Losing Balls? Leave the Driver in the Bag

I didn’t learn anything new yesterday. Tiger is still the best, Peyton is accurate, Phil chokes under pressure, and you can always count on TB12 to give you a highlight moment. The haters will say he stunk it up on the front nine, but I want to know why Mickelson made him put his 2-iron away. It’s obvious to me, a guy who drives with his 3-iron, that Brady is an accuracy guy. He doesn’t even carry a driver.

I don’t go quite that far. That Callaway Epic Flash Driver I paid five hundred bucks for has to come out of the bag once in a while. When I first bought it, I used it fourteen holes a round. This year, I switched to a driving iron and lowered my handicap by six strokes. Brady is an eight handicap, largely because he drives with an iron. Did you see the difference off the tee on the back nine? Phil is an idiot.

You’ll have to forgive my acerbity. Phil Mickelson is actually one of my favorite golfers, but I’m from Boston. Tom Brady might play in Tampa now, but in my heart he will always be a New England Patriot. I just wish Belichick was there to coach him yesterday. Phil’s suggestion to sunset the driving iron on the first hole was a mistake. I know that move would have thrown my game off.

Learn to Use all Your Clubs

There are fourteen clubs in your bag for a reason. Most of the courses amateurs play on don’t really require a driver. How many times have you crushed the ball on a par five and still needed two more shots to get to the green? Most of us aren’t good enough to hit a 3-wood two hundred eighty yards. Not in a straight line. I’d rather get two hundred down the middle than two fifty into the trees.

To illustrate, let me describe the first hole at my home club. It’s a par-5 dog-leg left. From the tee, it’s roughly 200 yards to the corner, too short for my driver. I can use my 3-wood, but I tend to slice with it. My 3-iron flies true and puts me at or just short of the corner, where I can pop it to within 100 yards of the hole by going over the trees with my pitching wedge. My next shot is another wedge and I’m on in three. No lost balls. No tree shots. No sand traps.

My golf instructor taught me to look at the number of shots it will take to get to the green. If the hole is three hundred yards away, I don’t have to get 250 with my driver. The percentages are better if I use a five or a six to get within wedge range to put it on in two. Yes, it’s fun to crack a long one, but realistically you are not making that green with your driver. Even the pros don’t try that. Of course, most of them don’t hit shots like this either:

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