One of the beautiful things about golf is that as you become a better player, the face of the game changes from one of simply trying to hit the ball around the course and keep it in play… to a game much more intellectually stimulating…like a chess match of position, forward looking strategy, and as dart says, cleverness.
I do believe that even the average golfer could do a great deal to help their scores if they could realistically assess their own abilities, set the ego aside, and hit shots that will give them the best chance of keeping the ball in play for their skill level.
What club should I pull from the tee that will give me an 80% chance of hitting the fairway? For me it is often not a driver, sometimes a 3 wood, even a 3 iron. I would much rather be in the fairway from 160 than in the rough or worse from 140.
The 14th hole at my club has a sucker fairway, I can hit 3 iron and I will never miss the fairway, even with a poor swing of the club. If I hit driver, the fairway bottlenecks at 240 yards to something about 15 yards wide, add an elevated tee and wind everywhere and I would have to make a really pure swing just to have a chance of keeping it in play down there with all kinds of trouble, hazards lurking.
I see people pull driver all the time and just swing away, and I don’t think I have ever seen an average player who has a bit of distance ever hit that fairway.
I think that just really shows where most peoples heads are at.
It might be interesting for an average golfer to go out and just make it a point to hit every fairway, even if that meant hitting 7 iron off the tee. Do the same thing on the next shot, and just take the big numbers out of play. As the swing improves, gradually move the ball down the fairway with more club over the weeks, or months. I bet we would see a quick reduction in the handicap, but tough on the ego for sure…