Playing for Bogey on a Tough Par 4

agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,510 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

Obviously pros do this on the 72nd hole with the lead. I've also heard of guys "laying up" for their second shot on a very long par 4 if their drive doesn't give them a good chance of getting it on in 2 and there are hazards around the green.

However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

There is one par 4 where I play that is tough. Off the tee there is a) OB all the way down the left side, b) creek / waste area that cuts across the fairway so can't hit driver, and c) pond on the right side of the fairway. The hole also narrows somewhat the farther down towards the creek/waste area you go.

The last five rounds I've hit 5-iron / 5-iron / flick sand wedge and got a bogey each time. When playing it "normal" I've made pars and an odd birdie but also a lot of doubles and triples.

Wondering if anyone has found the conservative strategy to be more successful and stuck with it for an extended period of time? I usually don't take an "avoid looking dumb/bad shot" strategy at all times. However, here the biggest problem is off the tee, and the advantage of hitting a 5-iron is that I can't reach the pond and the OB is much more difficult to hit into on the 5-iron distance/line.

Obviously, I can play both ways 10-20 times in a row and see what wins out (I don't have the historical data from my prior rounds hole by hole). I may also try hitting two 7-woods, which could probably get me on the green some of the time (I need to see what this is like off the tee though). I also realize the strategy here may vary by skill level...

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«13

Comments

  • Lefty96Lefty96 Members Posts: 215 ✭✭✭

    I have done this on a par 4 on my home course. OB right and left and it’s tight. Plays pretty long and has a tiny green. I have hit so many balls OB on that hole with just about every club you can imagine taking off the tee. Eventually I started hitting a 7 iron, then a 4 iron, then chipping on and trying to make the putt. I made more pars this way then I did with any other club, and I never made worse than bogey. It helped take the fear out of the hole.

    After doing this for a few months I gained a lot of confidence and started working my way back up the bag. Now I hit my 2 iron of the tee and rarely miss the fairway, and I can get there in 2 again. Once I “overcame” the hole I was able to start playing it normally again.

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  • om18vom18v Members Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes. There is a par 4 on one of my regular courses that is just too long for me. There is no way for me to reach in two so I play a variety of clubs from the tee based on how well I am swinging that day. I shoot for bogey but will sometimes par if my third shot is good.

  • Enduro59Enduro59 Members Posts: 137 ✭✭✭

    @agolf1 said:
    Obviously pros do this on the 72nd hole with the lead. I've also heard of guys "laying up" for their second shot on a very long par 4 if their drive doesn't give them a good chance of getting it on in 2 and there are hazards around the green.

    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    There is one par 4 where I play that is tough. Off the tee there is a) OB all the way down the left side, b) creek / waste area that cuts across the fairway so can't hit driver, and c) pond on the right side of the fairway. The hole also narrows somewhat the farther down towards the creek/waste area you go.

    The last five rounds I've hit 5-iron / 5-iron / flick sand wedge and got a bogey each time. When playing it "normal" I've made pars and an odd birdie but also a lot of doubles and triples.

    Wondering if anyone has found the conservative strategy to be more successful and stuck with it for an extended period of time? I usually don't take an "avoid looking dumb/bad shot" strategy at all times. However, here the biggest problem is off the tee, and the advantage of hitting a 5-iron is that I can't reach the pond and the OB is much more difficult to hit into on the 5-iron distance/line.

    Obviously, I can play both ways 10-20 times in a row and see what wins out (I don't have the historical data from my prior rounds hole by hole). I may also try hitting two 7-woods, which could probably get me on the green some of the time (I need to see what this is like off the tee though). I also realize the strategy here may vary by skill level...

    I stumbled across a guy from South Africa on YouTube videos called The golf sidekick. He thinks it's a good idea for anyone with handicaps not in the single digits to do what you are asking about. Sometimes he recommends it for all golfers on certain holes. Mostly he stresses putting your 2nd shot in a safe place, avoiding all trouble. Also I guess now that I think of it he stresses hitting a club off the tee that no matter how short it is will not get you in trouble. This summer after buying into his approach 100% I have completely eliminated big numbers from my scorecard. (Fewer penalty strokes and punch-outs) Might be worth checking out the sidekick on YouTube just for grins.

  • jvincentjvincent Members Posts: 740 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @agolf1 said:
    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    With nothing on the line, why would you? The only reason I can see for hitting a shorter club off the tee is a hazard that cuts across a fairway that you can't carry.

    Trouble on the sides? Just hit it straighter!

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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,510 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Enduro59 said:

    @agolf1 said:
    Obviously pros do this on the 72nd hole with the lead. I've also heard of guys "laying up" for their second shot on a very long par 4 if their drive doesn't give them a good chance of getting it on in 2 and there are hazards around the green.

    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    There is one par 4 where I play that is tough. Off the tee there is a) OB all the way down the left side, b) creek / waste area that cuts across the fairway so can't hit driver, and c) pond on the right side of the fairway. The hole also narrows somewhat the farther down towards the creek/waste area you go.

    The last five rounds I've hit 5-iron / 5-iron / flick sand wedge and got a bogey each time. When playing it "normal" I've made pars and an odd birdie but also a lot of doubles and triples.

    Wondering if anyone has found the conservative strategy to be more successful and stuck with it for an extended period of time? I usually don't take an "avoid looking dumb/bad shot" strategy at all times. However, here the biggest problem is off the tee, and the advantage of hitting a 5-iron is that I can't reach the pond and the OB is much more difficult to hit into on the 5-iron distance/line.

    Obviously, I can play both ways 10-20 times in a row and see what wins out (I don't have the historical data from my prior rounds hole by hole). I may also try hitting two 7-woods, which could probably get me on the green some of the time (I need to see what this is like off the tee though). I also realize the strategy here may vary by skill level...

    I stumbled across a guy from South Africa on YouTube videos called The golf sidekick. He thinks it's a good idea for anyone with handicaps not in the single digits to do what you are asking about. Sometimes he recommends it for all golfers on certain holes. Mostly he stresses putting your 2nd shot in a safe place, avoiding all trouble. Also I guess now that I think of it he stresses hitting a club off the tee that no matter how short it is will not get you in trouble. This summer after buying into his approach 100% I have completely eliminated big numbers from my scorecard. (Fewer penalty strokes and punch-outs) Might be worth checking out the sidekick on YouTube just for grins.

    I get what he's saying but not sure if I want to go that far (I'm high single digits if that makes a difference, not that I consider that really "good" anyways). Stroke costing penalties are the score killer. But absent the hazard that narrows your landing area, I don't think it's a good strategy for all. Others have said in the past you could always hit a PW off every tee to avoid trouble but it probably won't do any good for your scorecard in the long-run.

    The other difficult thing about this hole is if I bail on the tee shot and hit it into the pond (better than OB) it is quite difficult to get the third shot on the green. One, I am still a ways back, and two, there are some trees that block me out and the shot requires a large fade (need to start the ball at a hazard left of the green, which isn't great either). So basically if you don't get the ball in the fairway off the tee, there's a good chance 6+ is the most likely score.

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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,510 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 4:25pm #7

    @jvincent said:

    @agolf1 said:
    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    With nothing on the line, why would you? The only reason I can see for hitting a shorter club off the tee is a hazard that cuts across a fairway that you can't carry.

    Trouble on the sides? Just hit it straighter!

    I just think the "safe" strategy on this specific hole may result in a lower average score. My goal is to lower my average score, not report one hero round per summer when everything worked.

    This hole gets narrower the farther down I go and I can't carry the creek. Edit: maybe we disagree and that's fine but I think "just hit it straighter" is kind of stupid. You can always lose a ball on any hole with a bad swing but one also needs to be cognizant of their skills and what's likely on a particular shot. To me, this is basically the same as "Just don't hit a bad shot" which sounds nice but has nothing to do with reality. Now, if there are score related reasons why going for it is better, that is fine and I am happy to consider. For example, I see no advantage of hitting a fairway wood or iron off the tee on a short par 4 to try and make sure I'm in the fairway. Would much rather hit driver (with no hazards) and get closer to the hole. Yeah, you hit a really bad shot some times but it also makes for easier pars (and a chance, however low, at birdie).

