How far do average golfers really hit it?

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How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 12:31 pm

Taken from golf Digest.  http://www.golfdigest.com/story/how-far-do-average-golfers-really-hit-it-new-distance-data-will-surprise-you?bid=social_twitter

Golf Digest wrote:
How far do average golfers really hit it? New distance data will surprise you


What constitutes a long drive? For most golfers, they turn to the TV for context. Sadly, the bombs produced by Dustin Johnson and Jason Day aren't realistic standards (even for most pros). Moreover, despite the advances in technology and fitness, 300 yards remains a desired and hallowed target, mainly for one reason: most golfers can't come close to sniffing that distance.

Conversely, we continue to hear that escalating distance is becoming a problem, to the point where the USGA is starting to take steps to curb this supposed issue.

So, how far do average golfers really hit it?

Thanks to the folks at Game Golf, we finally have an idea.


Game Golf Live, a wearable real-time shot-tracking system that received Golf Digest's Editors' Choice for Best Game Analyzer, provided data regarding the average driving distance from rounds played in 2016 (April to September). Breaking it down in two divisions -- age and handicap -- here are the median driving distances from golfers across the world:



At its core, the median driving distance is 219.55 yards. Other club distances of note: the median 3-wood goes 186.89 yards, 7-iron clocks in at 133.48 yards and pitching wedge at a 73.97 mark. For what it's worth, golfers find the fairway 46.46 percent of the time.

Sure, the biggest yardage number (250) may seem puny -- especially when Henrik Stenson is outdriving that figure by 40 yards with his 3-wood -- but those stats are nothing to deride. However, it does illustrate that, while average golfers are getting it out there, worries about rising distances ruining the game are overblown (at least at the amateur level).

Of course, these figures are just for show. The only number that really matters resides at the end of your scorecard.


Not sure how reliable the data is but assuming it isn't a million miles out I find those numbers pretty interesting.  It would seem that most players are making ridiculous claims about how far they hit the ball.  Maybe there is a bit of #AltFacts when it comes to golfers yardage claims.

My mockery on here for claiming I wouldn't be entirely confident that a 4 iron would clear a 170 odd yard carry doesn't seem all that crazy now does it? :whistle:


Do they stats above match your handicap and the yardage you think you drive?

In general what do you think about club golfers claims about driving distances and how that matches to reality?


Last edited by McLaren on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 3:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by raycastleunited on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 1:00 pm

Taken in isolation, these stats are meaningless. For example, the median pitching wedge distance is 73.97 yards. Last time I played golf I used my pitching wedge 9 times: only 2 of those shots were full swings, the distance range was 5-130 yards, and the median was probably a 3/4 punched 90 yard shot into a breeze.

Anyway, you have to think about their source of data. Who is using this product and do they represent the average golfer?

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by Roller_Coaster on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 2:38 pm

In isolation they are indeed not worth a huge amount. But, I don't have any better data other than the sample I see on any given Saturday.

The short iron analysis is probably skewed a lot as Ray mentioned with his experience last time out (although to be fair I don't know if the tech is (or even can be) adjusted post-round to account for the type of shot).

Driver is more likely to represent a more "full" shot more consistently so might (just might) be relatively more likely to represent some kind of meaningful number.

Gives you something to look at that may be of interest though. I'm certainly interested to at least have a nosey, cheers Mac.

(doesn't relate to me as obviously I'm hitting 320 yard arrow straight drivers 98% of the time Wink )

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 3:07 pm

Ray

As I said
Not sure how reliable the data


But then went on to ask posters to consider how well their claimed yardages relate to reality. I get the feeling, as I have said many times on here, that most players overestimate by a large margin how far they hit the ball.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by Be_the_ball on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 3:54 pm

At the elite level distance matters, but in club golf it has a much diminished impact on scoring. I would say it is way more important for a player to play within his capabilities than strive to hit the Hollywood ball where you catch it well 10% of the time and pose, while 90% of the time you make an arse of it...

