10 Best Tips

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Sometimes the right choice is the bigger one. Fairway woods have indeed come a long way. I’d actually say that my current fairway is both bigger and longer than my driver was 20 to 30 years ago. And yet, despite the advances in fairway woods, drivers have exploded in size, making them not only bigger, but also enormously longer and more forgiving.

So, why not use one as often as you can? If you’re faced with a choice between driver and fairway wood on a tight hole, consider the bigger, more forgiving alternative. You could do more with it, such as choking down on the grip, teeing the ball lower or even making a three-quarter swing to mimic a fairway wood but still take advantage of the bigger, more forgiving head.

Speaking of which, as you can see, I use a 460cc driver so I can maximize my distance and get as much forgiveness across the clubface as possible.

Are Pros Better Off Hitting THE Driver, Too?
To answer that question, let’s take Robert Garrigus for example. As of the end of August this year, Garrigus was leading the PGA Tour in driving distance with an average bomb of 312 yards. In addition to being long, Garrigus was ranked 7th in greens in regulation (GIR), hitting approximately 70 percent of all greens. Coincidence? We think not. Longer drives generally mean shorter and easier approach shots­—even if they’re hit from the rough. (The USGA also realized this and has put restrictions on grooves to counteract the lessening effects of missing the fairway. We’ll see how that changes things in ’10.)

But what about you? Well, like A.J. said, if you’re just as accurate with your driver as you are with your fairway wood, then hit the driver! It’s longer and more forgiving off the tee than any fairway wood.
—Thomas Howell Jr., GOLFTEC

The best players in the world use the best golf balls for their game. Why is it then that most amateurs do the complete opposite? Tour professionals require their golf balls to do certain things that the rest of us can do without. Do you want more sidespin? Are you hoping to hit your drives lower? How about your wedges shorter? Tour pros sometimes put those kinds of demands on their golf balls, which is contrary to what amateurs generally need.

Instead, amateurs (mid- to high-handicap ones) should consider golf balls built for distance and minimizing spin, two factors that will help hit straighter and longer shots. And by the way, distance balls no longer feel like rocks. Some are extra soft for added feel and performance.


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