Five Strategies For Lower Scores

Change your game without changing your swing

5. Know When To Leave The Driver In The Bag, Baby

The key to good driving isn't producing long hits. Instead, good drivers of the golf ball always put themselves into position for the next shot. To accomplish this seemingly simple task, it's important to realize you don't always have to hit a driver. When selecting the appropriate club to hit off the tee, it's best to start by deciding how long a second shot you want to leave yourself. For example, if you're playing a short par-4, say, 350 yards, use the distance of an average-length shot (250 yards) with your driver to calculate your yardage into the green. In this example, you'll only have approximately 100 yards left to the green, provided you hit the fairway. Realistically, you might be better off using your 3-wood and hitting the ball 230 yards, which would leave only 120 yards to the green. Although the distance for the second shot is slightly longer, a fairway wood is generally easier to control than a driver, which makes finding the fairway more likely.

Remember that the most important thing is getting the ball in play, not hitting it as far as possible. Lean toward choosing the club you hit most accurately, and your results will generally be better.

Another situation where you can leave the driver in the bag is when you're faced with a long par-5 that you know you won't be able to reach in two shots, even with your best drive and fairway wood into the green. You have a better chance at par, or even birdie, if you keep your tee shot in play with a fairway wood or long iron. This way, you have a chance to lay up to a comfortable distance for your third shot without having to hit any unnecessarily risky shots.


Lana Ortega is a Class-A LPGA member and director of instruction at the McGetrick Golf Academy ( in Denver, Colo.

8 thoughts on “Five Strategies For Lower Scores

  1. Tip 5 I constantly remind myself by saying, “No sexy golf” —- in other words, do what is logical, not what seems sexy and daring. 350 yard par 4: 6 iron (170) 6 iron (170) — now you’re on the fringe safely in two. Chip or putt close for par and you never touched a wood. No Sexy Golf…. Safe and easy wins the low round

  2. Yeah great article, it reminds me that I have to take my medicine and play some sensible golf. I’ve been guilty of taking risky shots and ending up with double or triple bogeys as a result. If you want to break 80 then you need to be more accurate with how you manage your shots, e.g par 5 500 meters tee shot 200m then hit two 4 iron then pitching wedge. Something like that!

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  3. Another tip is not to play for the gallery, i.e., it is you and your game. Must try to play your own game and not to get a clap or comment like “wow good ball” “wow what a long shot” from the rest of the flight members playing with you.
    Every time you hit the ball thinking about such comments you tend to loose your rhythm or stiffen your body or loose your thoughts of everything you did in your pre-shot routine.

  4. That’s true that I don’t want to get so focused on my swing, that I am not really into the game. Next time I play a round, I’ll have to keep that in mind and work on my swing later. It would probably be a good idea to pay more attention to my tempo and rhythm as well. I want to get as good as possible while having fun.

  5. Awesome tips, thanks for sharing. I am a golf junkie. I started playing seriously around the age of 20 and have not been able to get enough since. I am always looking for ways to shave a few strokes off my game. I also love how technology has become such an integral part of the game. I love using new gadgets to my advantage, and have been writing about the latest golf watches at – I enjoy writing about golf so I figured hey why not! Well thanks again for sharing these great tips! All the best!

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