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Club Upgrade Poll: Driver or Putter


Club Upgrade: Driver or Putter?  

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47 minutes ago, hammergolf said:

It’s always baffled me that guys will spend $500 at the drop of a hat to hit it 8 yds further, but will balk at spending that same $500 on a putter that could improve their score much more.


9 yard difference between my 2005 Titleist 905T and 2024 Taylor Made QI10. I have 100% confidence in my 905T and can still stripe it and even hit it off the deck. Maybe I’m answering my own question. 
 

IMG_0856.png.5a5ad9172597ee2d08fd43a88c6f9403.png

 

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9 minutes ago, JamesFisher1990 said:

Generally speaking, players who make the most money on Tour are superb drivers of the ball and not always great putters. See: Rory & Scottie.

 

When it comes to putting for a 70's shooter... all you need to do is not 3 putt, but you need to likely be hitting it 250+, keep all drives in play, and hit a decent # of fairways which is much harder than simply not 3 putting. 70's shooters do not make many birdies... maybe 1 on a normal round, 2 or 3 when they are on a heater. Draining putts from long range is abnormal and not required to be a good player... but driving the ball well is.

 

Totally agree here.

 

Driving for me is most important, I am not a great driver of the ball and it puts alot of presure on the rest of my game, espcially putting.

Putting is pretty consistant, so if I have a good day with the driver, it makes a notable difference to my score. Many more looks at birdie apposed to srambling for pars.

A mess...

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2 minutes ago, bjive said:

 

Totally agree here.

 

Driving for me is most important, I am not a great driver of the ball and it puts alot of presure on the rest of my game, espcially putting.

Putting is pretty consistant, so if I have a good day with the driver, it makes a notable difference to my score. Many more looks at birdie apposed to srambling for pars.

I think of it like this - if you're driving it into the trees or OB, you'll almost never have a birdie look, maybe on a short par 5. But you can still shoot even par with 36 putts (or more, technically).

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Putter gives you your great rounds

 

Driver ruins your rounds

 

LOL

 

Shooting in the 70s is too broad. You can shoot 79 and be a weak putter. You cannot shoot 71 and be a weak putter. 

 

Overall i'd seek improvements in putting first. Maybe that's because i'm bad at it for my skill level

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I learned to play the game from the pin to the tee, so I say putter.  Agree with @MtlJeff, you can put up some great rounds putting.  Putting can also save some not so great rounds.  You can still shoot low driving it crooked.  Hard to save a round putting it crooked.

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5 minutes ago, Ca3l said:

Are we assuming guaranteed performance gains? Because I remember correctly, there’s a lot of evidence that driving is much more important at the tour level, and I feel like I’ve read about the data from Arccos or one of the other tracking apps supporting the same for amateurs. How many strokes can someone in 70s really gain from changing a putter? Read is more important than roll, and according to arccos there’s ‘only’ a 4 putt per round difference from 15 hcp to scratch in the first place (35 -> 31). I think someone shooting in 70s already could adapt much better to a poorly fit putter than a poorly fit driver. Plus, more forgiveness and distance off the tee would yield less errant tee shots, closer approaches, and closer putts.

 

Side note, I do consider my putter fitting as money well spent. It helped me figure out what type of hosel and general head shape works best for my stroke . If someone had a decent driver and was only looking at picking up a couple extra yards, I’d prob tell em to go fitter putter route instead. 

 

Firmly agree with all of this.

A mess...

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The technology of a newer driver will do much more in forgiveness than any putter technology that has come out since they were shafted with wood (other than maybe L.A.B, that's some real stuff).

 

That being said, if you currently don't like your putter, I would upgrade it first given that you seem to enjoy your current driver. If your current driver/putter are roughly equal, I'd go driver first

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Good putting can save a round, bad putting can destroy it. I can get round the course with bad driving or you can swap to a three wood. Swapping your putter just makes it much harder.

 

It’s also the most used club in the bag 28-38 times a round for many people, so a well fitted putter should shave more strokes. Unless you’re that bad with driver you constantly hit OB. Plus a well fitted putter will last many years.

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Putter, 100%. I've found that the driver mostly comes down to user error, but putting is mostly a mental game. I have two putters, a B60 and an Odyssey 7, and every 2-3 years I switch between them when I find myself yipping putts and it clears it right up for the next few.

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I can drive it great and still hit irons like crap, putt poorly - play poorly .  If my putters hot I’ll typically be under par regardless of how I drive it or hit irons.  Putter is the biggest equalizer in the bag 

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7 hours ago, JamesFisher1990 said:

Generally speaking, players who make the most money on Tour are superb drivers of the ball and not always great putters. See: Rory & Scottie.

 

When it comes to putting for a 70's shooter... all you need to do is not 3 putt, but you need to likely be hitting it 250+, keep all drives in play, and hit a decent # of fairways which is much harder than simply not 3 putting. 70's shooters do not make many birdies... maybe 1 on a normal round, 2 or 3 when they are on a heater. Draining putts from long range is abnormal and not required to be a good player... but driving the ball well is.

