 1 for a reason, you have to hit a draw if you're taking driver and that approach isn't the easiest.

Now, looking back on this, a few things leap out. Firstly, do I correctly remember my yardages with 3w, 4i etc. Well:

gghills5.png

First thing that strikes me is that I don't hit my 3 wood off the deck anywhere near as well as I believe. Recently, this has been more of an issue, but that's something I now need to take to the range. I hit this one ok, but by no means perfectly. The other thing to bear in mind though is situation. I'm long enough off the tee that I don't often need my three wood to reach par 5s in two if the wind is down (I'll either take hybrid or be playing an iron). I'd say a good 50% of the time I'm hitting 3 wood is in some sort of big wind. BUT, you can't ignore the stats. I don't hit it as far, or as well, as I believe. A good hit should carry it, but I'm about 10 yards shorter than I think with an average strike. Same with the 4 iron option - probably would have been right, but it would have been close.

So, bearing that in mind, what was the play. I would say it should have been a 3 wood, still, but over the first bunker. I didn't realise it at the time, but short left is fine - you just can't tell from the fairway. If it goes straight, I'm in the rough, pitching up to the green with no danger in the way. If it goes right, I'm in the fairway. It likely won't go left, but if it does, I just have a longer pitch.

What cost the shots? In this case, my driver... Take that out though and which shot takes birdie out of the equation? It's partly planning with the 3 wood, partly execution with the wedge. Now, were I playing it again, knowing I could aim short left, that would certainly be what I would do, but I would never lay up short of either of the first two bunkers. 

Hope this helps illustrate my thinking - it's not perfect, but hopefully clarifies a few things.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Good, interesting stuff on this thread. On my home course there is a short par 4 where I can drive it to about 30-40 yards of the green. I've been consistently using this play. There is rough on the left and a bunker on the right, but not huge trouble. The green has severe slopes, so it is tough to approach.

My last three rounds I've made three bogeys from the left rough and been about 40 yards from the green.. The rough is pretty thick but in no means unplayable. You have to hit from a sidehill lie, so the stance can get a bit uncomfortable. 

I'm considering trying a different approach on this hole and maybe leaving it a bit further. But after reading through this post I just might stick to my original plan and try to get my drive as close to the green as possible (and on to the fairway..) and execute my 40 yarders better..

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

4 hours ago, b101 said:

Honestly, find time to do this. Practise the mechanics on the range before going out to measure them. It's so valuable - even if you end up being five yards out or so, it gives you the information to then put them in during a round and know what to do when you have 68 yards. For example, mine currently looks like:

This is great advice. Most people don't vary their swing length enough on their partial shots.

Another good practice routine would be to play 9 holes with one club. I'll play 9 holes just with a 7 iron. It allows me to focus on hitting shots. You have to learn to vary the swing length to hit those partial shots.

4 hours ago, b101 said:

If you gave me the choice, I'd pick my ball up and walk the 50 yards forward every single time. I would also rather be in a greenside bunker than 100 yards away and I'm 50-50 about whether I'd rather be in a bunker 40 yards short or 100 yards in the fairway.

Ditto. I prefer a pitch or chip over any other shot. If someone told me to take my ball and move it forward 50 yards I would do it in a heartbeat.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Moderator
6 hours ago, FinTurma said:

I'm considering trying a different approach on this hole and maybe leaving it a bit further. But after reading through this post I just might stick to my original plan and try to get my drive as close to the green as possible (and on to the fairway..) and execute my 40 yarders better..

If the combination of thick rough and a difficult sidehill lie makes the shot substantially more difficult than a "standard" 40-yarder, it might be worth laying back a little to get a more normal shot.  Nobody has suggested that you should always get as close as possible while completely ignoring the difficulty of the ensuing shot.  If the other factors are similar, almost every golfer will do better hitting a shorter shot.  If the rough was shorter, or the lie closer to level, the 40-yarder might still be the best choice, even compared to a longer shot from a perfect lie in the fairway.  But thick rough and a severe sidehill lie make a shot difficult, so a more level lie in shorter grass sounds like it could be a better choice, even if its further.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Note: This thread is 1344 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...