IGNORED

# Course Management: Approach Shot - Where to aim? Percentage approach

Note: This thread is 1906 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

## Recommended Posts

Note: Apologize for my english..

Hi all, here is my method to decide where i yould aim in an approach shot based on my shot dispersion to minimize the average score for a hole in the long-term.

Let assume we are on a Par 3, 100 Yards long to the middle of the green. To simplify the explanation let´s assume we hit
the Sand Wedge always exactly 100 yards all the time so we can focus in 1 dimension only (left/rigth misses).

Now im going to describe a hole with easy referencies. Each letter represent 5 yard of the element .

References: G green, F Fairway, S Sand, R Rough, W Water, O OB, H Hole.

Hole: RRRRR SS GGHGG F RRRRR

So the flag is in the middle of the green, we have 10 yards of green left and 10 yards of green to the rigth. In the left there´s a bunker 10 yards width,
and after that just rough. In the rigth we have no bunker, just 5 yards of fairway and rough beyond that. The green is 25 yards width.

Where do you aim? well this is an easy one, i assume all of you would aim for the center of the green towards the flag. me too! but why ?

Well i know that the dispersion of my shots are abount 10%. What´s this? Is how much i can miss a shot either to the left or rigth. So if i have like
this shot 100 yards to the green i can either miss rigth or left a maximum of 10 yards (10% of 100 yards).

So if i aim for the flag (H leter) and miss 10 yards left or rigth i will still hit the green both ways. Lets say i play this hole 100 times, 20 times
i will miss 10 yards rigth, 20 times i will miss 5 yards rigth, 20 will go around the hole, 20 will miss 5 yards left and 20 will mis 10 yards to the left.
This is because yo never know where the ball is going to go. You just can know how far you can miss rigth or left in your worst shot and work with it.
(this is asumming equal dispersion)

Now let´s apply some numbers, let´s use the average scores the pro does from an specific distance and lie. Let´s say that the balls witch lands in the hole
area are on average 2,5 yards to the hole, thats 7,5 feet. From that distance a pro average 1,48 putts. The ones 5 Yards away have an average of 15 feet and 1,79 putts.
The ones 10 yards away (30 feet) average 1,98 putts.
So we have 40 balls landing 30 feet away, 40 balls landing 15 feet away and 20 landing just 7,5 feet around the hole. We sum up each score per ball and divide ir by 100.
(20*1,48 + 40*1,79 + 40*1,98)/100 = 1,8. 1,8 is the average score for all the ball shot to that green, let add the approach shot aand our
average for that Par 3 is 2,8. (in this 1 dimensional world)

What if im 50 yards to the hole ? my dispersion drops now to 5 yards (10% of 50 yards). 33 balls will end 5 yards left from the flag, 34 will end up around the hole and
the other 33 will end up 5 yards rigth. Same math as before:
(66*1,79+34*1,48)/100 = 1,68. Now our average from that distance is 2,68 shots.

What happens if we aim 5 yards left to the flag?? 33 balls will land 10 yards left, 34 will land 5 yards left and 33 will land arround the hole.
Same numbers... (33*1,98+34*1,79+33*1,48)/100 = 1,75 ! yes, our average raises from 2,68 to 2,75 with the same green, flag and distance.

To make the numbers easier, as we are hitting 33 balls per letter, let just shot one to each one. The formula of the last hole will be like this.
(1,98+1,79+1,48)/3 = 1,75

What happens if the flag is 5 yards left to the middle of the green from 100 yards (10 yards dispersion)?? let´s see the hole:
Hole: RRRRR SS GHGGG F RRRRR

Now where do you aim ??? Some will say they aim for the flag, some will say aim at the middle of the green.
Let try hitting towards the flag. We have 1 ball landing near the ping, 1 landing 5 yards rigth, 1 landing 10 yards rigth, 1 landing 5 yards
left and 1 landing 10 yards left. All the analised balls landed in the green but this last one landed in the sand. Same method, a pro from 10 yards to the pin
and with a lie of sand scores 2,39 shots. let´s make the numbers..
(2,39+1,79+1,48+1,79+1,98)/5 = 1,89 (2,89)--> Witch is higher than the 2,8 score calculated with the flag in the middle of the green. Yes, generally as the flag
is farther from the middle of the green the hole get´s harder.
Let now hit it to the middle of the green. 1 wil land 5 yards left, 1 near, 1 5 yard rigth, 1 10 yards rigth and 1 15 yards rigth. A pro from 15 yards / 45 feet
scores 2,09. Same formula:
(1,79+1,48+1,79+1,98+2,09)/5 = 1,83 (2,83). In this case aiming to the middle of the green (2,83) is better than aimning to the flag (2,89). It´s 0,06 shots better per hole,
multiply that by 18 and just aiming a little better will reduce 1,08 shots per round in this easy scenario.

Away from the numbers, what we do is to try to hit the green with all our balls avoiding shots that in average are harder to score than a ball in the green.
In this case we prefer aim a little rigth and accept to putt from 15 yards if we miss rigth and making our worst left miss still hit the green avoiding the sand trap.

