The last few times I have hit the course, I have been interested in just how often I hit the fairway. After all, golf is so much easier from the short stuff, isn’t it? Well actually, I’m not sure. Why is that?
Hit More Fairways and Score Better
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks/has thought along these lines. Hit every fairway and the score must drop, right? I have played three competitions this year and hitting more fairways has been a real priority. So how has that worked out? Actually, not so great!
I have scored pretty well this year so far, but in all honesty, hitting more fairways hasn’t been the reason. Firstly because I really am only an average golfer and much as I might decide to hit the fairways, I simply don’t do it as often as I’d like! Nothing surprising there, you might think. Well as I mentioned in a previous post there is a real advantage to playing a shorter club off the tee and leaving the driver in the bag (or even in the car!) I have been doing this, but haven’t really been hitting that many more fairways. Generally, I get about 7-9 out of 14. It is certainly true that my misses have been less penalised. A big left with a 5 iron is usually still in bounds, whereas with the Driver, I’m hitting three off the tee. But I certainly haven’t been playing every second shot from the short stuff. Back to the drawing board?
How Many Fairways do the Pros Hit?
If hitting the fairway was really so important then the best players in the world shouldn’t be missing any, right? Well a quick look at the stats shows this isn’t the case. Many pros are only hitting the fairway half the time! Hey, that’s no better than me (next stop, pga tour!)
Not quite so fast, Tiger. This isn’t really a quick u turn in my advice and an encouragement to follow the “bomb and gauge” school of golf. Many pros tend to adapt the mentality of hitting it as far as possible and then deal with it for a couple of reasons and these are important if you are thinking of applying the same logic to your game:
- Ball spotters. This is huge. When you see Tiger smashing it 300 yards or more into the rough, you can bet that someone will find his ball. When I hit it into the thick rough( well short of 300 yards) it might only be 50/50 if I find it again. See how playing three off the tee adds to your score!
- As mentioned above, despite what would all like to think, we are not hitting it the same distance as pros. Bombing a drive and then having a wedge from the rough isn’t the same thing as trying to play a long iron or even a hybrid from the long grass.
- Finally, tour pros really are a lot better than us. When I am in the rough, I am can usually count on a fairly mediocre strike. Not so with pros. Seeing how they create stuff from lies that would have the rest of us in tears is beyond impressive.
How to Really Hit More Fairways
Ultimately, the (unsatisfactory) answer is that it depends. If you are a good, straight driver of the ball, it makes sense to drive unless the fairway is very narrow. If, like me, you can send the occasional one miles down the fairway and the less occasional one miles into the trees, take a shorter club. Ok, you might not hit the fairway, but you probably won’t be miles away and will certainly save a few bucks on lost balls!