Driver vs Hybrid off the tee?

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jason6r

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I've been playing well enough recently but the last few competition rounds have seen me in trouble off the tee - not disastrous, lost ball trouble but more the kind where your 2nd shot is then restricted and you can either bunt it onto the fairway and aim for a long pitch and a putt, or go for broke and go for the green in regulation (on a par 4) despite the less than ideal position.

Now I'm learning to take the first option and play the percentages more unless the situation I am in (e.g. matchplay) demands a more risky shot. However, I thought I would try a different approach in my practice round on Wednesday, namely hitting my 23* hybrid off the tee as I always make great contact and can shape this both ways on demand.

What a revelation! I hit 9/14 fairways (not much better than my usual with the big stick) but I was never in any real trouble even when I put a poor swing on it off the tee. Obviously, it is much more forgiving then the driver but I was surprised at how far the ball was going due to the controlled draw I was able to hit (the driver is a bit of a lottery in the shot shaping department). Even though I had a longer shot into the green or had to lay up on the par 5s, I scored miles better due to I think:

  1. I was in play more often than not, with a clear shot at the green
  2. I was full of confidence and that translated to a more positive mindset over the ball on the 2nd shot
  3. It took away many of the "hero" shots that feel awesome when they come off but get you into trouble more often than not

I ended up going round in 8 over, basically 4 shots better than my handicap without feeling like I was really trying if that makes sense? It was however, not the most exciting round I've ever played and I'm not sure I could commit to playing like this forever as it wasn't as enjoyable as usual for all that it was effective. It has to be the key for lower scoring to ensure your next shot is as easy as it can be and I'm going to put it to the test under competition conditions on Saturday to see how it stands up under external pressure.

Anyone else tried this approach? Did it work and did you stick to it? Or was it not as enjoyable as it usually is and did you revert to the adrenaline rush of the driver?!
 

bigslice

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yep my hybrid goes 200 and round my course it comes in handy for positions. but I sometimes get cocky and then it turns into disaster. but it also depends, if I hitting the driver ok then I will stick with it.
 

One Planer

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It's like the old addage, "It's not how, it's how many"

If you find you score better this way, all well and good.

We have a short par 4 at my track where I'll often take a mid iron off the tee and hit a longer second shot into a green.

Works for me, so I keep doing it.
 
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I've been playing well enough recently but the last few competition rounds have seen me in trouble off the tee - not disastrous, lost ball trouble but more the kind where your 2nd shot is then restricted and you can either bunt it onto the fairway and aim for a long pitch and a putt, or go for broke and go for the green in regulation (on a par 4) despite the less than ideal position.

Now I'm learning to take the first option and play the percentages more unless the situation I am in (e.g. matchplay) demands a more risky shot. However, I thought I would try a different approach in my practice round on Wednesday, namely hitting my 23* hybrid off the tee as I always make great contact and can shape this both ways on demand.

What a revelation! I hit 9/14 fairways (not much better than my usual with the big stick) but I was never in any real trouble even when I put a poor swing on it off the tee. Obviously, it is much more forgiving then the driver but I was surprised at how far the ball was going due to the controlled draw I was able to hit (the driver is a bit of a lottery in the shot shaping department). Even though I had a longer shot into the green or had to lay up on the par 5s, I scored miles better due to I think:

  1. I was in play more often than not, with a clear shot at the green
  2. I was full of confidence and that translated to a more positive mindset over the ball on the 2nd shot
  3. It took away many of the "hero" shots that feel awesome when they come off but get you into trouble more often than not

I ended up going round in 8 over, basically 4 shots better than my handicap without feeling like I was really trying if that makes sense? It was however, not the most exciting round I've ever played and I'm not sure I could commit to playing like this forever as it wasn't as enjoyable as usual for all that it was effective. It has to be the key for lower scoring to ensure your next shot is as easy as it can be and I'm going to put it to the test under competition conditions on Saturday to see how it stands up under external pressure.

Anyone else tried this approach? Did it work and did you stick to it? Or was it not as enjoyable as it usually is and did you revert to the adrenaline rush of the driver?!
Absolutely tried it - for 25 yrs I used a 3w off the tee and got down to 6. Actually didn't bother carrying a driver as never used it. And not clear why it's less exciting. Booming the ball 300yds off the tee is no big deal. Accuracy and consistency - that's the big deal. Scratch buddy of mine often takes a hybrid off the tee for accuracy and position. Driver is a different tool for a different job - what it's isn't is what you should use off the tee on par 4s and 5s. Good luck getting down to Cat 1 - you'll get there with determination, practice, luck, accuracy and consistency :)
 
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yep my hybrid goes 200 and round my course it comes in handy for positions. but I sometimes get cocky and then it turns into disaster. but it also depends, if I hitting the driver ok then I will stick with it.
I always find the hybrid off the tee good for the front 9 at Bogside.
 

