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Strong 3 Wood for me - no more Driver


golfpractitioner5

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So, I have been battling the last 6 months with my tee club.  As my irons and fairway woods improved, my driver game deteriorated.  I have tried every variation of driver possible including a mini driver.  Everything is extremely inconsistent.  If I do hit a good tee shot, I find that my next shot is a disaster.  I assume that this is most likely a mental thing as I have to go from an positive angle of attack on the driver to my more natural negative angle of attack on the other clubs.  When I do get a good drive off, carry is about 230 yards with a roll out to about 250 yards.  I am not a bomber by any means.  Shotscope data had me at only about 33% fairways hit.  Those 33% is when I'm getting 230 yards carry with 250 yards after roll out.  The other shots have been badly topped, pulled, or sliced, so I have been getting no distance out of them at all.  When I miss, I miss bad.  I'm talking that I might only get 100-150 yards off the tee bad which has been leaving me 200+ yards on my second shot on almost 2/3 of my par 4s as my main miss is a top with the driver.  The other slice or pull usually leaves me at that same distance but dropping 2 and hitting 3.

 

The last few rounds was a test run with surprising results.  I took my driver out of the bag to avoid temptation, and I notched my Mizuno GT-180 3 wood down to 13 degrees.  In the last 3 rounds, I'm 80% on fairways with a total yardage of around 235 yards.  The 20%  of the time I'm off the fairway, it has been manageable except for 1 yank into the water which is the only ball I've lost over the last 3 rounds.

 

I know the first thing everyone is gonna say is get some lessons which I do take a few times a year.  At the moment, life doesn't allow for more lessons as I have to choose between playing or practice, and I would rather play.  What I do know is that I have an extremely negative angle of attack which makes my wedge and iron play great. This is why I only need to be within 210 yards after my drive to have a good day because I can hit every other club in my bag with pretty good precision all the way down to my standard 3 Wood.

 

Does anyone else just leave their Driver out of the equation and go with a strong 3 Wood?

 

Also, does anyone know of anybody that makes a really good 2 wood?  I saw that PXG has a standard 2 wood at 13 degrees that you can crank down to 11.5 degrees.  I have never dealt with PXG, so I am unsure of the quality of their fairway woods.

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I thought about going down this road having struggled for years (10+ years) with Driver. 

 

Trying to hit the ball on the up produces the wildest block slices. I tee the ball down now which makes my driver swing a bit more like it is with the rest of my clubs. It's made a huge difference and might be worth a try.  

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1 hour ago, golfpractitioner5 said:

So, I have been battling the last 6 months with my tee club.  As my irons and fairway woods improved, my driver game deteriorated.  I have tried every variation of driver possible including a mini driver.  Everything is extremely inconsistent.  If I do hit a good tee shot, I find that my next shot is a disaster.  I assume that this is most likely a mental thing as I have to go from an positive angle of attack on the driver to my more natural negative angle of attack on the other clubs.  When I do get a good drive off, carry is about 230 yards with a roll out to about 250 yards.  I am not a bomber by any means.  Shotscope data had me at only about 33% fairways hit.  Those 33% is when I'm getting 230 yards carry with 250 yards after roll out.  The other shots have been badly topped, pulled, or sliced, so I have been getting no distance out of them at all.  When I miss, I miss bad.  I'm talking that I might only get 100-150 yards off the tee bad which has been leaving me 200+ yards on my second shot on almost 2/3 of my par 4s as my main miss is a top with the driver.  The other slice or pull usually leaves me at that same distance but dropping 2 and hitting 3.

 

The last few rounds was a test run with surprising results.  I took my driver out of the bag to avoid temptation, and I notched my Mizuno GT-180 3 wood down to 13 degrees.  In the last 3 rounds, I'm 80% on fairways with a total yardage of around 235 yards.  The 20%  of the time I'm off the fairway, it has been manageable except for 1 yank into the water which is the only ball I've lost over the last 3 rounds.

