During his first round-match with Shane Lowry, Sergio Garcia tried the hardest shot in golf—driver off the deck—and pulled it off successfully, the ball curving nicely back to center and rolling up to within feet of the green on the par-5 16th hole from 269 yards. Slow-motion replays of the shot, however, reveal that somehow Garcia pulled off the shot with his clubface almost completely shut, the ball hitting on the heel of his 9.5-degree TaylorMade M2 2017 and with a divot to boot, causing Nick Faldo to wonder how he pulled it off.
The answer is swing speed, quality of contact and spin rate. While the “cool factor” of a driver struck from a tightly mown fairway is undeniably high, the odds of pulling the shot off successfully -- especially with today's large-headed drivers -- are rather long for everyone except those who get courtesy cars on a weekly basis.
That means most everyday players should steer clear. One of the reasons is driver off the deck imparts more spin. That's not such a problem for tour players who hit it fairly straight, but for average golfers who impart more sidespin, it could lead to shots going even more off line. It's also important to remember that for most players, hitting driver off the turf delofts the launch angle between 3 to 7 degrees (and most everyday players come into the ball with a negative angle of attack to begin with). Couple that with today's lower-spinning golf balls and the odds of keeping the ball airborne long enough to get the distance benefit are small for all but the fastest of swingers.
In other words, while Garcia’s shot was tour-pro cool, for the rest of us there's nothing cool about hitting driver off the deck if you're hitting grounders.