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  • Pete O'TubePete O'Tube Members Posts: 351 ✭✭✭✭

    I see you only carry 10 clubs. Is there room for a 22 Hybrid or a 7 wood? Then you could hit 2 shots that gets you to your favourite wedge distance (for me it's 50 yards, just right for my 58 wedge). Now the task is to attack the flag and make the par. Practice, as always, makes perfect.

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  • HonestPlayerHonestPlayer Members Posts: 219 ✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 4:43pm #9

    Tough par 4’s due to trouble of tee, narrowness, length etc I play as 3 shot holes. I stay positive and look for par. Bogey being a good score. Even 6 I remind myself isn’t a disaster (could have been 7+ with a greedy tee shot).

    Depends what level one is at I suppose. I’m a big hitter but I’m not super confident on keeping it in play from 190 yards+. I am trying to master the par 3’s in particular to make up for it. Currently play better than bogey golf 6400 course. My real realistic aim for a great round this year is 2-3 birdies, 8-9 pars rest bogeys. So those super difficult ones I can hopefully cancel out with birdies (on other holes)on a day I’m playing really well inside 150 yards ( and maybe get up and down for par on one of them). I think in golf I don’t like leaving stuff to chance and risk. That’s me others like risk rewards, I like playing shots I know I can hit safely on the course so I enjoy the round.

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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,510 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Pete O'Tube said:
    I see you only carry 10 clubs. Is there room for a 22 Hybrid or a 7 wood? Then you could hit 2 shots that gets you to your favourite wedge distance (for me it's 50 yards, just right for my 58 wedge). Now the task is to attack the flag and make the par. Practice, as always, makes perfect.

    I have 13 clubs in the bag / in my signature. So far, I've been left with ~30 - 70 yards on this hole, which is some type of sand wedge pitch / partial swing. So far I haven't had a good look at a par here (should be able to grab some every now and then).

    Titleist 915 D4 10.5*, Diamana S+ Blue 60 S-Flex
    Titleist 915F 16.5* & 21.0*, Diamana S+ Blue 70 S-Flex
    Ping G25 5-PW (25*-44*), UW (49*), SW (54*), CFS R-Flex
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    Ping Cadence TR Ketsch Putter
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  • Enduro59Enduro59 Members Posts: 137 ✭✭✭

    @agolf1 said:

    @Enduro59 said:

    @agolf1 said:
    Obviously pros do this on the 72nd hole with the lead. I've also heard of guys "laying up" for their second shot on a very long par 4 if their drive doesn't give them a good chance of getting it on in 2 and there are hazards around the green.

    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    There is one par 4 where I play that is tough. Off the tee there is a) OB all the way down the left side, b) creek / waste area that cuts across the fairway so can't hit driver, and c) pond on the right side of the fairway. The hole also narrows somewhat the farther down towards the creek/waste area you go.

    The last five rounds I've hit 5-iron / 5-iron / flick sand wedge and got a bogey each time. When playing it "normal" I've made pars and an odd birdie but also a lot of doubles and triples.

    Wondering if anyone has found the conservative strategy to be more successful and stuck with it for an extended period of time? I usually don't take an "avoid looking dumb/bad shot" strategy at all times. However, here the biggest problem is off the tee, and the advantage of hitting a 5-iron is that I can't reach the pond and the OB is much more difficult to hit into on the 5-iron distance/line.

    Obviously, I can play both ways 10-20 times in a row and see what wins out (I don't have the historical data from my prior rounds hole by hole). I may also try hitting two 7-woods, which could probably get me on the green some of the time (I need to see what this is like off the tee though). I also realize the strategy here may vary by skill level...

