So Close to Breaking 80
Taking some risk out of my game by playing it safe
Wow...so now I got down to 82, playing at Quail Brook on this past Sunday morning. What a great feeling. The nice thing (in a way) is that there were certainly more strokes to be saved around the course. I had a whiff off the tee on one hole, missed a 2 foot putt for birdie on a par 3, knocked a driver shot out of bounds on 17, and overall my putting wasn't anything special (1.89 putts/GIR - 34 total). Breaking 80 can't be too far away!
I took an actual strategy into this round. Quail Brook isn't a long course, 6000 yards from the white tees. A majority of the par 4s are in the 300-350 range. I used to try to smack my driver to the green on these holes, often ending up with very awkward wedge shots, or worse yet, with a lost ball.
This day I decided to just play long irons off the tee, place myself in the fairway and leave myself a full swing shot to the green. The ploy worked very well. Granted, I did still pull the driver on 3 holes....all of which I bogied or worse. But having 150-175 left to the green on the par 4s was nice. I am pretty sure I had more GIRs (9) than I've ever had in a round and hit 7/14 fairways...with most of the other (non-driver) misses being in the first cut. The last several rounds I always felt like I was rarely hitting any mid iron shots. It always seemed like driver...wedge...driver...9 iron, or driver wedge wedge on par 5s. But I'd always be playing out of awful lies, stances, having to hit under trees, etc.
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Taking a 4 iron off the tee (which I generally hit 210-220) and being able to put that in the fairway, leaving myself a full swing was wonderful. One of our playing partners played the 'smash the driver' game all day, continually losing balls...slice…hook...gone. It only continued to reinforce the decision to Play It Safe.
This week (assuming it's not 110 all week), I plan on working on my 3 iron some at the driving range. I was hitting the 4 iron so well all day that perhaps the 3 iron would be helpful in getting just a tad more distance on the par 5s. Playing a 550 yard par 5, teeing off with the 4 iron means I need 1 very nice 210 yard shot off the tee, then another very nice 210 yard 4 iron off the fairway...then a 130 yard PW to the green. It worked out alright on one hole, but if I can muster up 220-230 with the 3 iron off the tee, it might be nicer to be hitting a 6 iron to PW range for the 3rd shot. That is assuming I can hit the 3 iron consistently at the range (off a tee of course, cause I don't want to go screwing up my swing on driving range mats again 😀), as well as I was hitting the 4.
The other thing I plan on working on this week is my pre-shot routine. Right now, it's next to nill. I am sure I do some things consistently in my 'routine', but I want to work toward having something I can repeat on every swing. This is one of the things Jack Moorehouse covers in his How to Break 80 book, and it makes complete sense. If you haven't read his e-book, I'd highly suggest downloading a copy, it has some wonderful information, and very easy to use tips.