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Golf Australia Express : Issue 19
By Damian Shutie VIEW THE WE’VE ALL heard the adage “drive for show, putt for dough”. It’s one of golf’s most overused clichés. Of course, unless you’re actually playing for money it’s that big bomb you launched off the tee that really gets tongues wagging at the 19th hole, not the three-foot birdie putt you nailed on 7. Why is it that as golfers—despite knowing 70 per cent of our shots happen within 110 metres of the hole—that we are so obsessed with the big dog? Short par-4? Why not go for the green and have a crack at an eagle instead of hitting 5-iron/wedge and ensuring a genuine birdie? The answer is simple. Driving long is fun. And driving long and straight is damn fun. Too bad for many of us— myself included—the combination of length and accuracy doesn’t occur all that often. At least not at the same time. It can be the difference between having a mid- to high-handicap or a mid- to low-handicap. Hitting three of the tee really does hurt the score— just ask Kevin Na of 16-shot fame. But unfortunately for us tempestuous players out there the stats really do support the notion we should be more selective when to use the driver— that is if we want to better our games. The longest drive of the year, Dustin Johnson’s 463- yard (or 423-metre) bomb at TPC Boston’s par-5 7th during the Deutsche Bank Championship, ended not in an eagle or even birdie, but a par. And of all the winners on the PGA Tour this year, only Bubba Watson led in driving distance at the event won. It suggests driving length alone will not translate into less shots. Of course, deep down we all know that. World No.1 Luke Donald— who led the PGA Tour in ‘strokes gained putting’ but finished 147th in driving distance and 57th in accuracy—goes to prove that the annoying old adage is in fact true. In the end it all comes down to why we play the game. If it’s for the incidental moments of greatness and excitement that get your heart pumping, keep reaching for the big dog. But if it’s all about shooting low, be more selective off the tee and focus on improving your short game. As far as I’m concerned, it’s more fun being Hollywood than arthouse. Much more fun. Now where’s my driver? It’s showtime. OTG TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS: firstname.lastname@example.org IT’S SHOWTIME! Too often the driver is demonised as a weapon for the greedy golfer. But it all depends on why you play the game, writes Damian Shutie. COMP THE THERE’S NOTHING LIKE HAVING A WIN 1st Prize: iPad 2 (16GB) RRP $729 WINNER: J. HARTWELL, VIC 2nd Prize: 12 Dozen Dixon Golf Earth Balls RRP $599 WINNER: M. JACOBS, VIC 3rd Prize: Laser Link Red Hot Rangefinder RRP: $449 WINNER: S.MACKIE, QLD CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS OF OUR iPAD 2 COMPETITION!