    I stumbled across a guy from South Africa on YouTube videos called The golf sidekick. He thinks it's a good idea for anyone with handicaps not in the single digits to do what you are asking about. Sometimes he recommends it for all golfers on certain holes. Mostly he stresses putting your 2nd shot in a safe place, avoiding all trouble. Also I guess now that I think of it he stresses hitting a club off the tee that no matter how short it is will not get you in trouble. This summer after buying into his approach 100% I have completely eliminated big numbers from my scorecard. (Fewer penalty strokes and punch-outs) Might be worth checking out the sidekick on YouTube just for grins.

    I get what he's saying but not sure if I want to go that far (I'm high single digits if that makes a difference, not that I consider that really "good" anyways). Stroke costing penalties are the score killer. But absent the hazard that narrows your landing area, I don't think it's a good strategy for all. Others have said in the past you could always hit a PW off every tee to avoid trouble but it probably won't do any good for your scorecard in the long-run.

    The other difficult thing about this hole is if I bail on the tee shot and hit it into the pond (better than OB) it is quite difficult to get the third shot on the green. One, I am still a ways back, and two, there are some trees that block me out and the shot requires a large fade (need to start the ball at a hazard left of the green, which isn't great either). So basically if you don't get the ball in the fairway off the tee, there's a good chance 6+ is the most likely score.

    Agree with that. Certainly with any improving golfer the point of diminishing returns would be reached at some point. For me right now I've not reached it. Hitting driver and 3 wood where one wants to off the tee seems to take some time for most golfers. Maybe I give sidekick too much credit but this summer I'm enjoying my rounds without dreading the 380 -430 yard par 4's.

  • Pete O'TubePete O'Tube Members Posts: 351 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 4:45pm #13

    Sorry, missed the 915 7 wood and the Zing wedge, also, I can't count. ;) I would suggest 7 wood - 7 wood - wedge. Have a look at Dave Pelz's book about the short game, Find the backswing that hits each wedge 50, 75 and 100 yards. Is it a half or three quarter or full swing? I have worked out 50 yards with my 58 wedge is halfway back, as is 75 yards with my 53 wedge. Work around a known wedge/swing combination and soon you'll be nailing those shortish shots.
    Good luck.

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  • om18vom18v Members Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    @Enduro59 said:

    @agolf1 said:
    Obviously pros do this on the 72nd hole with the lead. I've also heard of guys "laying up" for their second shot on a very long par 4 if their drive doesn't give them a good chance of getting it on in 2 and there are hazards around the green.

    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    There is one par 4 where I play that is tough. Off the tee there is a) OB all the way down the left side, b) creek / waste area that cuts across the fairway so can't hit driver, and c) pond on the right side of the fairway. The hole also narrows somewhat the farther down towards the creek/waste area you go.

    The last five rounds I've hit 5-iron / 5-iron / flick sand wedge and got a bogey each time. When playing it "normal" I've made pars and an odd birdie but also a lot of doubles and triples.

    Wondering if anyone has found the conservative strategy to be more successful and stuck with it for an extended period of time? I usually don't take an "avoid looking dumb/bad shot" strategy at all times. However, here the biggest problem is off the tee, and the advantage of hitting a 5-iron is that I can't reach the pond and the OB is much more difficult to hit into on the 5-iron distance/line.

    Obviously, I can play both ways 10-20 times in a row and see what wins out (I don't have the historical data from my prior rounds hole by hole). I may also try hitting two 7-woods, which could probably get me on the green some of the time (I need to see what this is like off the tee though). I also realize the strategy here may vary by skill level...

    I stumbled across a guy from South Africa on YouTube videos called The golf sidekick. He thinks it's a good idea for anyone with handicaps not in the single digits to do what you are asking about. Sometimes he recommends it for all golfers on certain holes. Mostly he stresses putting your 2nd shot in a safe place, avoiding all trouble. Also I guess now that I think of it he stresses hitting a club off the tee that no matter how short it is will not get you in trouble. This summer after buying into his approach 100% I have completely eliminated big numbers from my scorecard. (Fewer penalty strokes and punch-outs) Might be worth checking out the sidekick on YouTube just for grins.