I shot par with 7 birdies the other day 😞 5 over on the front 9, 5 under on the back 9, felt like the train wreck scene from bullet train

 

2 hours ago, Phabs said:

I can drive it great and still hit irons like crap, putt poorly - play poorly .  If my putters hot I’ll typically be under par regardless of how I drive it or hit irons.  Putter is the biggest equalizer in the bag 

That assumes you're very stable with your irons/driver on a bad day though. I am a bit like that as well, where on a bad day I'll be hitting my driver all over the face and it will be short but still relatively straight

 

On a bad iron day I need miracle level chipping and putting to save the round 

 

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4 hours ago, mvvraz said:

I shot par with 7 birdies the other day 😞 5 over on the front 9, 5 under on the back 9, felt like the train wreck scene from bullet train

 

That assumes you're very stable with your irons/driver on a bad day though. I am a bit like that as well, where on a bad day I'll be hitting my driver all over the face and it will be short but still relatively straight

 

On a bad iron day I need miracle level chipping and putting to save the round 

 

I will always firmly believe the iron play is the single most important aspect of a golf game because if that is firing you can bail yourself out of so many crappy tee shots whereas if it is not all you will do is waste your good tee shots into nothing.

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12 hours ago, JamesFisher1990 said:

Generally speaking, players who make the most money on Tour are superb drivers of the ball and not always great putters. See: Rory & Scottie.

 

When it comes to putting for a 70's shooter... all you need to do is not 3 putt, but you need to likely be hitting it 250+, keep all drives in play, and hit a decent # of fairways which is much harder than simply not 3 putting. 70's shooters do not make many birdies... maybe 1 on a normal round, 2 or 3 when they are on a heater. Draining putts from long range is abnormal and not required to be a good player... but driving the ball well is.

This guy is a spy....2nd paragraph described my game to a tee.

My golf buddies must have pooled their nickels. Cheap bunch of clowns. ☺

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Depends I guess.  If you're rocking an older unforgiving driver that isn't giving you optimal numbers, getting something newer that is likely going to be more forgiving and consistent should yield the best results.  Putters haven't really changed a whole hell of a lot.  If you're using an old newport and get a new newport, well that's kind of a wash.  

 

But, if you're a terrible putter using a blade and go into something that you can align better and is more stable for your stroke, then that could yield the best results.  But, if you're regularly in the 70's, something tells me that you'd be pretty comfortable with your putter as it is.  If you're getting a new putter for it to be the biggest impact, I feel like it would have to be a big departure from what you currently have and help solve a deficiency that you're dealing with.   

 

A driver that is 10 yards longer doesn't sound like a lot.  But, it can be the difference between a 6 iron or 7 iron into a green.  Getting home in two vs laying up.  Assuming you're as straight or straighter with it.  

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Making putts saves scrambling pars. A great putting day can still produce decent scores from wayward drives and missed greens. That said, my vote would be chipping/scrambling… which leads to putter. If you can make the 10 footers from average chips for par, that can make the difference in the score.

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Depends on the weaknesses in your game. If driving is your strength, then it would hard to recommend going for a new driver and vice versa. If you are looking to get the most out of your dollars, then generally driver will give a higher return on investment. A newer driver will GENERALLY be more forgiving and retain more distance. Unless your putter is the opposite of what you would be fit into and you have many 3 putts a round, then the gains are going to be marginal. You will shave more shots from hitting 1/2 to 1 club less into greens than dropping from 33-32 putts per round. After all, proximity to the pin is more important to putts per round than the putter itself. 

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Been up at Cabot Cliffs/Links all week, and driving the ball really well. Today was my worst driving by far, but shot my lowest score with a hot putter.

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I voted driver.

 

Jon Sherman in his book The Four Foundations of Golf, which builds on the work of Scott Brodie who pioneered the concept of strokes gained, stresses the importance of hitting the ball as far as you can off the tee, regardless of fairways hit, with the caveat that of course you should avoid penalty areas. In his words (more or less), at EVERY tee box, he pulls driver, looking for reasons to not hit it: you know, the usual suspects like water right in the landing area of your shot shape/distance, trees, ob, anything else that might to penalties off the tee and/or unreasonable recovery shots. In other words, hit driver off the tee every time that doesn't lead to a penalty shot. Hitting the fairway or the rough does not matter: Sherman, based on Brodie's work, convincingly demonstrates that amateurs, no matter their handicap, are almost equally good out of the rough as the fairway, meaning landing in the rough is not as penalizing as many golfers believe. 

 

As someone mentioned, avoiding 3-putts is also vital, but hitting it as far as possible off the tee is more important, therefore driver is more important than a putter. 

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Honestly, I'm surprised how many people say putter.  Spending $500 on a putter won't make you a better putter.  It might briefly give you false confidence, because you spent a fortune on a new putter.  Eventually that will wear off and you end up dropping another $500 on some putter with a fancy headcover that is worth more than my 20 year old MacGregor Bobby Grace M3 that I got for $30 when a local shop went out of business.

 

I struggled to hit driver for a few years and was teeing off with a 1 Hybrid because I could hit that hybrid 240ish dead straight most of the time.  2 years ago I got fitted for a driver (OG Stealth HD) and I keep it in play much more often saving a TON of shots and gaining 40+ yards on my hybrid giving me shorter approach shots and ability to reach some par 5s in 2.

 

Yes, lessons would probably been a better use of my money but it was a quick fix to get me back in/near the fairway with the big dog.

 

 

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A lot of the responses here are not making the distinction between the clubs and the shot. Taking the OP literally, the question is about the value of the piece of equipment: driver vs putter. Many of the answers here are responding about the importance of the shot driving vs. putting. They're not the same thing. At all.

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