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by navyblueshorts on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 4:38 pm

McLaren wrote:...My mockery on here for claiming I wouldn't be entirely confident that a 4 iron would clear a 170 odd yard carry doesn't seem all that crazy now does it? Whistle


Do they stats above match your handicap and the yardage you think you drive?

In general what do you think about club golfers claims about driving distances and how that matches to reality?
Interesting Mac. Thanks. A 4-iron carrying 170 will depend on the handicap of the player concerned - I thought you were better than that Cool . I'd fairly happily back myself with a 4-iron over a ~185 carry on a good, warm day with no headwind. Assuming I strike it well that is...

It's hard to get much from the data you show, but it's definitely true about the internet 300 yards that everyone cranks it past from the tee. It just 'ain't so.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 5:24 pm

Navy,

I believe the scenario was a forced carry over a pond. I reckon my average score would be better laying up then using wedge vs going for the carry. But as you say, if the conditions were perfect and my swing was functioning as well as it does in the mirror the carry would be the play... thumbsup
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 7:53 pm

Lol Mac you're such a provocateur. Those of us who take it seriously...at some point in the off season (or maybe during the season) will go onto a GC2/Trackman and have a distancing session so we know our carry distances. I remember when I mentioned I had sessions on a GC2 last year you ridiculed the very thought that it should even be involved and proported to not know what it was.

From the "data" provided all I would say is that I'm longer than average for both my handicap and my age.  

I would further add that my doubles patner is pretty much up there. Plays off +1 and got to the American golf long drive National final. One of the long drive "specialists" complemented him on reaching the final with a "normal" driver.


Last edited by JAS on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 7:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 8:09 pm

Besides all the stat guff you have to know how to use it in a practical sense. Take the 18th at Carnoustie as an example I've had the extremes of Driver, lob wedge flick to Driver,3 wood lay up, lob wedge flick. In between those extremes it becomes more difficult depending on the wind speed/dir as the JM and neighbouring bunkers come into play more (not saying they didn't the one time I flicked a lob wedge 2nd shot but with the wind hard behind and a bit off the left you can aim up the left and be reasonably confident of missing them. Other times you might want to go with a club that will leave you short of the bunkers and accept the longer shot in.

It was interesting at the open this year how the bunker that nobody thought even Norman could reach with driver the year he was in contention, either Henrick or Phil (can't remember which one now) nearly put a 3 wood in it in July.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by George1507 on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 11:59 am

175 yards carry with a four iron is pretty difficult at the moment, with Arctic temperatures. It's not quite so daunting in the summer though. I don't have a 3 iron at the moment, but when I did have one, I couldn't carry it any further than the four iron. It had a totally different trajectory though, and went 15 yards further on the fairway in summer.

I'm always in awe of guys like Stenson and Rory who can hit long irons really high and stop them on hard greens.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by SmithersJones on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 5:34 pm

You make a very good point about temperature George. I've only ever been on a launch monitor twice, both on very, very cold winter nights. Both times my drives were averaging carry of 200-210 yards. I know I can comfortably exceed that on the course, especially in the summer.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 5:50 pm

George

I'm always in awe of guys like Stenson and Rory who can hit long irons really high and stop them on hard greens

Do you remember Rory at Kiawah in 2012? The greens maybe weren't totally solid but I have never seen anyone hit higher softer landing long irons.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Sun 29 Jan 2017, 3:39 pm

The problem is defining the "average" player. If the "average" player is a 16, then yes, I can buy this data, but as a Cat 1 player who plays with lots of other Cat 1 players I see a massive difference in the distances hit, for instance, I'm a bit shorter than most of my peers, but we all get it round in different ways.

I've substituted my perceived lack of length with prodigious putting and short game stats, so if people think that being able to hit it longer makes you a better player, let's have a game.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by George1507 on Sun 29 Jan 2017, 10:05 pm

Mac,

I haven't played at Kiawah, just seen it on tv. Where it really strikes me is seeing these guys play on courses I know quite well. Troon for example - a lot of long par 4s on the back nine, and I have to hit long clubs for the second shots on 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 18 (assuming I am on the fairway).