    Oh, we mustn't mention Matt on this forum. His common sense approach of stress free golf for high handicappers to lower their scores was poo-pooed on this forum some time ago.

  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,510 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 5:00pm #15

    @North Butte said:
    I can't count on executing well enough to ever trade off three "easy" shots for two "harder" ones and actually save strokes in the long run. Not that I take on low-percentage shots with lost ball or penalty consequences. That sort of thing is neither conservative nor aggressive but just stupid given the limitations of my golf swing.

    Ready for the punch line? His strategy averaged 6.0 strokes. Virtually indistinguishable from the iron/iron/iron strategy. But I know which one was more fun.

    I'm guessing the iron strategy on this hole for me will average 5.0 or bogey. I will get up and down for par every now and then but I will also screw something up from time to time to (miss the green with the sand wedge, 3-putt, etc).

    I will probably play each way 15 times or so and see what the numbers are. I do feel like the tee shot here is quite hard with a 4-wood AND the severity of not pulling it off is quite high (OB which is most likely 6 or 7, and water hazard which is most likely 6). Laying back gives me a lot more room to avoid the penalty shot. I put together a decision tree with some probabilities (edit: hitting 4-wood off the tee), and the average came out above 5. Of course, the probabilities may not be accurate so best to see how it actually turns out.

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  • North ButteNorth Butte Members Posts: 10,962 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @agolf1 said:

    @North Butte said:
    I can't count on executing well enough to ever trade off three "easy" shots for two "harder" ones and actually save strokes in the long run. Not that I take on low-percentage shots with lost ball or penalty consequences. That sort of thing is neither conservative nor aggressive but just stupid given the limitations of my golf swing.

    Ready for the punch line? His strategy averaged 6.0 strokes. Virtually indistinguishable from the iron/iron/iron strategy. But I know which one was more fun.

    I'm guessing the iron strategy on this hole for me will average 5.0 or bogey. I will get up and down for par every now and then but I will also screw something up from time to time to (miss the green with the sand wedge, 3-putt, etc).

    I will probably play each way 15 times or so and see what the numbers are. I do feel like the tee shot here is quite hard with a 4-wood AND the severity of not pulling it off is quite high (OB which is most likely 6 or 7, and water hazard which is most likely 6). Laying back gives me a lot more room to avoid the penalty shot. I put together a decision tree with some probabilities, and the average came out above 5. Of course, the probabilities may not be accurate so best to see how it actually turns out.

    At some point, I'd see it like this...

    A hole that has a silly risk involved for NOT laying up and where you can't reach the green with your second if you do lay up is no different than a Par 4 that's just unreachable.

    I've played some courses in UK where they have Par 4's ranging from 290 yards all the way up to something ridiculous like 470 (talking from the visitor tees). But they also have 20mph or higher winds likely on any given day which can make a downwind 470 reachable and an into-the-wind 360 one not so much. It's actually fun and in a strange way relaxing to let go of what you're "supposed to" be able to do based on yardage. You just kind of get on with it and try to get the ball in the hole.

    I think you can mentally approach this hole you're talking about sort of like that 360-yarder, uphill into a 25mph wind. It might say such-and-such yardage but that doesn't mean it's reachable. Even if this case you might be able to reach it by taking a ridiculous risk.

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  • buckets on bucketsbuckets on buckets Members Posts: 76 ✭✭✭

    I think the layup approach is better. A bogey on the hardest hole on the course is a good score. Work on the wedge game and make some 4s and it sounds like your average score will be much lower than if you had been aggressive.

  • farmerfarmer Members Posts: 8,079 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Maybe move up a tee on this hole?

  • SNIPERBBBSNIPERBBB Hit Ball Hard SE OhioMembers Posts: 2,682 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Not a par 4 but a par 5 and recent changes to the hole has me in debate mode everytime I come to the hole. It's 479 from the tees I normally play. Fairway is 10yards wide the entire way. You have 10 yards on either side before you hit the no-mow in each side. It's on the side of a hill that slopes right to left with the fairway being a flat spot in the middle of this hillside. There is a huge tree on the left side of the fairway about 220 out from the green and it's limbs block half the fairway.

