Driver and Wedge is All We Need to Score Low

After watching Dustin Johnson, I have decided to leave most of my clubs in the trunk of my car next time I hit the links. After watching him cruise to a win at the RBC Canadian Open on the weekend, I realized I was carrying too much stuff when I play. If Dustin Johnson can hit a driver / wedge on the 18th hole par 5, then I should be able too as well. Golf is simple if all we have to hit are those two clubs!

Of course I am over-simplifying the situation. I cannot bust drives 300+ yards, nor can I hit a wedge 150 yards, so my new strategy will not work for my game. However, watching Johnson tear up Glen Abbey, he accentuated the requirement of have a great game off the tee and a great short game. I have said this before and do try to build a strong game in these areas, yet I still struggle from time to time.

There is more to Johnson’s long game than just hitting it a country mile. He is extremely accurate. He hits the fairway most of the time and this alone is his greatest strength. He is playing his second shot (usually his approach shot) from the short grass. The value of consistently have a great lie to the green enables Johnson the opportunity to shot low.

Johnson’s wedge play was spectacular as well. He commanded his distance better than any other player last weekend. His accuracy was a bit off sometimes (by a few yards) but his distance control was stellar. Why was his control so dominant? He never over-swung his wedges. His tempo never change. When he wanted to hit different distances, he chose different wedges. What a novel concept I say! This lesson is not lost on me; I have tried to do the same thing for years and with better than average success. Not over-swinging our wedges is important to a consistent and accurate short game.

Dustin Johnson taught me a few things last weekend. Accuracy off the tee and consistent wedge play are critical to low golf scores. I realize as an amateur it is difficult to attain his level of mastery, but it is a goal I can strive to achieve. When it is time to practice again I will focus on these two areas for sure.

How about you?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

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6 thoughts on “Driver and Wedge is All We Need to Score Low

  1. Jim, would you rather have driver pitching wedge in from the rough or driver six-iron from the fairway? In almost every grass condition other than US Open rough, I’d take the pitching wedge. Trouble is, when we start thinking that way, we over-emphasize length off the tee and start trying to hit it too hard. I’ve become enamored with length on more than on occasion, as I’m sure you have. It doesn’t fit my regular game and I need to protect against that thought pattern.

    Hope you’ll be out there soon to test your theory!

    Brian

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    • Brian

      Your point is well taken, but I would rather hit from the fairway 95% of the time. Even if it is a longer shot. I have been lured into to the distance game for sure. It actually cost me a season of golf of improvement because I chased distance. Not anymore, I take what ever distance I can now and improve my scores with my short game.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting read, and for the most part i agree. I have always believed that being accurate with the driver is so important, it dictates the outcome of each hole. As for the wedges, i also agree that a strong wedge game is essential for a good round, i have struggled with wedges in the past and my rounds have suffered because of it. Great post Jim!

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  3. I read an article this week that said most of us don’t spend enough time practicing with our wedges. It’s hard to argue that. Most of us don’t spend enough time practicing at all. If there is one thing though that I have found helps me be more accurate, it’s clubbing up. At 100 yards, I ‘can’ reach with a sand wedge by over swinging just a bit. I can reach with my gap wedge even easier. But I am more consistently close to the pin if I hit an even shorter swing still with my pitching wedge. In my past, I would have hit that sand wedge. Changing that part of my decision making process is what I credit most with breaking the 80 barrier consistently.

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