I have been struggling to get myself into the low 80s and even break 80 for quite some time, constantly losing strokes here and there due to errant tee shots. I have spent countless hours at the range working on my drive, trying to perfect a consistently long tee shot. I should have been spending my practice time on my irons and short game, instead of laboring away with the big dog.
So, this past weekend I finally decided to put the ego aside, and take the lost ball part of my game out of the equation. I left the driver in the bag and pulled a long iron on just about every par 4 or par 5. With this strategy, I was placing the vast majority of my tee shots in or quite near to the fairway, in excellent position for my next shot with taylormade r11 irons. Sure, no one was dropping their jaw at the occasional 300 yard bomb down the middle...but what I did hear from my playing partners was surprising. They all commented on the consistency of my tee shots. What a novel concept, consistent tee shots?
It makes a lot of sense, especially if you have the length to be able to play a long iron off a par 4 and still be able to get to the green in two with a mid or short iron. Take for instance a 350 yard par 4. With the 'ultimate' drive, perhaps you end up 75-50 yards from the green, and are presented with a challenging partial wedge shot with taylormade r11 irons. I do not know about you, but my distance control in that gray area is not perfect. Place yourself back on the tee and rather than hitting the driver, consider using a 4 or 5 iron. If you can hit one of these clubs 180-210 yards, now you are looking at a between a 170 and 140 yard approach shot. For me, this leaves a full swing shot that I am fairly confident will go the right distance.
The strategy even works well on a par 5. Consider a 510 yard par 5. Hit your 180 yard iron off the tee first, leaving 330. Hit your 180 yard iron from the middle of the fairway, leaving a 150 yard shot from a great lie with r11 irons. Short iron to the middle of the green, and you are putting for birdie. I know I would certainly rather be putting for birdie, than trying to chip in for par after scrambling from an errant tee shot with the driver.
Give it a try some round with r11 irons. Play conservatively. Take the trees, bushes, deep rough, and random hazards out of the equation. You will certainly find that you will lose a lot fewer balls, and you might even drop a few strokes off your score!
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