 

I know the first thing everyone is gonna say is get some lessons which I do take a few times a year.  At the moment, life doesn't allow for more lessons as I have to choose between playing or practice, and I would rather play.  What I do know is that I have an extremely negative angle of attack which makes my wedge and iron play great. This is why I only need to be within 210 yards after my drive to have a good day because I can hit every other club in my bag with pretty good precision all the way down to my standard 3 Wood.

 

Does anyone else just leave their Driver out of the equation and go with a strong 3 Wood?

 

Also, does anyone know of anybody that makes a really good 2 wood?  I saw that PXG has a standard 2 wood at 13 degrees that you can crank down to 11.5 degrees.  I have never dealt with PXG, so I am unsure of the quality of their fairway woods.

It might not be the loft as much as overall playing length of the strong 3 wood.  Normal length is 43".   Back in the day, my driver with steel shaft was 43".  The shortest I could comfortably get graphite shaft playing length of driver was 44.5.  But 44" is not out of the question for some people.  Just make sure to adjust swing weight accordingly.

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20 minutes ago, Bye said:

I thought about going down this road having struggled for years (10+ years) with Driver. 

 

Trying to hit the ball on the up produces the wildest block slices. I tee the ball down now which makes my driver swing a bit more like it is with the rest of my clubs. It's made a huge difference and might be worth a try.  

So, I did this for about a month.  The fairways hit went up, but my distance plummeted due to catching the ball low on the face which amped my spin way up.  My carry distance dropped down to about 215 yards with almost no roll out.  On the GC quad, it had my spin getting up in the high 3,000s range.  I think my fairways hit did reach around 50% with that change though.  This change is actually what led me to trying the stronger 3 wood.  I figured the shallower face would make the low strikes on driver optimal for the 3 wood.  So far, that has been the case with being about 15-20 yards longer off the tee with the stronger 3 wood than the low teed driver.

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8 minutes ago, Pepperturbo said:

It might not be the loft as much as overall playing length of the strong 3 wood.  Normal length is 43".   Back in the day, my driver with steel shaft was 43".  The shortest I could comfortably get graphite shaft playing length of driver was 44.5.  But 44" is not out of the question for some people.  Just make sure to adjust swing weight accordingly.

So, the driver I have that was my gamer is a Cobra F7+ set at 10.5 degrees and measuring 44 inches in length total.  It has removable weights which allowed for the adjusting of swing weight which i kept around a D3.  I've always played shorter drivers.  With that said, I did experiment with a Mizuno STZ at standard length for about a month earlier in the summer to see if the longer shaft would help.  It did not.

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14 minutes ago, golfpractitioner5 said:

So, the driver I have that was my gamer is a Cobra F7+ set at 10.5 degrees and measuring 44 inches in length total.  It has removable weights which allowed for the adjusting of swing weight which i kept around a D3.  I've always played shorter drivers.  With that said, I did experiment with a Mizuno STZ at standard length for about a month earlier in the summer to see if the longer shaft would help.  It did not.

Okay, if you've exhausted all the possibilities, then I am not sure what you are hoping to learn here??? 

 

You don't mention driver or 3wd shaft specs.

 

Most average to high cap golfers cope with driver dispersion.  They don't have a consistent swing, so many opt for using either a wood or hybrid off tees; what they don't do is opt for a strong 3wd.  Typically, strong 3wds are 42.75-44" and more difficult for average golfers to hit vs. a properly fit driver.   But if you want to use a strong 3wd instead of driver, go for it.    

 

IMO you need driver lessons, but if money is guiding this stick with your 3wd plan.

 

    

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5 minutes ago, Pepperturbo said:

Okay, if you've exhausted all the possibilities, then I am not sure what you are hoping to learn here??? 

 

You don't mention driver or 3wd shaft specs.

 

Most average to high cap golfers cope with driver dispersion.  They don't have a consistent swing, so many opt for using either a wood or hybrid off tees; what they don't do is opt for a strong 3wd.  Typically, strong 3wds are 42.75-44" and more difficult for average golfers to hit vs. a properly fit driver.   But if you want to use a strong 3wd instead of driver, go for it.    