Even if I hit those shots well and straight ( not so common these days) then the chances are I'll be just off 3 or 4 of those greens, maybe chipping on (if I'm short) or back ( if it rolls through). So I'm almost certainly going to drop a few shots. Meanwhile Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson are planting 4 irons into the middle of the greens from 220 yards and stopping the ball in a few feet. Seems like a birdie putt on every hole.

OK, I know that was exceptional golf but it must make it a much easier game if you can consistently hit irons 220 yards, straight and stop it quickly. My 5 wood or hybrid might fly 220, but it's usually going like a rocket when it lands so I'd better have my chipping A game with me or it's another +0.1.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by MontysMerkin on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 8:41 am

super_realist wrote:prodigious putting and short game stats
laughing love the internet!
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 8:46 am

MontysMerkin wrote:
super_realist wrote:prodigious putting and short game stats
laughing love the internet!


I'm not kidding Monty, I'd put them up against anyone around the same handicap, no point in saying it's bad when it's good.

My point was the difference between players comes down to how good your putting and short game is, not whether someone knocks it 10 yards farther off the tee.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by MontysMerkin on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 8:48 am

prodigious
adjective
1. remarkably or impressively great in extent, size, or degree.
2. unnatural or abnormal.

Which definition is it, I wonder?
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 8:54 am

Ok, if you have to be pedantically  literal, then yes, it sounds like quite a boast, but considering I shot -6 gross the other week, and my last 5 rounds combined have been a combined -2, then perhaps less so.

Prodigious can also be defined as "wonderful" or "marvelous" which is perhaps a more apt description.

The point is that unlike most who obsess over distance, I've improved my game by working on the short game and putting. If I'm 15 yards behind someone off the tee I'm not that bothered if I'm hitting in an 8 instead of a 9, because it comes down to getting it close and putting.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by MontysMerkin on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 9:12 am

super_realist wrote: I shot -6 gross
TOC? Heard it's a bit of a mickey mouse setup there, from some guy on the internet. I once went round our 9 hole pitch n putt and shot 7 under!
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 12:54 pm

Eden actually Monty.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 6:56 pm

super_realist wrote:The problem is defining the "average" player. If the "average" player is a 16, then yes, I can buy this data, but as a Cat 1 player who plays with lots of other Cat 1 players I see a massive difference in the distances hit, for instance, I'm a bit shorter than most of my peers, but we all get it round in different ways.

I've substituted my perceived lack of length with prodigious putting and short game stats, so if people think that being able to hit it longer makes you a better player, let's have a game.

I'd agree and add the importance of accuracy, I'd rather be hitting an 8 iron off the fairway into the green than a wedge from the rough. With the latter there's a lot more guesswork involved as to how the bill will come out and more importantly how it will behave when it lands.

Because of the state of my driving last season I so relied on my short game to keep my handicap respectable.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 10:56 pm

I will take wedge out of the rough (within reason) over 8 iron in the fairway.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by pedro on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 11:30 pm

I prefer a wedge off the fairway.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 8:03 am

McLaren wrote:I will take wedge out of the rough (within reason) over 8 iron in the fairway.

By rough Mac, we don't mean 1st or 2nd cut, we are talking about proper cabbage where you might have to tread on your ball to find it or might struggle to get the club on the ball.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by SmithersJones on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 7:24 pm

How many courses do average golfers play where there's cabbage within reasonable range?
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 8:40 pm

I would think quite a lot Smithers, cabbage isn't just for those who can knock it 300, it's more likely that the cabbage is not far off the fairway, and as the average golfer is dreadful and given how often you see people hit it off line, it's easy to see how it catches people out.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 10:35 pm

SmithersJones wrote:How many courses do average golfers play where there's cabbage within reasonable range?

