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 Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes

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Daztasiumz
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PostSubject: Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes   Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:29 am

by Rich Hunt   |   December 10, 2013


The following column is an excerpt from my recently published annual e-book, 2013 Pro Golf Synopsis. There is a link below in my profile data for those whom would like to purchase the book for only $10.
Early in the 2013 season, I wanted to research one of the key questions golfers have often asked themselves: Is it better to hit driver off the tee on a tight par-4 or should golfers leave the driver in the bag and lay up?
To learn the answer, I had to study data from PGA Tour players using the PGA Tour’s Shot Tracker system. Furthermore, I needed to find holes where there was roughly an even split between golfers who hit driver off the tee versus those who laid up off the tee so there was a large enough sample size for both golfers who hit driver and those who laid up.


The rest of the stats are here
http://www.golfwrx.com/145045/hit-driver-not-3-wood-for-better-scoring-on-tight-holes/
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Daztasiumz
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PostSubject: Re: Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes   Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:37 am

Rich Hunt analysis




"My original inclination was that the golfers who hit driver off the tee would end up better off based on my break-even table and some other numbers I had ran. I estimated that golfers who hit 3 wood and find the fairway 80 percent of the time should be able to find the fairway at least 39.5 percent of the time with the driver in order to “break-even.” But the real surprise was that the golfers hitting driver off the tee were finding the fairway much more often than the golfers hitting 3 wood. That is exactly the opposite of why golfers generally choose to lay-up off the tee.
This started to make some sense when I started to examine many of the “critical holes” on Tour, which I discussed in this GolfWRX story. As the year went along, and I started to examine more of the “critical holes.” I started to notice that one of them was usually a par 4 where either hitting 3 wood off the tee was mandatory, or there was a split between hitting driver and 3 wood off the tee. And it became apparent to me that even PGA Tour players struggle at hitting precise 3 woods off the tee.
The big question that I was left with was why are PGA Tour players hitting their drivers more accurately than their 3 woods off the tee? Let’s go into what we know about the components of your typical 3 wood versus your typical driver.

  • The 3 wood is shorter in shaft length.
  • The 3 wood is heavier in static weight and shaft weight.
  • The 3 wood generates more spin.
  • The 3 wood flies a shorter distance.
  • The landing angle of the ball is steeper with a 3 wood.
  • The 3 wood has a smaller sized head.

The only component that would lead to a 3 wood being less accurate is its smaller-sized head. The rest of the differences in components would lead to a 3 wood being more accurate off the tee.
Part of what I had to remember is how important head size is to driving the ball off the tee. Remember, the true sweet spot on a club is only the size of about a needle point, and golfers don’t hit it as often as most golfers think. And larger heads do not have larger sweet spots, either. They are just more forgiving around the sweet spot area because of their larger moment of inertia, which helps keep the club from rotating on off-center hits. That creates less gear effect, usually resulting in straighter shots that have a ball speed more similar to those struck on the sweet spot.
I had to remember back to the days when titanium drivers with their larger heads were replacing steel and persimmon driver heads. One of the advantages of titanium was that the substance was so light that the manufacturer could design a larger head and allow the club head to be much more forgiving than those old 200-cubic-centimeter driver heads. The same applies to hitting a 460cc driver versus a 190cc 3 wood.
Hopefully, this will make golfers think twice about leaving the driver in the bag the next time they are hitting into a tight fairway.
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scottycollector
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PostSubject: Re: Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes   Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:59 am

makes perfect sense to me. the fairway wood is the most difficult club to hit consistently well, at least for me.

i'd rather choke down on a driver and do a 3/4 swing

some days i don't even bring a fairway wood. laying up with a 3 hybrid on an approach shot usually reaps better results
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angyongshen
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PostSubject: Re: Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes   Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:37 pm

But before you shelf the 3w, do consider the utilization. For me fw can be played off the fairway or off the tee, driver however at my level i only can play it off the tee. I will try to work towards making my FW work and shelf the driver if I had to go the minimalist way.

If only i can execute that, *dream* *dream*
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzzpQ5EhPck


Last edited by angyongshen on Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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neutralgolfer
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PostSubject: Re: Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes   Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:50 pm

I would say it depends on which club gives you more consistency and accuracy. Since it is a tight fairway, you want to avoid trouble at all cost. Use your most comfortable club which gives you the most distance.

The above report seems to apply to Tour Pro since their driver is as accurate as their 3W.
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pocketace
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PostSubject: Re: Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes   Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:26 pm

Another possibility is that Tour professionals can recover better from a bad driver tee shot than us mortals

So even if they pulled out a driver on a tight hole, they may not put a big no. on their scorecard even if they don't put the ball in the fw.

Kranji hole #4, I never used driver before, cos I'm not a PGA tour pro
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PostSubject: Re: Hit driver, not 3 wood for better scoring on tight holes   Today at 7:56 pm

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