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...I thought hard about where I tend to lose strokes, then I went out Thursday and played a round with a pad of paper and a pen.

Good for you.

....the course I played today had very difficult and fast greens. I 3-putted 8 holes, which is unusual for me. That's an additional 8 strokes I should be able to shave off.

You will usually find the better or more difficult courses have faster greens on the strip meter. Hence, part of developing one's putting game is knowing how to stroke the ball on fast as well as slow greens. A little two inch back swing on very fast greens can be more than enough for a 10 foot putt where on slow greens one needs a good foot or more backswing. Those are things that develop in your putting game over many years of putting. One of the hardest things to do is make the adjustment from a regular course where you usually play after you have become used to their greens and end up on a difficult course to play a round that has lightening fast greens. Best to spend your entire time warming up on the putting green of such a course as it will save you strokes and adjust your mindset for the round.

(Now, of course, I just have to figure out why I can hit a 5 wood but not a driver....)

Otter already addressed the loft issues. A driver puts more sidespin on the ball than a 2, 3, 4 or 5 wood. Therefore, poor contact due to face position at impact with a driver will be magnified much more than a more lofted club. In addition, a 5 wood is much shorter than a driver in terms of length of the shaft. This makes the club a lot easier to control throughout the swing and improves the chances of better face/ball contact. As one makes better and better contact with a 5 wood or 4 wood or 3 wood, the confidence improves and the entire swing relaxes so that the shots start to fly quite well. Slip a driver in there every once in a while when things are going good to see if you can transfer that confidence. If not, no big deal.

The driver is the longest club in terms of shaft length and when considering you are trying to hit a 1/2" in diameter sweet spot that is pointed down the fairway with a somewhat square face, the odds become more difficult as the shaft length increases. For that matter, using a 5 or a 4 iron off the tee can put the ball out there in a pretty decent position as well when in doubt. One can score much better being in or near the fairway with a solid iron shot or higher lofted wood off the tee. Hitting shots out of bounds or in deep rough or in the woods racks up the score quicker than anything else. If you are standing on a tee with OB on the right or left (whichever direction is your nemesis), why risk the chance of having to hit again and end up walking down the fairway having begun the hole with a score of 3 right off the tee?

It sounds like you are on track and congratulations on your first break of 100. Strategic club choice (one that you are comfortable with and can predict the outcome) off the tee as well as improved putting will have you chopping at 90 pretty quickly.

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