 

IMO you need driver lessons, but if money is guiding this stick with your 3wd plan.

 

    

It is not money guiding the decision as much as it is time.  I have limited time for golf these days as I have a young family, so time with them comes first.  When I do have time for golf, I'd rather be on the course than on a simulator working on stuff.

 

As far as shaft specs go, the 3 wood is a Project x EvenFlow Riptide CB 5.5.  I was not fit into this one but has been working well.  Good ball flight and very accurate.  Also, mentally it allows me to slow my tempo down as it is a looser shaft than I'm used to.

 

The two drivers I have been dealing with were both custom fit.  The Cobra F7+ is a Fujikura Pro 2.0 tour spec Stiff flex uncut 67 grams.  It worked very well for several years, but as my iron play improved greatly, the driver went to crap. I'm well aware its me and not the driver.  As far as the other driver goes that I've tried recently, The Mizuno STZ was custom fit into a Fujikura Ventus Blue Stiff 65 grams uncut.  With that, I did play a few rounds with other shafts in the Mizuno, too.  I even tried a Project x Evenflow Riptide CB in the Mizuno to see how it would go.  No success there.

 

It is very much a technique and mental block issue for me.  I was just mostly wondering if anybody has ever just made the switch for the better.  

 

Also, I was looking to see if anyone had ever used a 2 wood or if strong 3 wood is just the way to keep trucking.  I only got interested in the 2 wood because I saw PXG had one.

 

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I'm a mini driver user, I make a fool of myself with 460 CC head. Get the ball in play if my goal. 

Woods: TaylorMade RBZ Tour Spoon, TaylorMade RBZ 5 Wood

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5 minutes ago, golfpractitioner5 said:

It is not money guiding the decision as much as it is time.  I have limited time for golf these days as I have a young family, so time with them comes first.  When I do have time for golf, I'd rather be on the course than on a simulator working on stuff.

 

As far as shaft specs go, the 3 wood is a Project x EvenFlow Riptide CB 5.5.  I was not fit into this one but has been working well.  Good ball flight and very accurate.  Also, mentally it allows me to slow my tempo down as it is a looser shaft than I'm used to.

 

The two drivers I have been dealing with were both custom fit.  The Cobra F7+ is a Fujikura Pro 2.0 tour spec Stiff flex uncut 67 grams.  It worked very well for several years, but as my iron play improved greatly, the driver went to crap. I'm well aware its me and not the driver.  As far as the other driver goes that I've tried recently, The Mizuno STZ was custom fit into a Fujikura Ventus Blue Stiff 65 grams uncut.  With that, I did play a few rounds with other shafts in the Mizuno, too.  I even tried a Project x Evenflow Riptide CB in the Mizuno to see how it would go.  No success there.

 

It is very much a technique and mental block issue for me.  I was just mostly wondering if anybody has ever just made the switch for the better.  

 

Also, I was looking to see if anyone had ever used a 2 wood or if strong 3 wood is just the way to keep trucking.  I only got interested in the 2 wood because I saw PXG had one.

 

Understand the family priority. 

 

That 3wd shaft is 54 grams, counterbalanced making it feel lighter overall.  Its torque is 4.9 which makes a more flexible tip, letting you get through the ball easier.  Verses, Fuji Pro 2.0 TS at 67g or F Ventus Blue Stiff at 65g, which I have.  They may have been custom fit, but I suspect each of those shafts are too much for your swing.

 

I play a Ventus Velo TR Blue 5 series, stiff which is 58g and 44.75", playing length at D3, in driver.  Before Ventus, for years, I played Fujikura Fuel Tour Spec stiff, 67g shaft at 44.5", D3.  Though I can still hit it, it takes a concerted effort to get the shaft to flex properly.  

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I went strong 3 wood a couple of years ago when the big stick was being bad and used a Ping G400 Stretch. Helped me get some confidence back.

 

Should be able to pick one up for 100 USD perhaps. 13° as standard from memory, real nice club.  

 

That said, have you tried a higher loft driver off a lower tee? This is my current set up and I've never hit driver straighter. 