I am sure there is an exception but I would say that all courses have at least some cabbage that is reachable by all players.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by SmithersJones on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 10:54 pm

Maybe I'm just too straight to notice it ;-) but I can't remember the last time I played a course with thick grass. Probably Collingtree Park last year on one hole. Mainly find that if you go wide you're in trees or bushes but very rarely just thick grass.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 8:29 am

Either that or your playing in open fields type courses.

Can't think of any courses, even TOC where there isn't at least some punishment for bad driving, doesn't have to just be "cabbage" i.e thick grass, could be bushes, trees, dips, gorse, bunkers, heather.

As such, I'd rather play to a safe part of a fairway, than try to be a bit longer and be in something which makes it impossible to have any control from. Simple course management.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by Shotrock on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 3:51 pm

It's been said before: amateurs crave distance, professionals crave distance control.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by SmithersJones on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 9:38 pm

That's the point though Super - trees aren't as easy to play out of as long grass. If there's long grass all the way down I'd smash driver in the knowledge that the further down I got the shorter the club I'd need for the second. If on the other hand there's trees it's much more important to find the fairway.
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 9:57 pm

Smithers, the point is that the control you get out of long grass is hopeless compared to the control you get from the fairway. In fact you might not even get it out if you can even find it.

We're not talking about semi, we're talking about proper munch where the club is grabbed by the grass often resulting in a big hook, or requires a bunker type advance from it, why would you ever want to be in that than 15 yards further back on the fairway?

Furthermore, if you smash your driver into the LONG grass, then you get pretty much ZERO run, you'll probably get further by hitting your 3 wood into the middle of the fairway anyway.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 10:53 pm

Super

I don't think anyone would want to play out of the sort of stuff you are talking about, but what would you prefer between PW out the mown rough or 8i from the fairway?
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by raycastleunited on Thu 02 Feb 2017, 12:28 am

JAS wrote:Besides all the stat guff you have to know how to use it in a practical sense. Take the 18th at Carnoustie as an example I've had the extremes of Driver, lob wedge flick to Driver,3 wood lay up, lob wedge flick. In between those extremes it becomes more difficult depending on the wind speed/dir as the JM and neighbouring bunkers come into play more (not saying they didn't the one time I flicked a lob wedge 2nd shot but with the wind hard behind and a bit off the left you can aim up the left and be reasonably confident of missing them. Other times you might want to go with a club that will leave you short of the bunkers and accept the longer shot in.

It was interesting at the open this year how the bunker that nobody thought even Norman could reach with driver the year he was in contention, either Henrick or Phil (can't remember which one now) nearly put a 3 wood in it in July.

I didn't know you'd played Carnoustie?

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by raycastleunited on Thu 02 Feb 2017, 12:32 am

McLaren wrote:I will take wedge out of the rough (within reason) over 8 iron in the fairway.

Surely this depends on the hole. If you need to hit a shot that stops quickly then obviously better to be on the fairway

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Thu 02 Feb 2017, 8:09 am

McLaren wrote:Super

I don't think anyone would want to play out of the sort of stuff you are talking about, but what would you prefer between PW out the mown rough or 8i from the fairway?

Mac, we were SPECIFICALLY talking about cabbage and that hitting driver when the risk of getting into that is high. You'd have to be retarded to want to play a shot out of thick cabbage than from the fairway.

Yes, from 1st cut, I'd probably prefer the Wedge than an 8 iron, from 2nd cut, you're getting into different territory now as if I have a lie in which the ball is lying down in the grass, I have less control and I'd probably prefer a nice tight lie on the fairway, but then, and I don't want this to sound too conceited, but I'm a better player than you, so control matters much much more than being  a little bit closer to me, and those sort of distances (8,9,PW) are the ones I practice most on the range (granted, I should probably practice those munchy 2nd cut type lies more) and as such I'm comfortable I can get close.

