I’ve always been a proponent of having one or more “go to” shots – those you have full confidence you can pull off whenever you need it.
To me, the first “go to” shot you need is one that is almost certain to put you in the fairway off the tee. Not necessarily long, of course, but one that will find the fairway a very high percentage of the time. For me, it’s the “bunt” driver. When I just have to hit a shot in the fairway, I am pretty darn confident that I can grip my driver down by about 2-3” and put what Hogan called an “arm swing” on it. Very controlled pace and power, with the whole idea of making solid contact and producing a reliable trajectory and straight path. From my normal drives of 260-275 or so, this one gives me about 225-240 – plenty long for most short par fours where accuracy is key.
You know I’m a firm believer that shorter and in the fairway beats long and crooked every time. That might mean a 3-wood off the tee, but I see too many golfers club down and then amp up their swing because of it, and still hit it crooked. I strongly recommend that you spend some time on the range learning that ‘go to’ bunt driver or other shot that you can rely on when things are demanding, or your full swing gets a little cantankerous.
Another ‘go to’ shot should be one that can be relied upon to get you reasonably close to the hole from a range of 75-100 yards. That means that one swing you know you can always rely on when you need to save a hole from disaster or when you have that shorter birdie hole.
If you are confident in a range that you can get up and down a reasonable percentage of the time, and almost never take more than three shots, it gives you an “out” when you put a drive in the trees. If you have confidence in getting up and down from 2-3 different distances inside 100 yards, you can play to those distances and remove the double-bogies from the card.
So, I’d like to toss this one to all you readers for more ideas for “go to” shots. What are yours?