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I'd think you could be a perfect candidate for a mini-driver.  I'd get it spec'd out to essentially be the same as the 3 wood you've had success with, so like getting the length and SW in a similar spot, so then with the mini driver you'll get more forgiveness and distance while maintaining the accuracy improvements.

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32 minutes ago, J_Tizzle said:

I'd think you could be a perfect candidate for a mini-driver.  I'd get it spec'd out to essentially be the same as the 3 wood you've had success with, so like getting the length and SW in a similar spot, so then with the mini driver you'll get more forgiveness and distance while maintaining the accuracy improvements.

I have a mini driver. It’s a Taylormade Original One. I do better with it than my driver but still not as good as with the strong 3 wood. I had it in the bag for a month or so this past summer. Issue with it was it was only going about 5 yards further than the 3 wood but not as versatile as I can’t hit it off the deck as well as the 3 wood which comes in handy on par 5s.

 

With the strong 3 wood, I do not tee it up at all. As a matter of fact, I have not used a tee at all in the last 3 rounds as I play my irons down on par 3s, too.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, DFS PFD said:

You're hitting more fairways, but is your scoring better? PGA stats show that longer drives prove more beneficial to hole proximity regardless of fairway or not. I'd be curious if this is lowering your scores significantly over time, or if it's a temporary morale boost. 

Yes the stats do suggest the longer the tee shots the lower the score but it can definitely be misleading at times because most tour players have the brute strength to advance their approach shots on to the green from thick rough whereas many amateur golfers would be laying up, on par 5s and long par 4s then it does appear better to bomb driver and be further down the hole off the tee but most tour players seem obsessed with hitting driver even on short par 4s and their scoring is adversely affected so these stats should be taken with a pinch of salt as there are many variables to consider including the width of the fairways and the depth of the rough.

 

At the 2023 Tour Championship Rory seemed determined to bomb driver on almost every hole (even on short par 4s which are only a 3 iron and wedge for him) and he was rarely out the thick rough and finished 13 shots behind Hovland, while Hovland's and Schauffele's course management strategy was much more sensible as they often hit less than driver on shorter par 4s and they made loads of birdies because they were mostly playing from the fairway instead of the junk.

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1 minute ago, golfpractitioner5 said:

I have a mini driver. It’s a Taylormade Original One. I do better with it than my driver but still not as good as with the strong 3 wood. I had it in the bag for a month or so this past summer. Issue with it was it was only going about 5 yards further than the 3 wood but not as versatile as I can’t hit it off the deck as well as the 3 wood which comes in handy on par 5s.

 

With the strong 3 wood, I do not tee it up at all. As a matter of fact, I have not used a tee at all in the last 3 rounds as I play my irons down on par 3s, too.

 

 

 

Ah very interesting.  Do they feel the same?  Like I realized I'm very sensitive to swing weights, so I got myself a scale etc. and a bunch of weights and lead tape to get all my clubs in that range that I like since I play midsized grips I learned that my driver swingweights were usually pretty off.

 

But of course, maybe the launch/spin of the turned down 3w just works for you!

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Probably a better idea to try a shorter driver vs hunting for a strong 2 wood. A driver is easier to hit despite struggles and I'm one that struggles with driver a lot and often will keep it in the bag just to get a ball in play when it's really bad. But man there is so much distance left on the table it just makes the rest of the game harder especially if having 2-3 more clubs into the green. 

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Lefty

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1 minute ago, J_Tizzle said:

 

Ah very interesting.  Do they feel the same?  Like I realized I'm very sensitive to swing weights, so I got myself a scale etc. and a bunch of weights and lead tape to get all my clubs in that range that I like since I play midsized grips I learned that my driver swingweights were usually pretty off.

 

But of course, maybe the launch/spin of the turned down 3w just works for you!

I’m like you with swing weights as far as sensitivity goes. I keep all clubs from 3 wood to GW at around D3 and my 54 and 58 around D5.

 

My drivers are always D3, too.

 

I just feel more comfy at those weights.

 

Like I said previously, the Mini Driver and strong 3 wood did compare similarly off the tee box. The 3 wood just won out due to versatility as a better option in the fairway.

