What Club Would You Use?

I was watching Chella Choi hit a hole in one on the 12th hole at US Women’s Open during the third round. It was a shot over water and she was using an orange ball that tracked into the hole after landing at the front of the green. It was a great shot and the third of the tournament. The question I have is what club did Choi use?

Here is the shot in question:

The par 3, 12th hole, is rated at 207 yards. This distance is equivalent to the 11th hole (from the tips) at my home course of Osprey Links where I shot a hole in one back in 2012. Here is what my shot looked like:

11th hole at Osprey Links Golf Course.

Both shots had something similar, we both used hybrids. From the looks of the video, I originally thought that Choi likely used a 5 wood. The head was bigger than a hybrid, but I cannot imagine her hitting a 3 wood or driver. The announcers did not mention the club or exact distance and I think that was a huge oversight on their part. However, I made my analysis before I read that the USGA described this great shot as follows:

Using a hybrid, Chella Choi, of the Republic of Korea, aced the 180-yard, par-3 12th hole at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, during Round 3 of the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open.

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/championships/2020/u-s–women-s-open.html#!latest

From 180 yards, the white tees at Osprey links, I would use a 5 iron on most days. If the wind was blowing in our face, I would drop down to a choked down 4 hybrid. I would fly the ball to the green and let it roll to the pin.

For my hole in one shot, the distance was 208 yards and I used a 3 hybrid. The details are in a previous article found here. I do remember landing just on and my ball rolling towards the pin. I never saw my ball drop, but I have witnesses that it happened.

Interestingly, I still use the same club from that distance. The only minor change would be if the ground was dry and hard. Then I could club down to a 4 hybrid because the ball’s reaction to landing on the ground would be more pronounced.

How would you play both shots? What club would you use?

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

4 thoughts on “What Club Would You Use?

  1. Hi Jim,

    Wow, what a beautiful hole. I remember it well, and I wish I could play it again, knowing what I know now about golf. Back then, I was learning the game, and my goal was not to hit the ball into the hazard or off the rocks. The focus was on what could go wrong versus executing a shot. Needless to say, I wasn’t successful.

    Today, I focus on executing shots that I have a high probability of getting right. Most likely, I would use my 4 iron, and here is my thought process as I assess the shot. What is the carry to the front and back of the green? Then what club can I consistently hit to those distances? Next, is the ball carrying or not based on the conditions. Finally, are the green playing firm or soft? At that point, I select a club, concentrate on executing a good swing, and then live with the results because I put myself in the best position to be successful.

    Best regards,
    Craig

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    • Craig!

      My friend, you have learned the secrets of consistent great golf! I am impressed that you have adopted a process that provides the best opportunity for success on the links. I will say that I am not surprise. You always demonstrated the ability to hit the ball very well, now you have a system that builds on your strengths. Someday, we will tee it up together….someday!

      Cheers Jim

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  2. There are variables we don’t know so it’s hard to answer for both. On her shot, we know the course is a little wet still after yesterday’s wash out and we can see the flag hanging limp in the video as well as the fact that it’s a level shot pretty much and we saw on the screen it was 180 yards. So for that, I can answer it would be the 5 or maybe 6 iron. Most likely the 5 to land it as close to the hole as possible. I don’t get much run out with those clubs.

    For your shot though, we don’t know the course elevation which makes it harder. Assuming the same elevation, wind, and general playing conditions, I’d probably hit my 3 iron. It looks a little downhill so maybe the 4 iron or the new shorty 3 hybrid would be the right choice but it’s hard to say for sure.

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    • Kevin,

      You made some good assumptions. The hole is essentially flat and plays wet most of the time. It is one of the lowest areas on the back nine. If we play the ball to high, the wind comes into play. That is generally not an issue for me as I hit a low ball with longer clubs. Overall, I think you are spot on.

      Cheers Jim

      Like

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