    You could layup short of the tree, though if you pull the ball left of the fairway at all it's in the nomow. You can hit driver over the trees above the fairway right and bounce the ball to the fairway, but your fighting OB right or the no-mow if you block or fade too much.

    Lately I've just been hitting driver and hoping it stays straight to give me 150 or less to the green which is two tiered that runs front to back with the right higher than the left.

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  • PopeofTexasPopeofTexas Members, Paid BST Posts: 37 ✭✭

    I have this same dilemma on my home course but the complicating factor for me is it is #18. It is the #2 handicapped hole and takes 2 excellent shots to be on in regulation with OB running the entire length of the left and most of the right, fairway slopes left to right with bunkers guarding the perfect driver landing area. I always tell myself I should play it as 3 shots and make a putt but with my final score riding on it I can't help but hit driver. I have more doubles than pars on that hole. I'm dumb.

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  • jvincentjvincent Members Posts: 740 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @agolf1 said:

    @jvincent said:

    @agolf1 said:
    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    With nothing on the line, why would you? The only reason I can see for hitting a shorter club off the tee is a hazard that cuts across a fairway that you can't carry.

    Trouble on the sides? Just hit it straighter!

    I just think the "safe" strategy on this specific hole may result in a lower average score. My goal is to lower my average score, not report one hero round per summer when everything worked.

    This hole gets narrower the farther down I go and I can't carry the creek. Edit: maybe we disagree and that's fine but I think "just hit it straighter" is kind of stupid. You can always lose a ball on any hole with a bad swing but one also needs to be cognizant of their skills and what's likely on a particular shot. To me, this is basically the same as "Just don't hit a bad shot" which sounds nice but has nothing to do with reality.

    As you said in your original post, you can't carry the creek with driver, so the question becomes what's the longest club you can keep in play reliably. Without seeing the hole, I'd be tempted to hit 3U or 4W. For me, I'm going to keep those in play 90% of the time and they should give me a shot at the green in regulation.

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  • rusty75rusty75 Members Posts: 1

    I've got one of these on my home course. 420y par 4 with a strong dogleg left. I'm often left with a 170-190 yard second shot unless I can pull off a draw around the corner, and there is OB right and a pond on the left of the green for the second shot. I usually try to put it a bit short of the green and try to get up and down. Takes the water and OB mostly out of play and I make more pars and bogeys that way and avoid a 6 or 7. This is also our no 1 handicap hole.

  • JJK947JJK947 Members Posts: 3,178 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Google maps screen shot would be extremely helpful here.

    But as a broader answer to your question, yes, sometimes I will play the hole as a potential 3-shot when I know I can get there in two easily. But I would never stand on tee thinking 5 is a good outcome in these situations. Two par 5's on my home course are in the 475-500 range but have large doglegs that come into play off the tee.

    My general strategy on these holes is to hit the longest club that I don't have to shape to keep in the safe or in the fairway. From there I will have between 220-240 in if I hit it well and can still get there if I want. If I'm a little off, I'm not in a place where I can't knock it up close to the green and one good chip, pitch, or putt gets me a 4. On both holes, driver can get me a mid iron into the green. But, in both cases, OB or penalty area comes into play if I don't pull off the shape I am going for.

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  • MelloYelloMelloYello Upstate, SCMembers Posts: 3,526 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @agolf1 said:
    Obviously pros do this on the 72nd hole with the lead. I've also heard of guys "laying up" for their second shot on a very long par 4 if their drive doesn't give them a good chance of getting it on in 2 and there are hazards around the green.

    However, does anyone basically play for bogey off the tee?

    There is one par 4 where I play that is tough. Off the tee there is a) OB all the way down the left side, b) creek / waste area that cuts across the fairway so can't hit driver, and c) pond on the right side of the fairway. The hole also narrows somewhat the farther down towards the creek/waste area you go.

    The last five rounds I've hit 5-iron / 5-iron / flick sand wedge and got a bogey each time. When playing it "normal" I've made pars and an odd birdie but also a lot of doubles and triples.