fundy

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Last yr or so I have struggled off the tee. A standard comp round at the moment probably consists of hitting a couple of 3 woods a few hybrids and the rest 4 irons (or shorter) off the par 4 and 5 tees. The game was soul destroying not being able to drive it on the golf course so a case of getting the best out of what you have. That said my length is one of my big strengths so it seems wrong to not try and utilise that, especially on what should be reachable par 5s by hitting less club off the tee. Am currently working hard on e the driver/woods but in competitve golf will play the shot I think gives me the best chance possible of shooting the best score with the game I have at that time
 

duncan mackie

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course management play the club off the tee that gives you the best shot next, whether that's a 7 iron hybrid or driver.
yep - clubs and shots for courses and holes

I use a driver most of the time at my course, but will use a wide range of clubs in competition at other venues as the conditions, holes and, to a degree, how I'm swinging, all come into play. Importantly 'holes' doesn't necessarily mean the length of the hole either!
 

richart

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I have been just hitting three wood off the tee at my place. A nice draw with a bit of run, and I am not far behind a good driver. A bad three wood is still in the same postcode, unlike a bad driver. Also it is nice to stand on the tee with a bit of confidence, rather than total fear.:eek:
 

harpo_72

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I looked at it the other way, in that I like to have 150 yards in or less, I don't like less than 80 yards due to spin control (never really hitting hard enough or over hitting a 60 degree , for me). So then I would plan my club off the tee based on total required length to get me into the 150 window, look at the traps and where the ball would be best placed to hit the middle of the green.
Presently I am finding myself using the driver quite frequently as Ellesborough is about hitting driving targets, you can squeeze out moster drivers if you land it in the right places due to the geography. All you need is 190 -230 yards of carry and you will see drives in excess of 280 and on occasion 320, simply because the ball just runs off the downslope. Into the wind bough and its a different story, 150 yard drives as they roll back towards you :( !
 

mcbroon

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Remember very clearly playing a 4BBB match with my uncle v my old man and his mate. Came to the 18th, all square, and they all hit driver. I pulled a hybrid and my dad said "Why wouldn't you hit the driver??" I explained that I wanted to be far enough back to give myself a full shot in, as the approach is over water and I wanted to be hitting a shot I had to commit to, to reduce the chance of quitting on it and chunking it into the burn. He shook his head and said "That's a mistake". So I knocked a wedge in to 12 feet and holed the putt for a birdie to win the match.

You hit the shot that gives you the best chance of making a score. That's not always the one that goes the furthest.
 

dotty001

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All about course management ! I never use the driver on 16 or 18 on my course , cos I know my miss with the driver is where the danger is , when the fairways firm up I will hit 3 wood on another couple of holes as well
 

Fader

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You hit the shot that gives you the best chance of making a score. That's not always the one that goes the furthest.
This comment nails it for me.

Similar thing happened to me last week in club stableford same guy questioned on conesctutive holes why I chose to hit a 4 iron / 2hybrid instead of my driver for those tee shots.

1st time was on our 7th hole short dog leg par 4, hit the driver over the corner and you can drive it, I hit 4 iron just through the apex of the corner and a half gap wedge to 6 feet made birdie 3, he hit driver made the carry ended up in greenside bunker and made a bogey 5!

2nd time on the 8th I hit hybrid up the right half the fairway, then hit a wedge to 4 feet made a birdie 3 again. He hit driver and duffed his half wedge into the water and took a double bogey.

When i explained to him whilst waiting on the 9th tee that it'd taken him 11 shots to play those 2 holes and me 6 shots due to imo the right choice off the tee, he started leaving the driver in the bag. Sadly I still on managed 35 points and lost out by a point grrr!
 

Crow

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On most courses the driver isn't necessary on many holes, it can get you into more trouble than a shorter club and if your confidence in it isn't great anyway then best leave alone.

A few years ago I used to take a Mizuno Fli-Hi 3 iron on most tee shots.
My confidence in my driver is better now but in a normal round I'll only use it on 7 tee shots at my course. (1st, 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th for anyone who knows the course. ;))
 

lyden

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Personally hitting hybrids off the tee brings bunkers in to play. When I hit driver there is probably 1 on the entire course I can't carry. I may consider it if it were the other way round. I've never really understood how people can hit 3wood but not a driver? A swing is a swing a few degrees of loft sure doesn't make that much difference.
 

Oddsocks

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OK I'm all for position, but a driver your confident with is a great tool, the only time I use a 3w/hybrid of the tee is when a driver could bring hazards into play
 

ScienceBoy

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I have a method that works for me. My default tee club is my 3 wood, if I need distance I move to the driver, if I need a greater degree of control.

I also love to leave full shots but my confidence with all distances inside 120 is very high so I dont mind leaving shorter shots. My preference is actually a 3/4 PW or 9 iron as I can stop those really quick and I can also get them closer than full shots.
 
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