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How Tight of Dispersion Is Considered Playable for Driver?


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 So with it being the offseason still, I find myself reading and watching a lot of topics on the sport. Lately i came across Scott Fawcett and his strategy for teebox decisions.

YouTube has a few videos of his but basically, for people who drive it over 270 pretty consistently, gameplanning should consider any trouble that is within a 70 yard dispersion.

Now I already have gamegolf so i can see some dispersion patterns but I obviously dont tag the shots where I completely lose a ball so data is missing. I decided to go to a sim bay using a GCQuad and did a 15 shot driver test.

In the end I averaged 268 off the tee in total distance. However off those 15 shots....3 were massive misses of 45, 52, and 60 yards offline. In real life at my home course and most trees courses I play those are lost balls with bad penalties applied. They would only be slightly salvageable at a course with adjacent fairways really. I would say when you look at my gamegolf rounds, the GCQuad result of 3/15 being lost/OB is accurate.

So it made me start wondering as someone who has read LSW and Every Stroke Counts and understands advancing the ball far but safely.....how wide of dispersion is considered unusable for a driver?

Until my swing improved would I be better off statistically going down to my 16* mini driver or just 21* hybrid? ( next time I do the simulator I was going to do dispersion tests for those)

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Whether a dispersion is unusable might depend on what your next-best option is.

If it's something like 2 strokes per round saved with each 20 yard gain in driving distance, then as long as your driver is 60 yards longer than your "fairway guaranteed" club, then it pays for the 3 OB mishits and is therefore not unusable.

That's my amateur understanding anyway!

The "famous" driving distance payoff:

 

 

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It’s per hole. Some holes might be wide enough. Others might not be.

It’s just Shot Zones and Shades of Grey. Lightest egg.

Outliers can’t be accounted for, either, if they’re truly outliers.

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It depends, also, on your default miss.  When I get out of shape I yank the ball left.  That isn't a problem on a dog leg left but it is a disaster on a dog leg right.  

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2 minutes ago, Piz said:

It depends, also, on your default miss.  When I get out of shape I yank the ball left.  That isn't a problem on a dog leg left but it is a disaster on a dog leg right.  

But your default miss should still be accounted for in your shot zone, right? And then you just slide your shot zone so that as much of it as possible is a light shade of gray based on the hole. Especially since you called it a default miss which leads me to believe you aren't referencing an outlier miss.

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8 hours ago, cutchemist42 said:

So it made me start wondering as someone who has read LSW and Every Stroke Counts and understands advancing the ball far but safely.....how wide of dispersion is considered unusable for a driver?

If you are losing 3 out of 15 drives, that is way too many. You may need to find a shot that helps eliminate that. 

Do you own a copy of LSW? The book has details on how to find your shot zone. You can gain a lot of knowledge from this. 

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Just saying, @klineka, that I generally miss left, with the driver, when the ball does not take the intended line.  So I usually leave the driver in the bag if there is trouble, or no advantage to be found, down the left side.  If the opposite is the case I'll pull the driver (pun intended) and feel good about it.

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Admitting to yourself what you know to be your worst miss can help manage your teeshots. I dont really worry about dispersion per sea. This depends on the conditions of a particular course obviously, but any tee shot that gives me a clear shot to the green is usually a successful tee shot to me. I dont fixate on hitting fairways very much. 

My worst miss (the ones that go 40-50 yds off line with a driver) is a block fade. If i have a driver hole (like 420+) where I absolutely cant miss that far right because it would be unplayable or OB, i club down to a 3 wood because the same kind of miss with that club doesnt go as far offline. Or I just aim right at the trouble spot and try to hook it away from there if the hole shape allows. The drawback to those strategies is that it potentially brings bogey into play even if im in the fairway because im looking at a 200+ yard approach. 

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40 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

If you are losing 3 out of 15 drives, that is way too many. You may need to find a shot that helps eliminate that. 

