With all this talk about Royal Liverpool Golf Club being a course that demands strategic play rather than bombs away, we are very likely to see a lot of 2 and 3 irons used off the tee. Of course, the tour players hit the ball a long way so a tee shot with a 2 or 3 iron will undoubtedly travel quite a distance. They will plan their tee shots based on the side of the fairway that best suits the most ideal approach shots to the green. Then they’ll pick their club and off they’ll go! The driver may only come out a time or two throughout their round. In fact, in 2006 when Tiger won at this very location, he used his 2 iron almost exclusively throughout the tournament. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “a 2 Iron….they still make 2 Irons?!” “I thought the 2 Iron went out with the Mashie?!” You might also be thinking, “I’d hit a 2 Iron too if I could hit it 250 yards!” Yes, we all have to agree that the Tour Professional has a very different game when it comes to overall distance. They hit it miles!!
Many players would love to add some distance off the tee. If for nothing else, but to drive it past their weekend playing partners every once in a while. So what if you could add 10 -20 yards off the tee? What if you could be the longest hitter of your foursome? Would it lower your score? I believe in some cases, it would impact a player’s score rather quickly but only if the ball ended up at a yardage that was a “great” yardage for that player. What do I mean by that? Well, we all have a club/yardage that we absolutely love. When we get to that particular yardage, we are happy. We grab our favorite club and all is right with the world. We absolutely know the ball we are about to hit is going onto the green on a par 4 or staying right in the middle of the fairway on a par 5. We’re confident with the club, we hit it well and we have fantastic distance and dispersion control with it. In a case like this, it would certainly hedge the bet on a lower score.
There are times however where long bombing tee shots don’t automatically equal a lower score. Take for example this past week at the Women’s British Open. It was won by one of the shortest hitters on tour, Mo Martin! She didn’t have Michelle Wie length off the tee at all! She did however, have accuracy off the tee (she’s ranked #1 in driving accuracy on tour.) She played her game and just went along hitting tee shot after tee shot down the middle and was most likely out-driven for most of the tournament. It didn’t matter in this case at all. One of the shortest hitters on the LPGA Tour won the Women’s British Open!
Now if you’re absolutely certain that an added 10-20 yards will give you the advantage you need to go low, try this the next time you’re out playing a casual 9 holes. Hit your tee shot and when you arrive at the ball, pick it up and walk 10-20 healthy steps toward the green. Drop the ball, play it in from there and see what you put on the scorecard when you walk off the green. Did it change your club selection or shot type? Did you find that you were now in a more challenging lie because the ball is on a slight downslope? Did it put you in-between clubs? Perhaps it put you at your “favorite club” yardage and you couldn’t wait to hit the shot! You may discover that on some holes it helps and on other holes it hurts. Sometimes you discover that what would really help lower your score is the approach shot rather than the tee shot. Ultimately, you’ll learn something about your game through the process and it will give you better direction when you go out to practice.