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10 minutes ago, MattM97 said:

Probably a better idea to try a shorter driver vs hunting for a strong 2 wood. A driver is easier to hit despite struggles and I'm one that struggles with driver a lot and often will keep it in the bag just to get a ball in play when it's really bad. But man there is so much distance left on the table it just makes the rest of the game harder especially if having 2-3 more clubs into the green. 

What is the gap between your driver and 3 wood distance wise?

 

I just ask because you said 2-3 club difference.

 

For me, it has only ever come down to 1 club distance as there is about a 15 yard gap between my Driver and 3 Wood.  If it were 2-3 clubs for me, I could not make the change I am doing currently, but since it is just 1 club, I have not seen that much of an issue thus far.

 

With that, I will say that most of the courses that I play are narrow so there is much more premium on dispersion tightness as we do not have a ton of rough on our courses as much as we have straight into the trees or water on each side.

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22 minutes ago, ARSM1932 said:

Yes the stats do suggest the longer the tee shots the lower the score but it can definitely be misleading at times because most tour players have the brute strength to advance their approach shots on to the green from thick rough whereas many amateur golfers would be laying up, on par 5s and long par 4s then it does appear better to bomb driver and be further down the hole off the tee but most tour players seem obsessed with hitting driver even on short par 4s and their scoring is adversely affected so these stats should be taken with a pinch of salt as there are many variables to consider including the width of the fairways and the depth of the rough.

 

At the 2023 Tour Championship Rory seemed determined to bomb driver on almost every hole (even on short par 4s which are only a 3 iron and wedge for him) and he was rarely out the thick rough and finished 13 shots behind Hovland, while Hovland's and Schauffele's course management strategy was much more sensible as they often hit less than driver on shorter par 4s and they made loads of birdies because they were mostly playing from the fairway instead of the junk.

I don't disagree, but we're talking amateur golf. Odds are, your proximity is better with each club progressively working your way down the bag, with the exception of some people who just love their 6 iron for example. And we're talking over a long period of time, not just a few rounds. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong ( I know I'm not right), I'm just trying to look at it as a long term approach. I score better with shorter clubs in my hands, and I think that trend follows most amateurs, I'm about a 1 handicap for reference. 

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6 minutes ago, Chunkitgood said:

The idea of hitting up with driver takes another victim.

 

Where will it end?

The idea of hitting up is the only way I get any distance out of my driver.  I have teed it down and played it like the rest of my clubs, but I catch it low in the face which amps up the spin.  I'm accurate with it this way but extremely short.

 

I do not have a great deal of swing speed.  I top out around 95 mph.  Hitting down on the driver is fine and dandy if you have the swing speed to back it up.  I'm well aware that a ton of tour pros actually hit down on the driver, but they have top of the line swing speed.

 

This topic has been covered a lot via youtube by guys like Club Champion (formerly TXG) and 2ndSwing.  They all have said that it is plausible to hit down and be productive, but you have to have speed to back it up.

 

 

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1 minute ago, DFS PFD said:

I don't disagree, but we're talking amateur golf. Odds are, your proximity is better with each club progressively working your way down the bag, with the exception of some people who just love their 6 iron for example. And we're talking over a long period of time, not just a few rounds. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong ( I know I'm not right), I'm just trying to look at it as a long term approach. I score better with shorter clubs in my hands, and I think that trend follows most amateurs, I'm about a 1 handicap for reference. 

 

I mean Henrick Stenson made a career out of hitting a 3w off the tee, lol.  What about maybe a TSR2+ or just some other larger than average 3w?  If you get that TSR2+ you can crank it down pretty low I'd think, like in that 12* range.

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10 minutes ago, golfpractitioner5 said:

What is the gap between your driver and 3 wood distance wise?

 

I just ask because you said 2-3 club difference.

 

For me, it has only ever come down to 1 club distance as there is about a 15 yard gap between my Driver and 3 Wood.  If it were 2-3 clubs for me, I could not make the change I am doing currently, but since it is just 1 club, I have not seen that much of an issue thus far.

