Distance or Accuracy

It’s one of the oldest debates in golf. Is it better to be long, or accurate.

I’ve always said accuracy was the key. If you can keep it in the fairway, you give yourself the best chance of scoring well on a hole.

But these statistics from the PGA Tour say otherwise. At the Western Open, the guys with the most accurate games didn’t seem to do as well as the long ball hitters.

I can think of a couple of reasons for these statistics:

First, the long drivers also possess remarkable recovery skills. Being a few feet in the rough, or even under the trees is no real obstacle.

Second, being twenty yards longer off the tee means that you are hitting your shorter irons on the approach. The shorter irons will presumably get you closer to the hole for your putts.

I think about my own game here. I don’t hit it long, so my second shot on par 4s often is a long iron or a wood. That’s too much pressure on my long game and I often miss the green. Another twenty yards off the tee, and I would be hitting a seven or eight iron to the green, which would rapidly decrease my scores.

But I’m not going to gain twenty yards. So I’d better practice my short game. Wedge it close. One putt. Par.

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