Driving the green…something that pops into every golfer’s mind while standing on the tee box on any short par 4.
I am not long off the tee, not long at all 🙁 A 250 meter drive is considered a big drive for me – my average drives are around the 220 meter mark so driving the green on a short par 4 is very unlikely for me. In fact, the best way for me to play short par 4 holes would be to take a mid-iron off the tee and then a wedge on to the green – that will almost always guarantee par for me with a good chance for birdie when my wedges are on song. That would be the sensible thing to do…but when has sense ever prevailed on the golf course?
But, on some (very) rare occasions, chucking the sensible golf to the kerb, risking a guaranteed par for something spectacular (and inevitably ending up with a spectacularly high number on the hole) and going big does pay off – yesterday was one of those super rare occasions!
The golf group and I were playing the Princes course at the Richmond Park Golf Club and I was having one of those rounds where 90% of my shots were coming off – I was properly enjoying it until we came to the 15th hole – this is when it “got real”. The 15th is a 260 meter stroke 12 par 4 with a tight fairway, go right and you’ll be lucky to find your ball in the thick rough, go left and you’re in the trees (or out of bounds). Bunkers line the right of the fairway from about the 180 meter mark all the way up to the green (annoyingly not shown on overviews of the hole). Because of the length, it’s a pretty easy par 4 if you hit a controlled iron off the tee and hit the fairway. You’re then left with a short approach to a fairly flat green – anything else will leave you in trouble. This hole makes a very strong case for “sensible golf” and this was the exact topic of discussion as my golfing partners and I made our way up to the tee with me strongly advocating playing the hole conservatively – even concocting a random statistic that we’ll only ever pull off the spectacular shot and drive the green “1.24%” of the time.
As we all nodded our agreement that the conservative approach made sense and was the right thing do, in true idiot golfer fashion, we still took our Drivers out of the bag. Go big or go home right? I was first up and with zero expectation, I hammered the ball the ball with my Taylormade 10.5 Jetspeed Driver…the result? The perfect strike! A nice smooth swing, perfect follow through with all the weight transferred to my left giving the drive some of the hot stuff! The ball sailed through the hair, cut through to the slight breeze coming into us, pitched about 10 meters short of the green, got a very good bounce and rolled to about 7 feet of the hole – it was the first time in a very long time I had driven a par 4 green and I got forgotten the absolutely amazing feeling that all golfers know – the feeling that keeps you addicted to the game. I had just had one of those rare moments in Golf where you say f**k it to the conservative approach and risk the guaranteed par for chance at Eagle! Dare to dream, let the big dog eat!!!