Tuesday, October 20

Alberstadt: 'Is Driver Off the Deck a Good Idea?'

IN A PLAYOFF AT THE FRYS.COM OPEN, Kevin Na faced a long second shot at the par-5 18th. His club choice was driver. Na explained that he hits driver off the deck all the time, including five or six of them during the Frys.com Open.

But the last one didn't come off.

Wrote Ben Alberstadt at golfwrx.com, "[T]he results of Na's attempt: a lovely, low, chunked, hooking effort that ended up well short, in the rough, totally out of position."

Na lost the playoff. Playing in his first PGA Tour event, Argentine Emiliano Grillo won after missing a 3-foot clinching birdie on the first playoff hole. Huge sigh of relief.

Alberstadt asked: "Is driver off the deck ever really a good idea, especially in a high-pressure situation?"

Na apparently had no regrets:
"The driver is the only club that's going to get me far enough right, past the front, where I can have an aim to win...I hit it all the time. I was very confident. Only thing is it was dark. It's a lot tougher. The ball was above any feet. Maybe I should have hit 3-wood. If I were to go to do it over again I probably would still hit driver...I don't know. Just a little unlucky there in the second shot. Driver is the right club. It was a little dark. Probably caught it 16th or 18th of an inch heavy and the club just turned over."
How about for amateurs? Do you (or have you) hit driver off the deck?

I used to before driver clubheads were the size of tortoises. Whether it was a persimmon driver or a small- or medium-headed metal driver, I'd go at it from the fairway on occasion. I'd need a good lie, of course, and certain other circumstances. Maybe I was hitting into the wind and wanted to keep the ball down. Maybe I had a bailout (like to the right) if it didn't work out. I'd shorten up my swing a bit, open my stance a bit, and aim left and play for a fade. I'd figure the ball wouldn't be airborne long so it could run harmlessly on the ground if I kept it somewhat on line.

These days driver off the deck doesn't work as well. (At least not for me.) The driver clubhead makes the golf ball look like an aspirin when you stand at address. That doesn't inspire confidence. I'd stay away from that shot unless the golf ball was sitting up and I was using my old Adams driver, which doesn't have a monstrous head.

Obviously, I'm not Kevin Na.

"Maybe I should have hit 3-wood," Na added, "but if I were to go do it all over again, I probably would still hit driver."


(H/T Bernard Daily)

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