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Different distance from tee vs fairway

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
The latest Golf Digest (Oct 2007, p 206) has a line about tour pros hitting a 6 iron an average of 175 off the fairway and 186 off the tee. That got me optimistic for a second (I hit my 6 170 yards), but I believe I hit the same distance from the tee and from the fairway with all my irons. What's up with this? Am I missing something?
post #2 of 18
maybe a 5 iron is too much from the tee, as they're going for a par 3, so they pump out a big 6, while from the fairway it's easier to take a little off when going for the green so they hit an easy 6 a little higher. do you hit every shot full out? the pros don't; especially from the fairway, so it would be pretty easy for them to hit it another 1/2 club...
post #3 of 18
Additionally if the ball is up on a tee you can alter your angle of approach into the ball easier than off the turf, so if those guys on TV want to they can effectively "de-loft" that 6 iron a degree or two and pick up those extra few yards.

Personally, my 6 iron when struck crispy seems to me to fly the same distance whether I'm hitting off the peg or off the turf
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
The article referred to average distance. I can hit my 6 from 150 to 200 yards. 170 yards is what I assume my ball will travel when I make an 80 percent swing on a flat lie with no wind and normal temps. But in my game, I make no plan adjustments whether I'm hitting my 6 from a tee or from the fairway. If the pros are getting more distance off a tee, I want to know why to see if this is something I can add to my game.

It was my understanding that a tee aided consistency not distance (for irons). It's one thing if the lower distance for fairway hits factors in more distance lost to mishits. But the way I play, I first plan on hitting the shot correctly, then factor mishit distance in as a risk factor. Want I want to know is if the pros plan on correct hits being shorter off the fairway vs the tee and if so, why.
post #5 of 18
I once watched Donny Hammond hit balls at a charity event.
It was one of those par 3 holes where you chip in 5 dollars and he would hit your shot for you (so he could hit 4 per team if everyone chipped in the cash).

It was really backed up and we got to watch him hit at least 9 or 10 shots from the same tee, same weather, same hole---different clubs and different shots all. Some high floaters that landed softly, some boring risers that hit past the pin and came back and some almost chip and run style. It was a real education in what a pro can do with a golf club!
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j View Post
I once watched Donny Hammond hit balls at a charity event.
It was one of those par 3 holes where you chip in 5 dollars and he would hit your shot for you (so he could hit 4 per team if everyone chipped in the cash).

It was really backed up and we got to watch him hit at least 9 or 10 shots from the same tee, same weather, same hole---different clubs and different shots all. Some high floaters that landed softly, some boring risers that hit past the pin and came back and some almost chip and run style. It was a real education in what a pro can do with a golf club!
The commercials... "These guys are good" is accurate.
post #7 of 18
Yep - those guys are really good.

The main reason for getting extra yards off a tee is that it's a cleaner hit. Most pros tee the ball higher than you think they would when they tee off with an iron. They still hit down on it though. A pro divot on a par 3 starts about an inch in front of the tee.

If you want a real eduacation about ball striking, go to the range at a tour event and listen to how their irons sound. It's thup, thup, thup. It almost sounds fat at first until tou see the ball flight. They hit it so pure, there's hardly any sound other than taking the divot.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
The commercials... "These guys are good" is accurate.
Earlier this season Jesper Parnivik was at our course during a celebrity charity event and would hit an additional tee shot on a Par 3 for a $100 donation by the team to the lead charity. After awhile for an additional $200 he was bouncing the ball off of the banks of a bunker, hitting high hooks around trees and still dropping it within 10 feet. Awesome.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Aw c'mon Mike. It's a par 3 for crying out loud. I do that all the time. ....
Except for that within 10 feet part.

I'm not buying the cleaner hit theory. These make spotless clean hits from the fairway. I'm thinking that maybe a fairway hit pinches the ball against the grass and gets more backspin. More backspin would result in a higher shot and this less distance.
post #10 of 18
Seems reasonable to me. Off a tee I'll take a 4-iron for 200yds in windless conditions; off a fairway that's a 3-iron or rescue wood, and I need to hit it well.

I think it's a combination of psychological and physical - in Jack Nicklaus's words, when asked why he teed the ball up high: "After years of research, I've found that the club travels better through air than dirt."
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Aw c'mon Mike. It's a par 3 for crying out loud. I do that all the time. ....
Except for that within 10 feet part.

