Better Golf Through Better Simulation

Perusing the shops in downtown St. Augustine, FL

Regular readers know that I’m a big fan of simulation during practice.  Exercises using this technique have been a great stroke saver because it preps your mind for real course action, gets you out of mechanical thinking mode, focuses you on shot making, and is an exceptional time saver.  Either full round simulation or short game simulation is beneficial. 

This morning, I had two hours to practice and devoted most of my time to a simulated 18-hole round at my home course of Blue Mash.  The whole exercise took about an hour and that included time warming up with about 20 balls.  The best simulations are when you are focusing intently on each shot and do not rush.  Today, I took 30-60 seconds between swings, wiped down the club head and grip after every shot, took an occasional sip of water, and chatted up my neighbor a little.  We were hitting from the absolute front tee on our large grass range and weren’t allowed to use drivers since the last target flag was only 230 yards out.  I resorted to using 3WD on all the tee shots where I’d normally use driver and may have stumbled upon something.

Have you ever thought how much better you’d score if you left your driver in the bag most of the time?  I found this out after only missing one tee shot with the 3WD, and not badly enough so that the ball went into trouble.  Upon reflection, I normally hit driver on 11 of our 18 holes but only need to on five.  You can certainly leave driver in the bag on the par-5s unless you think you can reach the green in two.  I’m not long enough to hit any of our par-5s in two and driver only serves to occasionally get you in trouble.  Just put a 3WD in play and hit one more club on the layup shot and you alleviate a lot of risk.  Anyway, I hit all these 3WDs and shot a solid simulated 2-over round with 13 GIR.  Very encouraging.   

Tomorrow, I’m playing the course for real and am thinking of only hitting driver on the five necessary holes.  This is very important because when you keep the ball in play, your mind remains engaged at a much higher level than when you fight wildness.  The last two times I employed this 3WD strategy in competition, I met with very successful outcomes.  I think I’ll give it a try.

Tee shot on #17 at TPC Sawgrass. Pretty tight!

On a side note, in my recent jaunt to St. Augustine, FL and TPC Sawgrass, I sampled some Jambalaya at Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille in downtown St. Augustine.  It has vaulted up our Jambalaya rankings into the #2 position!  (Rankings are in the left margin of the All About Golf home page).  Harry’s is a New Orleans Cajun style seafood restaurant and is excellent.  If you’re ever in St. Augustine, stop by for a heaping plate of this goodness!

Play well.

8 thoughts on “Better Golf Through Better Simulation”

  1. Brian – Harry’s in St Augustine is very good. We like it there. Good choice. As for the 3wood discussion- I hit 3wood off the tee quite often. I usually determine based on yardage. If it’s over 415 then driver. 415 – 375 3wood and less than that 3 or 4 iron. I love my 3 wood it’s my safe play or go to club.

    1. Linley, the difference lies with the 3wd when I miss. Almost never gets me on trouble. I love it in hot dry conditions when others are busting driver and can’t control the roll out. What kind of 3wd are you playing?


  2. Brian,

    Sounds like you have a great plan to lower you golf scores. Not hitting driver on par 5s is something that I employ from time to time and it does work as long as your second shot is solid. Having said that, keeping the ball in play off the tee is king for sure. Let us know how you made out with your fairway percentage and did that equate to a higher GIR?

    Cheers Jim

  3. Jim, I played only nine holes yesterday before getting rained out. My first three are long par-4s and I hit driver on each, and nailed them all right down the middle. I missed the green on each of these 😦 On the three holes I hit 3WD, I missed the fairway right on two of them but made regulation pars on all three. I think the key is to keep it in play off the tee on the par-5s. A wayward tee shot there can lead to the big number.

    I think the sample size is a bit small to make conclusions but I have confidence in the approach.



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