 

With that, I will say that most of the courses that I play are narrow so there is much more premium on dispersion tightness as we do not have a ton of rough on our courses as much as we have straight into the trees or water on each side.

 

30-50+ yards depending on the conditions and how I'm swinging as well. At 15 yards that isn't much for sure but for me if having a short iron in vs a 5i or 6i that definitely changes the scores quickly. 

 

With heavy tree lined courses it sucks cause you gotta keep it tight cause chipping laterally is basically a penalty when behind a tree. 

Lefty

Driver: 10° Cobra LTDxLS | No idea, new driver time. 

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3H: 19° Ping G410 | Tensei CK Pro Orange 90TX

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8 minutes ago, J_Tizzle said:

 

I mean Henrick Stenson made a career out of hitting a 3w off the tee, lol.  What about maybe a TSR2+ or just some other larger than average 3w?  If you get that TSR2+ you can crank it down pretty low I'd think, like in that 12* range.

Yes he did, I think there's a few more players that made a career without doing that though. That's all I'm trying to say. 

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6 minutes ago, MattM97 said:

 

30-50+ yards depending on the conditions and how I'm swinging as well. At 15 yards that isn't much for sure but for me if having a short iron in vs a 5i or 6i that definitely changes the scores quickly. 

 

With heavy tree lined courses it sucks cause you gotta keep it tight cause chipping laterally is basically a penalty when behind a tree. 

If I had that big of a gap, I'd have to figure out that driver.  For me, the 15 yards doesn't make a huge difference.  I think it would be different if I were inconsistent with my longer clubs, but I am pretty solid from 7 wood down.  I can generally be on or around the green for an up and down with those clubs.

 

The penalty shots off the tee due to tight landing windows is really what prompted the change.

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2 minutes ago, golfpractitioner5 said:

If I had that big of a gap, I'd have to figure out that driver.  For me, the 15 yards doesn't make a huge difference.  I think it would be different if I were inconsistent with my longer clubs, but I am pretty solid from 7 wood down.  I can generally be on or around the green for an up and down with those clubs.

 

The penalty shots off the tee due to tight landing windows is really what prompted the change.

 

I get where you're coming from for sure when I play some shorter courses it's not a big deal but on longer courses I need to get the driver going for sure. It all comes down to where we are playing and what the course is like too. 

Lefty

Driver: 10° Cobra LTDxLS | No idea, new driver time. 

3W: 15° Callaway Paradym X | AD-IZ 7X

3H: 19° Ping G410 | Tensei CK Pro Orange 90TX

Irons: PXG 0311P 4-6 | 0317CB 7-PW | DG 120 X100

Wedges: SM9 50° - 54° - 58° 

Putter(s): Ping PLD Anser 4K | CMD Gauge R | and more. 

WITB Thread

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I see a lot of the distance argument creeping in which will always be a standard.  I agree with anybody that longer off the tee is generally better as a whole but not always when it comes to course management.

 

For example, most of the courses in my area share a similar structure in that they have narrower fairways with not the largest amount of rough.  Most of the courses around here transition from fairway to a little bit of rough straight into heavily wooded areas or water.

 

Missing the fairways by say 10 to 15 yards in my area often results into a penalty due to OB or Hazard.  If not that, you are generally chipping out the woods back into the fairway which is basically a drop in itself.  I did play at some courses this summer that I had no fear with the driver due to the fact that I had ample fairway and rough to contend with.  It just is not the case for most of my usual courses.

 

I have one buddy who does not carry anything over his 4 iron when he comes to my area to play as he knows he will lose anything else off the tee.  It helps when your 4 iron is a 240 yard club in his case.

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7 minutes ago, MattM97 said:

 

I get where you're coming from for sure when I play some shorter courses it's not a big deal but on longer courses I need to get the driver going for sure. It all comes down to where we are playing and what the course is like too. 

I'm lucky in that although most our courses are tight, they are not long.  Most tip out sub 6,800 yards, and I generally play 1 tee box up so average around 6,400 yards.

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