The "Go To" Shots
I’ve always been a proponent of having one or more “go to” shots – those you have full confidence you can pull off whenever you need it.
To me, the first “go to” shot you need is one that is almost certain to put you in the fairway off the tee. Not necessarily long, of course, but one that will find the fairway a very high percentage of the time. For me, it’s the “bunt” driver. When I just have to hit a shot in the fairway, I am pretty darn confident that I can grip my driver down by about 2-3” and put what Hogan called an “arm swing” on it. Very controlled pace and power, with the whole idea of making solid contact and producing a reliable trajectory and straight path. From my normal drives of 260-275 or so, this one gives me about 225-240 – plenty long for most short par fours where accuracy is key.
You know I’m a firm believer that shorter and in the fairway beats long and crooked every time. That might mean a 3-wood off the tee, but I see too many golfers club down and then amp up their swing because of it, and still hit it crooked. I strongly recommend that you spend some time on the range learning that ‘go to’ bunt driver or other shot that you can rely on when things are demanding, or your full swing gets a little cantankerous.
Another ‘go to’ shot should be one that can be relied upon to get you reasonably close to the hole from a range of 75-100 yards. That means that one swing you know you can always rely on when you need to save a hole from disaster or when you have that shorter birdie hole.
If you are confident in a range that you can get up and down a reasonable percentage of the time, and almost never take more than three shots, it gives you an “out” when you put a drive in the trees. If you have confidence in getting up and down from 2-3 different distances inside 100 yards, you can play to those distances and remove the double-bogies from the card.
So, I’d like to toss this one to all you readers for more ideas for “go to” shots. What are yours?
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My best go to is the gimme.
Good point though, I've found myself teeing off with 3wood on tighter fairways, still fades right but not near as far as a full driver. Also experimenting with half swing wedges and 9irons, getting pretty good at dialing in my 90-100 yd shots. Inside that it's all a crapshoot, but my new wedge is helping me shank a LOT less.
If I had shots I could truly rely on I would be a much better golfer. At my level every shot still feels fraught with risk. Maybe I have something to work on now.
I've been working on just this very thing, thanks to advice from my fellow oobers. I've even worked on using a 3 or 4 iron from the tee when I just feel I have to keep it in the fairway. Not nearly as long as if I hit a good driver however, it can be a confidence builder when I need it. In the short 75ish yards I love my 52* wedge. I feel good about the green on the other end when I use it.
My go to shots are the pull hook and the the push slice. Every time I need to hit a good golf shot under pressure I can count on these two, every $%@# time.
Wedge Guy - I have fully implemented your choke down driver for tighter holes and I really love it. It flies lower, straighter and makes finding a fairway a breeze. I have incorporated it into my iron game and it really helps for those in between shots or when you want to keep it a little lower. A one inch choke down 7i goes the same as my full 8i with a much lower flight. It is a great tip.
Shot one of my best rounds ever today, and there was still plenty of room for improvement.
One of the keys - CHOKE DOWN.
I know the pros do it all the time, you mention it all the time, but i never really do it, I do a light 8 instead of choke down 8. Today apart from a couple I forgot to do it, it worked out really well. 50% GIR for me... one of my best ever if not the best.
Now with the choke down, its making my 105 yard A wedge go to for 85-105.
PS: Agustin - Love that line, might have to quote you.
I tend to use a knockdown wedge on the shorter shots. Pretty hard to miss wide left or right although distance control can be tricky. Still trying to figure out a go to shot off the tee. I'm actually more accurate with driver than 3W for all the reasons Terry mentioned and more - have thought about working on a choked up driver but haven't gotten that to work either.
If one is a very low single digit or plus handicap, hitting less club off the tee probably works fairly well. Many of us are distance challenged and need every yard off the tee in order to make the next shot easier. Unless distance is not an issue for your game, my thought is to learn how to hit your driver consistently so your driver becomes your "go to" club and shot.
I'm distance challenged but I see Terry's point. There are holes for which driver just isn't appropriate for whatever reason - distance, tightness, etc. - or holes for which driver downsides are too great. For those holes you need a safer play, whether it be a FW or a consistent fade or draw with the driver. I readily acknowledge the need for such a shot. I've been working on one for a while. But as of yet I havent developed a shot I can relie on no matter which version I try.
...the Murseless says:
Into the wind, I am loving the knock down shots for everything from 58* to 3i - basically a 3/4 swing off the back foot; it guarantees a clean strike and completely takes pulls out of play (also, of course, keeps the wind from wreaking havoc). For my wedges, knockdowns have actually become my standard shot. I only hit my normal high shots for front to middle pins on elevated greens.
My go to shots are 100 yards and 75 yards from the pin. And the bunt and stinger drivers are very useful - as is the 3 iron off the tee.
I like to club down on par 5s. I feel pretty comfortable between 100 and 110 yards, so I play a higher iron to get into that range for my 3rd shot.
joe jones says:
My ex business partner played as close to the 150 yard marker as he could on every hole possible. Even if he had to play an iron to do it. I thought it made no sense until I realized that he was hitting deadly 7 irons all day long and was so accurate from the repetition that he was putting for birdies most of the day. I tried it and was not as successful as he was. Not enough patience I guess.
My go to shot isn't a shot, it's more club selection. Grab the 4W and get after it. The extra loft gives me a bit less side spin and just more confidence. I'll still leave it right or left off the tee, but almost never put myself into the hazards like the driver can do at times.
three wood, high fade off the tee
Anything with the driver is my go to shot. When driver is not going to work, any iron off the tee 3-9 is fine. Around the green the P chip is king; better than the putter off the fringe. Out of the bunker, the short blast always works to get out at least. I've lost some confidence in the hybrids as i don't use them very often. My older steel shafted "woods" were reliable, just less functional in the bag(1 or two shots a round and too long (220-280) to be practical). The 1 hybrid should be that go to club off the tee, but I need to groove it some more (200-230).
Tim Horan says:
My go to shot off the tee is an 18 degree hybrid off the deck 220-230 low and drawing slightly. Then from 100 ydsit is a three quarter 9 iron nipped crisply with a cut down follow through.
my go to shot is a hold off fade with every club. That's if i have a swing. If the game doesn't show up for some reason there's really nothing i can do to fix it other than keep my head down and find out what miss i'm hitting the most.
Matt McGee says:
I don't need a go-to shot. I need a go-to swing. It's my next project: When you find yourself in a game in the wind and rain, for a fair amount of money, and you're playing against an annoying drunk who keeps hitting bank shots out of the trees and making par, AND your swing leaves you out of sheer disgust... what's the most basic, likely-to-be-more-succesful-than-not swing to fall back on?
My go to shot off the tee is a 70% 3 wood with a slight fade.Or on a dogleg left a hooked 3-hybrid so i can bend the shot around the trees in the fairway. From 100 its a nice high 58 or 56(if its into the wind) that sticks rght on the green.
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