Do you own a copy of LSW? The book has details on how to find your shot zone. You can gain a lot of knowledge from this. 

Yeah I did own LSW, bought it my first year of starting the sport. I've since donated it to my library as I thought many would get a good read out of it and the library's golf section was sparse.

Like I said next time I go back and use the GCQuad I might do a comparison of my 16* mini driver, 18* and 21* hybrid and see if the payoff in accuracy and less penalties is there in terms of distance lost. I'll also redo the driver test just to get another sample of the 15 shots.

I had no money for lessons this winter since I had to buy a new car. I'm stuck with this swing for this season so just want to plan it better.

I'll take screenshots next time too.

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18 minutes ago, Piz said:

Just saying, @klineka, that I generally miss left, with the driver, when the ball does not take the intended line.  So I usually leave the driver in the bag if there is trouble, or no advantage to be found, down the left side.  If the opposite is the case I'll pull the driver (pun intended) and feel good about it.

Looking at it from a shot zone perspective, typically a slightly slanted oval, those left misses that you have with the driver are the left side of your oval. If there is trouble left, just align the shot zone so that the left edge of the oval doesn't bring the trouble into play. Then obviously if there isn't enough room for the right half of your shot zone without bringing trouble into play, then it would likely be wise to club down, but it doesn't make sense IMO to automatically put the driver away just because there is trouble on the left. Just take the trouble into account and aim your shot zone far enough right so that your left miss won't reach the trouble.

That even might mean aiming the center of your shot zone into the right rough, which would mean that roughly half of your drives end up in the right rough and only those that you pull or miss left would be in the fairway, but shots in the right rough are better than going OB.

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9 hours ago, cutchemist42 said:

 So with it being the offseason still, I find myself reading and watching a lot of topics on the sport. Lately i came across Scott Fawcett and his strategy for teebox decisions.

YouTube has a few videos of his but basically, for people who drive it over 270 pretty consistently, gameplanning should consider any trouble that is within a 70 yard dispersion.

Now I already have gamegolf so i can see some dispersion patterns but I obviously dont tag the shots where I completely lose a ball so data is missing. I decided to go to a sim bay using a GCQuad and did a 15 shot driver test.

In the end I averaged 268 off the tee in total distance. However off those 15 shots....3 were massive misses of 45, 52, and 60 yards offline. In real life at my home course and most trees courses I play those are lost balls with bad penalties applied. They would only be slightly salvageable at a course with adjacent fairways really. I would say when you look at my gamegolf rounds, the GCQuad result of 3/15 being lost/OB is accurate.

So it made me start wondering as someone who has read LSW and Every Stroke Counts and understands advancing the ball far but safely.....how wide of dispersion is considered unusable for a driver?

Until my swing improved would I be better off statistically going down to my 16* mini driver or just 21* hybrid? ( next time I do the simulator I was going to do dispersion tests for those)

It depends on the circumstance of the particular hole on which you are playing.  Obviously, you want to control the face and strike location (leaving path aside because ppl generally have a better control of path than they do face or strike) to reduce dispersion as much as possible.  I mean, on some holes, you afford to miss 50 yards offline, depending on where you miss it.  On some holes, you can't miss it by much.  That's why face control and strike control are paramount to reducing curvature by as much as possible.  For me, I primarily play a little draw with every club.  However, with driver, my standard shot is a fade because I don't want to see a ball go left with driver; because my miss can be a shut clubface and a big difference in face to path, a hook with driver is very destructive.  But a little cut allows me to get the ball in play.  I can aim up the left and swing as fast I as my body can allow me.

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Yeah, I was going to respond, but this does a good job of it:

48 minutes ago, klineka said:

Looking at it from a shot zone perspective, typically a slightly slanted oval, those left misses that you have with the driver are the left side of your oval. If there is trouble left, just align the shot zone so that the left edge of the oval doesn't bring the trouble into play. Then obviously if there isn't enough room for the right half of your shot zone without bringing trouble into play, then it would likely be wise to club down, but it doesn't make sense IMO to automatically put the driver away just because there is trouble on the left. Just take the trouble into account and aim your shot zone far enough right so that your left miss won't reach the trouble.