I'm not buying the cleaner hit theory. These make spotless clean hits from the fairway. I'm thinking that maybe a fairway hit pinches the ball against the grass and gets more backspin. More backspin would result in a higher shot and this less distance.

But do you wear a porkpie hat and stove pipe pants?
post #12 of 18
The laws of physics dictate three elements contribute to the distance you hit the ball:

1. Clubhead speed-faster is better
2. Centerdness of hit-impact in the center of the club not toward the toe or heel (have you ever noticed a pros or highly proficient amateurs clubs-you can see where they repeatedly impact the ball)
3. Angle of attack-how steeply you come into the ball-the steeper the more backspin you impart, tending to launch the ball higher reducing distance
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
So Mike,

Do you plan on an 8 yard difference for all of your irons between tee and fairway? Do you have a steeper swing for fairway shots than tee shots?
One would think that centeredness would be the same for pros.


BTW - I have no idea what a porkpie hat or stove pipe pants look like.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
So Mike,

Do you plan on an 8 yard difference for all of your irons between tee and fairway?
My difference is 10 yards-it will vary for everbody.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Do you have a steeper swing for fairway shots than tee shots?
By definition as your clubs get longer, heading down through the irons and into the fairway metals and driver, your swing is going to get flatter with each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
One would think that centeredness would be the same for pros.
They are generally-the point is that all three factors I mentioned have to work in concert to produce the maximum distance for any particular golfer. Pound thousands of golf balls day after day and you generally are going to refine the precision with which you hit the sweet spot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
BTW - I have no idea what a porkpie hat or stove pipe pants look like.
A jesting remark-look at a picture of Jesper sometime-they are his trademark clothing of late. BTW he is one hell of a nice guy. Too bad he missed the cut at the Turning Stone this week. Currently 139 on the money list he and a lot of other guys are struggling to reach the magic top 125 or be looking at a return to Q school.
post #15 of 18
It's almost all to do with spin for the pros - their contact is pretty crisp with both shots. The AoA on a teed up ball is less descending, and so the spin is slightly less. At pro swingspeeds this generally leads to more carry with clubs down to about the 6i-7i. They're still spinning the ball like crazy compared with us humans of course. The difference in distance is sometimes less for amateurs for two reasons - most amateurs don't have the swingspeed to get 140 mph ballspeed with ther 6i, and most amateurs don't really hit with a descending blow anyway.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
By definition as your clubs get longer, heading down through the irons and into the fairway metals and driver, your swing is going to get flatter with each.
I meant with the same club. It looks like awalkspoiled is confirming my suspicion. That's what I am not doing.
post #17 of 18
One point not mentioned is that your 6 iron probably does not have the same loft as a pros 6 iron. The retail industry has notoriously sold clubs with stronger (lower) lofts...probably to provide us with the illusion that we can hit our 6 iron (just like Tiger does). So, if your 6I has less loft you should be hitting it the same distance...but the pros loft is more like your 7 iron...

Oh yeah, their club head speed is much faster, they repeatedly hit the sweet spot on their irons smaller than a dime, and they repeat a perfect angle of attack for consistency and maximizing distance per club.

If you think your 2 iron is hard to hit, try hitting theirs.

The best site for this kind of talk is www.bombsquadgolf.com...they are the epic bears for golf...junkies.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
weogio,

(Hmm - do you work for Ogio?)

Thanks, but that's not the issue here for this question. This question is about hitting different distances by the same person with the same club. For the record, in my mind, we have an answer that I'm happy with: A tee shot has a slightly flatter swing and a fairway shot with a slightly steeper swing has a higher ball flight. What I don't have is an answer for why I have not done this in my golf game. I am successfully using the same distance for my irons whether I'm hitting from tee or fairway. My guess is that I must be taking something off my tee shots.

For the record, when I retired my Cobra irons for a custom set (with "standard lofts"), the clubmaker made me acknowledge (before he even made the new clubs) that the new clubs were going to be a full club shorter than the Cobras. That lasted all of 30 minutes at the range before I had a new swing that had the new clubs as long as I was hitting the Cobras. I'm getting close to Senior tour distance. My stock 9 iron swing is 135 yards and my clean drive is about 270 (counting misses and uphill shots, my average is probably around 250). I've been experimenting with a 150 yard 9 iron swing and a 300 plus drive. I'm not ready to take those swings to the golf course, but I have started accidentally hitting a club long now and then. It's pretty exciting when your 150 yard 9 iron goes higher than your 135 yard 9 iron.
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