In the last 6 months, I've improved my driving no end and I'm now faced with shorter fairway shots in, but I'll still reign it in if it's in danger of running into horrid stuff, or for example a par 5 I can't reach in two and there's danger off the tee.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by puligny on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 8:50 am

Had an opportunity Saturday to test the 4 iron 175 yard carry over a bunker, not water, and into slight headwind. Flag 179, course wet so no run, and pleased to report birdie from couple of yards passed the flag. Ball was plugged in its pitch mark on the green.
It was cold Mac, otherwise would have hit 5!

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 8:51 am

McLaren wrote:Super

I don't think anyone would want to play out of the sort of stuff you are talking about, but what would you prefer between PW out the mown rough or 8i from the fairway?

Mown rough? It depends, most 1st cuts (which will typically be no more that 1/3 to 1/2 ball) are ok. There's a small loss of control but it's kind of predictable. 2nd cut...no give me the fairway every time, you're either going to get a flyer or a hack, even it it does come out ok you're getting no stop so it's a bit of a lottery. Of course worst of all is when you play safe, hit exactly where you want in the fairway and the ball nestles nicely in a large divot!!

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 11:27 am

puligny wrote:Had an opportunity Saturday to test the 4 iron 175 yard carry over a bunker, not water, and into slight headwind. Flag 179, course wet so no run, and pleased to report birdie from couple of yards passed the flag. Ball was plugged in its pitch mark on the green.
It was cold Mac, otherwise would have hit 5!

180yd+ carry into a chilly Feb headwind however light is still a fair old smack with a 4iron Puligny, where were you, RO?

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by puligny on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 2:40 pm

Hi JAS. Yes RO - 14th if you remember it. Long par 4 - drive over brow of hill so you can't see it land. Flag front left over deep bunker. Sensible shot would have been centre of green avoiding bunker, but following a pal and couldn't refuse the challenge!!!! Good hit and worked perfectly.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by McLaren on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 3:49 pm

You beast. I guess I am just short with my long irons. Sad
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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by super_realist on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 4:05 pm

Sounds like it Mac, Maybe get your lofts checked out.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by puligny on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 4:14 pm

I start getting my pension later this year so will try again after that!

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 6:08 pm

puligny wrote:I start getting my pension later this year so will try again after that!

Lol there you go Mac, have some salt to rub into the wound ;-)

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 7:01 pm

puligny wrote:Hi JAS. Yes RO - 14th if you remember it. Long par 4 - drive over brow of hill so you can't see it land. Flag front left over deep bunker. Sensible shot would have been centre of green avoiding bunker, but following a pal and couldn't refuse the challenge!!!! Good hit and worked perfectly.
Sandwiched between the par 3 with the pond right and the shortish par 5 with the ditch running diagonally across. Can't remember what I did on that hole exactly but I know I was happy to be down the right ride. The left was a bit more arboretum like??

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by puligny on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 7:14 pm

That's right - pond is more swamp, and par 5 now altered so there is a lot more water in front of the green.
14th has a copse which juts out into the fairway left, but in reality it's not a bad aim point as you have to be monster long for it interfere with second shot - especially this time of year!! You are correct though, down the right side is best, as you can get a bit of a kick off a small bank on right side of fairway, and it avoids having to launch one over the left side bunker - but when you do it can be very satisfying!!

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 7:36 pm

Sometimes I even impress myself by what I remember. I'll forever remember that 6 iron out the fairway bunker and over the water at the last, capped a memorable day and a decent round.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by puligny on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 7:42 pm

Hey, even I can remember that!

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by JAS on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 8:41 pm

How long ago actually was it Puligny? I also remember we saw Georgia Hall on a neighbouring hole and she was still an amateur at the time.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

Post by puligny on Mon 06 Feb 2017, 10:48 pm

Yes she upped sticks and moved over to Parkstone for a variety of reasons as I understand it. Remember watching some of her practice routines which made me realise just what they have to do get on.

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Re: How far do average golfers really hit it?

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