    Wondering if anyone has found the conservative strategy to be more successful and stuck with it for an extended period of time? I usually don't take an "avoid looking dumb/bad shot" strategy at all times. However, here the biggest problem is off the tee, and the advantage of hitting a 5-iron is that I can't reach the pond and the OB is much more difficult to hit into on the 5-iron distance/line.

    Obviously, I can play both ways 10-20 times in a row and see what wins out (I don't have the historical data from my prior rounds hole by hole). I may also try hitting two 7-woods, which could probably get me on the green some of the time (I need to see what this is like off the tee though). I also realize the strategy here may vary by skill level...

    Sorting out strategies can be really hard!

    For instance, I used to wonder if it was better to lay-up on short Par-4’s. I was surprised to find that over time I did better if I stayed aggressive because I wasn’t gaining any consistency by hitting less than driver from the tee.

    My fairway metals don’t always go straight and I don’t always hit my long irons flush. Plus, the shortness of those holes means that even if I do get in trouble off the tee I’m close enough that I can virtually always salvage a bogey.

    Longer holes are more complex.

    With some, there’s no great answer. That’s the first secret.

    With some, you’ll find that you just have to hit good tee shots. There’s a particular hole at my home course where laying up means hitting a long iron (or worse) over a creek to a green that’s got OB directly behind it. That’s a hole where being short off the tee gives you a horrible approach. You simply need to hit a good tee shot that avoids the trees which line the fairway. There’s no bail-out.

    At first, I was so scared of this hole I struggled off the tee, but as I’ve gotten better at the tee shot the hole has become infinitely easier.

    On the tee I used to try and guide the ball into play. Now, I simply adopt a positive attitude and make a full and committed swing. I clear my mind and pretend I’m on the range. I make a full swing and I trust it. I don’t over-swing but I definitely don’t try and guide it anymore.

    By fixing my mental approach I’m in the fairway most of the time from where I’ve got the 8-iron approach as opposed to the 3-iron approach!

    If on the other hand the hole makes it more clear that laying up is the play, then okay.

    However, those are the kinds of holes that you need to study individually because you’re going to need to evaluate the lay-up shot as well as how much you feel comfortable with for your 3rd.

    In general I would formulate a plan keeping these things in mind:

    (1) Unless you're a scratch player, be wary of assuming you can even hit any shot with 100% consistency. The moment you say, "well I KNOW I'll put this SW on the green" is probably the moment you'll surprise yourself.

    (2) Play to your strengths. Try to build a strategy that doesn't require you to hit anything you're not happy with. For example, if you're good with wedges then give yourself a bit more wiggle room playing the hole knowing you can trust yourself to place that 75-yd LW on the green with your 3rd.

    (3) All strategies go out the window if you suck at putting. If you play a Par-4 as a 3-shot hole only to 3-putt from 15-ft once you're on the green then what did you really accomplish!? Pro's can play the strategy game because they're really consistent when they have to borrow something against their next shot. On that basis, go back to #1.

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  • CJPennyCJPenny Members Posts: 77 ✭✭✭

    I think it depends on whether it’s a competitive round or not. If I’m playing for fun, I’d rather challenge myself and have a chance to crush a really difficult hole rather than never find out if I have it in me to do it. Tournament rounds I’ve played some holes (like OB both sides) with an iron off the tee. Figure the average score there is going to be a 5-6 anyways, so I’m not losing anything to the field by playing for bogey.

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  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members Posts: 1,347 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Sounds like a good idea to me given the circumstances. Do you take birdie out of the equation? Yeah unless you jar the pitch. But like you said you also take out the score killers of OB. I think that is a fair trade in this circumstance provided you are playing stroke play. Match play that goes out the window unless you know that par is no worse than halving the hole.

