Another Lesson From The US Open
One of the most glaring aspects of the U.S. Open that got my attention was the complete inability for the best players on the planet to hit any kind of quality golf shots from that nasty rough. So here’s what puzzled me.

Since you'd think they would have figured that out very early in the week during their practice rounds, you would also assume that at least a few of them would have approached the tournament with the singular mindset of “keep it in the fairway”.

I watched a lot of the Open, and when guys were able to hit their approaches from the fairway, they really had good chances of putting the ball on the green, maybe even close to the hole. But when they didn’t hit the fairway, anything could happen.

Maybe some did have that strategy, but could it be that the total lack of importance on driving accuracy in “normal” PGA events has created a class of tour professionals who can hit it very long, but just don’t know how to hit it in the fairway ?  Could that be ?

In the Open, only 15 players hit better than 60% of the fairways.  Fifteen !  And only 39 hit half the fairways !  That’s deplorable.  And in case you think that the U.S. Open fairways were that much tougher, to date this year on the entire PGA Tour, only 30 players are hitting it in the fairway better than one out of three holes !

Our ridiculous quest for distance has made us forget that the whole premise of this game used to be, “can you hit it where you are looking” ?

If you want to score better, you need to realize that this is still the goal !

I would like to challenge each and every one of you to go out and play a leisurely round of golf on your course some afternoon and do an experiment.

On each hole where you drive it in the rough, pick up the ball, walk it out to the fairway, go backwards fifteen yards and place the ball for your approach shot.

See what you score. I’ll bet you find a record or near record round results from this.

And it will prove to you, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, that the driver IS the first scoring club.

Throttle back on the distance thinking, and learn how to hit your drives in the fairway.

It sets up each hole very nicely and you will see that very quickly in this experiment round.

As always, let me know how it works out for you.
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[ comments ]
Pappy says:
Can I throw out a dumb question?

Do or could pros use, for the lack of a better term, 'bench coaches'? Not during the tournament (obviously), but say, prior to and during practice rounds? Or am I "all wet" here?
wedgeguy says:
Pappy, Interesting question. I know of no rule that prevents the player from getting any and all advice he wants, from any and all sources, during the practice rounds. This "bench coaching" is a major topic between caddies and players when they are dissecting a course during the practice rounds, and I would assume the players, or some of them at least, solicit advice on strategy from other players, coaches, friends, etc. during these rounds. The point you make, I think, is that maybe we all could benefit from a little "bench coaching" as we play our favorite courses. Nearly every hole has multiple ways to approach playing it, and it's fun to experiment with variations.
DeepRough says:
You know what I find interesting. Square-Head drivers. They seem to be taking a negative hit as they create slightly lower ball speeds than their 'traditional shaped' counterparts. Yet they 'should' provide a tighter dispersion. You would think people would be excited about being able to put their tee shots in the fairway at the expense of 10 yards...but Distance is King!

I know personally, some of my best rounds have been when I have left the driver in the trunk, playing long irons or hybrids off the tee exclusively.
Pappy says:
"The point you make, I think, is that maybe we all could benefit from a little GÇ£bench coachingGÇ¥ as we play our favorite courses. Nearly every hole has multiple ways to approach playing it, and itGÇÖs fun to experiment with variations."

Yes, sir. Thanks.
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