When you should hit driver off the tee, according to a golf strategy expert

January 8, 2020

Scott Fawcett is one of the most forward-thinking people in golf today. His DECADE course management method uses advanced metrics and mathematics, and has been used by golfers from the PGA Tour down to the amateur ranks.

A centerpoint of Fawcett’s strategy, is,being aggressive off the tee and picking conservative targets into greens. A guest speaker at the recent GOLF Top 100 Summit, and taking some time to speak on GOLF Science Lab’s recent podcast, he laid out a simple mindset that can help golfers with their club decision off the tee:

If you drive the ball shorter than 270 yards…

If you’re like most golfers and don’t hit the ball longer 270 yards, that’s good news in one way: You can almost always hit driver without a second thought, says Fawcett. The only time you should dial it back is when there’s a forced carry of some sort that you either can’t carry, or you might accidentally roll into.

“If you hit it under 270, you should probably hit driver almost everywhere that a hazard doesn’t cross.”

If you drive the ball longer than 270 yards…

If you hit the ball longer than 270 yards, things get slightly more complicated. But not much. You should still be hitting driver a large majority of the time. There’s one major instance when you might not: When penalty hazards are within 65 yards of each other on either side, and the fairway narrows even between it.

“Once you start hitting it over 260, 270, if there’s not 65 yards between penalty hazards, you’ll have to think a little bit. And then if there are, and the fairway doesn’t pinch to less than 40 yards between bunker and trees, I probably don’t need to see anything more about the hole. It’s probably going to be driver 98% of the time.”

Interesting stuff. You can watch the full clip below: