Here we go again with Driving Accuracy. As this may come as a shock for any Golfer that has been diligent in trying to keep their golf ball on the short grass – Driving Accuracy when it comes to simply hitting Fairways is the most overrated stat in all sports. Now, I know that reading this information probably upsets many Golfers whose battle cry on the links is simply – “if I could just hit more fairways I could …!”
And I know that I risk you canceling your subscription to GIW if you read this and say – “Marc, you’re a complete idiot. Hitting Fairways is the most important thing in golf.” But if you could just leave your preconceived notions in the next room for a few minutes – you might actually see something you’ve never thought of before.
When we’re speaking about Driving Accuracy – yes, you need to keep your golf ball in play to have fun on the golf course. There’s nothing worse than hitting your tee shots into the trees or water or losing golf balls. It’s incredibly upsetting to always be taking penalties or having to chip out of the trees.
We all want to be in position to have our next shot have a chance of getting on the green – so being out of play with your tee-shot is down-right frustrating. And frankly – I’ve seen Golfers quit the game over the agony of not being able to keep their tee shots in play. I’m sure we’re all in agreement that nothing causes more frustration than errant tee shots.
Though, as you’ll see – the top Golfers aren’t worried about hitting Fairways and if you watch their games and then look at their stats – this can be backed up. The top Golfers keep their golf balls in play, hit the golf ball far, are very good around the green and make putts. Whereas the average Golfer trying to break 90 or 100 is overwhelming consumed with hitting Fairways (and is often not happy hitting 8 out of 14) – the best Players in the world (that score in the 60’s) hit the same 8 out of 14 Fairways you’re not happy with.
We see it week after week, year after year, Tiger win after Tiger win. What do we see? We see that the winner is “almost never” the most accurate Driver. And the only reason I say “almost never” is because it will happen once a decade – so I can’t just say “never” because someone will send me an email saying – “Well, Harvey Bufufneck won the 1998 Camden Society of Urologists Tournament and he led the field in Fairways Hit.”
I’m not just saying this because it’s my opinion. I’m stating the facts based on Results. GMS is a Results Based Program. Everything we do is based on having our Golfers see Results – as opposed to most Instruction that’s built on Theories and Assumptions. We determine if a Golfer is doing better based on their Results and we have found that Golfer Results don’t improve even 1 stroke solely based on hitting Fairways.
Yes, Golfers will improve dramatically by learning how to keep the golf ball in play – but they don’t improve one stroke by hitting more Fairways. We have conducted tests with Golfers that have backed this up. For example: We have a test where we play the 220 Yard Game. We assume the Golfer hits a 220 yard drive on each Par 4. We put one ball 220 yards from the tee in the middle of the fairway and we put another golf ball the same distance, but to the side of the fairway.
The Golfer then plays each ball until they get it into the hole. The Results show that the scores stay the same regardless of whether the ball was hit from the Fairway or from the rough. Yes, sometimes the Golfer’s score on one hole will be better from the Fairway vs. off the Fairway – but on the next hole it maybe the opposite. All in all – the scores after playing 12 Par 4’s come out to be the same. Try it yourself.
Now let’s go to the Pro’s on Tour. Let’s start with the Nationwide Tour – at the Nationwide Tour Championship a couple of weeks ago: The winner (1st) was ranked 39th out of 58 Golfers in Hitting Fairways. The guy in last place (58th) was ranked 6th in Hitting Fairways. The Winner was ranked 12th in Greens in Regulation. The guy ranked 6th in Hitting Fairways was ranked 45th in Greens in Regulation.
This goes against the beliefs of many struggling Golfers. The struggling Golfer wants to hit Fairways because they believe it will lead to more Greens. The Results show that’s not the case. Read the above stats again to get an even clearer picture. This is happening week after week, year after year, Tiger win after Tiger win.
Which just shows that hitting Fairways has very little to do with hitting Greens. Though, to clarify – missing the Fairway and being in the rough is very different than hitting into the trees or water or losing golf balls. But, this is to show that the Golfer with the singular thought on the tee being Fairways, Fairways, Fairways – might be holding themselves back from better scores.
More proof? The guy leading the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy (Olin Browne hitting 80% of the Fairways) is ranked 165th in Scoring Average. While the guy leading in Scoring Average (Phil Mickelson) is ranked 181st in Fairways Hit (hitting just 55% – meaning Browne is hitting 25% more Fairways). The difference in the amount of Fairways hit is staggering, but so is the difference in their winnings (which tells the story of how well they score week after week).
We’re not saying for you to be wild off the tee. You need to keep your golf ball in play. But, too many Golfers are so worried about hitting Fairways that they don’t allow themselves to make a free flowing swing. The tension that you’re creating (by feeling you need to hit your shot in the Fairway) is doing more damage than good. The tension you’re creating is actually causing you to hit drives out of play. The worry you’re creating about hitting your tee shots in the Fairway could be causing you to lose 20 to 50 yards off your tee shots!
On the other hand – take Mickelson – there’s little regard in his game for hitting Fairways. His game is about keeping it in play (with the occasional ball out of play), getting good distance from his tee shots (to allow for easier clubs to the green), having a strong wedge game and then making putts. And as much as Golfers believe that Mickelson and Woods have different styles of play – they don’t. They both use the same PLAN mentioned above!
I’m not saying that your style should be like Tiger’s or Mickelson’s style, but look at the top Players in the game according to best Scoring Average: Mickelson, Garcia, Singh, Harrington, Kim and Villegas. They’re ranked: 181st, 153rd, 150th, 154th, 159th and 166th respectively as far as hitting Fairways. While all these phenomenal Players are averaging only hitting around 55% of the Fairways – they are still achieving better scores than other Golfers hitting 80% of the Fairways.
Yet, you’re styling your game around 80% of Fairways. If so, you’re playing golf like the bottom half of the Players on Tour. Golf Made Simple believes that your PLAN should be based on the Top Players on Tour – Keep your ball in play, improving the distance you hit the golf ball (without causing anymore inaccuracy), having a strong wedge game and then making putts. This formula works – we have the stats from our Golfers to prove this.
Why anyone would even consider taking any other Instruction is mind boggling to me!
GMS would like you to improve your scores by helping you to improve your golf swing to strike the golf ball better. This will help you to keep more golf balls in play as well as hit your Drives farther. Which will help you to have shorter clubs to the green. Which will allow you to be more accurate and have shorter putts. Which will allow you to have better scores.
That’s how the top 6 Golfers mentioned above do it year after year. Oh, and that other guy seems to be doing the same thing – you know who I mean – some guy named Eldrick. Or better known as Tiger Woods – the guy that this year was ranked 169th in Driving Accuracy and 1st in Greens in Regulation.
Improve your golf swing so that you hit the golf ball more solid and keep it in play. Don’t improve it just for the sake of hitting Fairways. The Results show that Fairways Hit is extremely overrated. The Results show that the stat of “Keeping Your Golf Ball In Play” is far more important for you if you want to play consistent golf.
The Monkey is so worried about hitting the Fairway that tension leads to inconsistent golf swings
The Player is too focused on their Tick Tock to worry about the Fairway
Go ahead, be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life