    I can't say I have ever purposefully played a par four this way but I have ran into par fives where the reward of being on the green in two was not necessarily worth the risk. In this case the green was elevated and sloped hard left to right with a steep slope to trees on the right. I tried this several times as this course was my league course, but you could not stop a ball starting from the upper tier on the left hand side by a hole cut on the right hand side. We all literally dropped balls up there and putted closest to the hole. You had to be on the correct tier or you would likely three putt. So on in two and probably three putt or on in three and no worse than two putt. Also, OB all down the right and a pond/hazard (called that at the time) on the left. Got past the pond on the left and there were houses with OB. More room to land a drive than it looked from the tee but it was an intimidating hole. I usually played it either driver, 7 and leave about 100 yards in a flat spot or hybrid 7 and leave 150 or so. That was usually dictated by how well or poorly I was hitting the driver. I also tend to draw my shots so shaping a fade into that green was darn near impossible.

  • golfgirlrobingolfgirlrobin Members Posts: 2,369 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I’ve got two holes at my home course that I play that way. The potential for double or worse is huge but they’re a pretty straightforward bogey. I probably save par 30-40% of the time with a good up and down and a bogey on the hardest holes on the course isn’t going to hurt much anyway. I tend to think long term and over the course of a year, I’m going to save a ton of strokes.

    I’m not a long hitter so I play smart and limit my mistakes. The low percentage shot that blows up in my face makes me madder at myself than anything else in golf.

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  • McgeenoMcgeeno Members Posts: 2,071 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    If my current game or situation dictates it I'll absolutely play for a bogey.

    We have a 460 par four at my home course with OB down the right the entire way and OB long. Tiny green as well.

    I've seen some really good near scratch players lay it up off the tee to make sure they keep it in bounds and end up taking their chances with an 80 yard wedge.

    You can play that hole like a par 5 and still score well on other holes. I've seen plenty of rounds blown up with a triple or worse there though...

  • PopeofTexasPopeofTexas Members, Paid BST Posts: 37 ✭✭

    @golfgirlrobin said:
    The low percentage shot that blows up in my face makes me madder at myself than anything else in golf.

    The supposed high percentage shot or conservative play that blows up in my face is the one that really gets me.

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  • agolf1agolf1 Members Posts: 1,510 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks to those that replied. To answer a few questions:

    a) the course is outside the U.S. Doesn't seem like Google Maps has a view of the hole.

    b) I am cognizant of **** up the safe shot or making double some other way. As noted, my guess is the times I make par will largely be offset by some mistake another time. The double hasn't happened yet with the lay-up strategy but it will eventually for someone like me.

    c) I think the 5-iron or possibly the 7W just gives me the largest area to land the tee shot in a playable spot. Hitting 4W takes the creek that cuts across the fairway out of play but the OB left and pond on the right can easily be reached. Making a full swing, I don't think that my 4W is that much more accurate than my driver. It just goes shorter. Two 7-woods may allow me to reach the green but I think that will basically be two perfect swings. I'm not sure if the add'l risk off the tee is worth it.

    d) Moving up a tee box would make the hole 6 yards shorter, which wouldn't really change much. Currently, the tee box I play offers a mix of anything from a wedge to a 7W into a par 4, and the par 3s are the same depending on the winds.

    e) I don't really have any huge strength in my game. My putting and up/down stats are entirely average for my skill level. My driver is erratic (lower % of fairways hit than average) and I still hit the same number (or slightly higher) of GIR, which seems to imply the irons are somewhat above average (there are usually a couple holes where I can't get to the green in regulation due to problems off the tee, although I've never seen a firm stat on how many penalty shots/punch outs people take off the tee by skill level). So in some ways, the lay-up strategy here is at least playing away from the weakest part of my game. This is a different discussion but I believe the vast majority of golfers have a fairly common skill level across all aspects of their game. By definition, one part is best and one is worst, but I think people dramatically over-estimate the strength/weakness when talking about their games on places like this.

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  • SNIPERBBBSNIPERBBB Hit Ball Hard SE OhioMembers Posts: 2,682 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    One thing I'll mention here as a reminder for planning. When making plans you need to plan for what your tendencies for various scenarios are and not what the perfect shot is and not planning for pure mishits(chunks, skulls, Los hosels,tops etc)

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