That even might mean aiming the center of your shot zone into the right rough, which would mean that roughly half of your drives end up in the right rough and only those that you pull or miss left would be in the fairway, but shots in the right rough are better than going OB.

 

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I apply Scott Fawcett´s strategy approach since 2016. The number 70 is the dispersion for a tour pro at 270 yards carry were 90-95% of their golf shots ends.
In your 15 ball test, take the 2nd fardest away from the target. That´s your dispersion divided by 2. Apply scott´s strategy with that number, and not 70.

As an example mine is 80 yards (40 left, 40 rigth) wide at 270 yards carry+roll. 
Good luck!

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I find the driver to be my toughest club to control dispersion, although it's weird because it was my most reliable off the tee and I would use it at every opportunity before I improved my iron play by a good margin.  I even bought a new lower spin driver last year after a fitting and it seemed to be solved and was nearly always in the fairway but that only lasted a couple of months and I developed a bad hook.  When I do a lesson it seems to be ok and the instructor says I have the right loft setting and shaft and spin is good but on the course it becomes very unpredictable. As a result I use 3w off most tees and if there is trouble a 4 iron. It seems with the 3w I can swing as hard as I like, whereas with driver I have to really slow things down.  I would really like the extra distance back though as I find it means I have short irons or wedges instead of mid/long irons in. I have another lesson lined up, as well as a fitting session (hit my irons very high) so hopeful for recovering the use of driver. I also ordered a shot scope to hopefully get a better understanding of misses/dispersion etc.  

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31 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

I apply Scott Fawcett´s strategy approach since 2016. The number 70 is the dispersion for a tour pro at 270 yards carry were 90-95% of their golf shots ends.
In your 15 ball test, take the 2nd fardest away from the target. That´s your dispersion divided by 2. Apply scott´s strategy with that number, and not 70.

As an example mine is 80 yards (40 left, 40 rigth) wide at 270 yards carry+roll. 
Good luck!

So my 2nd farthest was 52 yards offline from the centre of my aim point. So I'm saying my dispersion is 104 yards at 268 total distance off my 1 test. Thus that pretty much takes my driver out of my hands until I improve my swing which I cant right now dur to money issues the past few months.

Like I posted I will try this again with more lofted clubs to see what my next usuable club might be without penalties.

I would guess your dispersion would mean you're not losing many shots to OB and lost ball penalties?

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13 minutes ago, cutchemist42 said:

So my 2nd farthest was 52 yards offline from the centre of my aim point. So I'm saying my dispersion is 104 yards at 268 total distance off my 1 test. Thus that pretty much takes my driver out of my hands until I improve my swing which I cant right now dur to money issues the past few months.

Like I posted I will try this again with more lofted clubs to see what my next usuable club might be without penalties.

I would guess your dispersion would mean you're not losing many shots to OB and lost ball penalties?

Exactly.. around 100 yards wide. You have to test your other long clubs but normally your dispersion decreses in proportion of the length of the shot.
As scott states.. "if you have to hit 4 iron or less off the tee to avoid penalties, the hole gets too long so it´s better to just hit driver" this doesn´t apply on drivable par 4´s. 

Because of knowing my dispersion and aiming properly I reduced my penalties and lowered my scores. It´s the same principle Iacas teach us with his shots zones and stuff.

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37 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

It´s the same principle Iacas teach us with his shots zones and stuff.

When I heard of decade and saw Scott Fawcett having success, I thought of lowest score wins...I feel like LSW missed an opportunity to make an app and market what their book states.

i saw he’s coming out with a more generalized app for average golfers...I might look into it

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  • iacas changed the title to How Tight of Dispersion Is Considered Playable for Driver?

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