Longer or Straighter?
Everywhere you look, every golf equipment claim seems to be about hitting the ball further. From golf balls to drivers, fairways, hybrids, and now irons, the message that hitting it longer is the ultimate... and maybe only... goal we have as golfers.
While this quest for distance has certainly improved the performance of golf balls and many of the longer clubs (I.E.: drivers and even fairway woods), is it really what makes the difference in a round of golf? I have written about this before, but today I want to get you all involved in a discussion of what really is important to each of us when it comes to hitting a golf ball where we want it to go.
As you all know, I am an unabashed fan of Mr. Hogan and the way he played the game. His control of the golf ball was legendary and stories abound about how he rarely missed fairways and greens. He was known to control his driver ball-flight to hit certain areas of fairways to give him the best approach to the flag. He aimed at specific areas of the green to give him the best putt. He worked the ball differently based on the flag position — hitting fades to right pin placements and draws to those on the left, bringing it in high to a front pin, and lower to release to one in the back. Of course, that was the way the game was played back then by all the top players; it was just that Mr. Hogan seemed to take it to a whole other level.
As I contrast that with the power game of today, the best players in the world hit two out of three fairways and about that same percentage of the greens. But they do hit it a mile, for sure, giving rise to the oft-quoted "bomb and gouge" approach to the game.
That approach seems to work for them, but does it for you and me?
What would improve your scoring, and reduce the "big number" holes that just deflate us? Is it being a few yards closer to the green off the tee? Or being able to improve your command of the ball so that you could keep it between the trees? Is it hitting a full-out 8-iron from 160 and hitting the green 20-30% of the time, or opting for a controlled soft 6-iron and improving that percentage by double or triple?
A golf research professional told me just a couple of months ago that what golfers say they really want out of the game is "to hit better golf shots more often." What I am asking is...
"What does that mean to you?"
Let me have it, guys...
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Today's game is all about trying to overpower the golf course, at any expense. They have it forced down their throats that that is how the game is played, so they don't know any other way. They try to hit shots that they see the pros play but they just can't pull them off. They don't seem to want to practice these shots, or anything else. All to often it is just an excuse to get out, which is fine, but they are filled with empty expectations. Strategy is something most aren't given to, so those that exercise it are thought to be "fossils" even though their handicaps prove otherwise. Mr Hogan had it right, I believe, as he exercised discipline in practice and in his play, but that is a commodity that is in short supply these days.
With the exception of par fives I really dont think it matters where your drive goes as long as you have a view of the green and the grass has been cut sometime in the last 12 months. But you have to know what your second shot is going to do.
Is the long grass going to close the face a tad or open the face depending on slope then assuming you can get the green shot where are the hills and valleys on the green (skycaddie green mapping scores points here)whats the ball going to do when it lands. run on, spin back, (fat chance). you could write a book and many have. but to get better at golf (unless you have loads of natural talent) you have to hit balls off grass(ranges are different in the uk you play off mats most of the time)No you have PLAY golf with friends with a stake even if its just bragging rights. (Snr Rodriguse). and a desire to get better.
You cannot buy a club that allows you to hit the ball 325 yards unless the ability and the desire is there. you will not be able to hit a 130yrd approach shot on to a 10 foot target unless you really want to and have to. 10 foot putt does your life depend on it, well it should.
The drive for extra distance from technology is making so many courses obsolete based on their par and this needs to change in my opinion. Even in the Professional game some of the older major courses are on the verge of no longer being used because they are too short. The rule makers need to step in before its too late and these older courses slip away.
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