This is easy math to understand our chances in a hole a where do we should aim for better score in the long term, but I just talk about an easy shot, with a green
with just a bunker an plenty of green to be safe with every shoot.
(Moreover i´m just appying this approach on 1 dimension (left/right miss), it´s get harder when we analise 2 dimensions (left/rigth and long/short misses combined))

What happens if i hit the same green from 200 yards ? What if the green is thinner?? what if is guarded by Water hazard or OB or both ???
What if the green is huge ? when is better to layup?? where to aim in any other scenario you can imagine ??

Well there´s a lot to talk about if you want to, i´m open for questions or dabate.

Abrazo de Gol! (Goal hug)

##### Share on other sites

Seems like you get the basic understanding of what a shot zone is. Understanding a percentage of your shots are going to be defined by an area and that you can aim that area to encompass the most green as possible and take out as many hazards as possible.

I think you would really like this book, http://lowestscorewins.com/

It goes into great detail how to create your shot zones and how to game plan around the course.

##### Share on other sites

I am always looking for the safest landing spots the course has to offer, based on my shot patterns that day.

When I have decent ball flight control, those are the rounds I usually break 80. Problem is,  that for me, some days are better than others

##### Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Seems like you get the basic understanding of what a shot zone is. Understanding a percentage of your shots are going to be defined by an area and that you can aim that area to encompass the most green as possible and take out as many hazards as possible.

I think you would really like this book, http://lowestscorewins.com/

It goes into great detail how to create your shot zones and how to game plan around the course.

Hi Saevel! thanks for you reply and suggestion of the book.

I disagree with you that you have to encompass the most green as possible and take away all the hazards when it come to sand traps. (OB and Water i completly agree)

Sometimes a Shot Zone with 100% of chances of GIR is worst than a ShotZone with 80% of chances of GIR but significanty closer average distance to the hole having just average rough or sand for the up & down.

Example- A green with a fat back part and a norrow front part. If the pin is in the front it is better on average to shot to the front part of the green and challenge the narrow part leaving you with short putts for birdie and 5-15 yards ups and downs than aiming at the back fat part and leave you long 30-75 footers putts all the time. More over if you can´t hit the fat part of the green 100% of the time you´ll be leaving you with long 15-30 yards up and down too.

##### Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

Hi Saevel! thanks for you reply and suggestion of the book.

I disagree with you that you have to encompass the most green as possible and take away all the hazards when it come to sand traps. (OB and Water i completly agree)

Statistically sand traps for many golfers act just like a water hazard. For some they act more like a normal short game shot.

5 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

Example- A green with a fat back part and a norrow front part. If the pin is in the front it is better on average to shot to the front part of the green and challenge the narrow part leaving you with short putts for birdie and 5-15 yards ups and downs than aiming at the back fat part and leave you long 30-75 footers putts all the time. More over if you can´t hit the fat part of the green 100% of the time you´ll be leaving you with long 15-30 yards up and down too.

Depends on the golfer and how big the shot zone is.

Let's say with your example you can get 100% GIR with averaging 50 ft putts.

Let's say you can hit 70% GIR, but you average 20 ft putts versus 50 ft putts on a GIR.

You have 70% at 1.87 expected strokes and 30% at 2.45 expected strokes from 15 yards from the pin on an average short game shot.

70% x 1.87 + 30% x 2.45 = 2.04. You would average 1/10th of a stroke better going for the front part of the green.

It's not that substantial. Averaging 70% GIR probably means you are on a very short par 3.

##### Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Statistically sand traps for many golfers act just like a water hazard. For some they act more like a normal short game shot.

Jajaja, that´s true ! Obviusly it all depens in the player skills.

5 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Depends on the golfer and how big the shot zone is.

Let's say with your example you can get 100% GIR with averaging 50 ft putts.

Let's say you can hit 70% GIR, but you average 20 ft putts versus 50 ft putts on a GIR.

You have 70% at 1.87 expected strokes and 30% at 2.45 expected strokes from 15 yards from the pin on an average short game shot.

70% x 1.87 + 30% x 2.45 = 2.04. You would average 1/10th of a stroke better going for the front part of the green.

It's not that substantial. Averaging 70% GIR probably means you are on a very short par 3.

Agree with the maths but hey ! 0,10 less per hole it´s 1,8 strokes per round just aiming better !

And it´s more than that for me because of my good short game and bad lag putts.

##### Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

Jajaja, that´s true ! Obviusly it all depens in the player skills.

Agree with the maths but hey ! 0,10 less per hole it´s 1,8 strokes per round just aiming better !

And it´s more than that for me because of my good short game and bad lag putts.

No it's 1/10 for that hole each time. Every hole is a different situation. No one has 100% GIR anyways. That was more a mathematical excersize.

##### Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Patch said:

I am always looking for the safest landing spots the course has to offer, based on my shot patterns that day.

When I have decent ball flight control, those are the rounds I usually break 80. Problem is,  that for me, some days are better than others

Patch, we all have good days and bad days. The shot dispersion take´s into account our worst shots so when is not our day we still manage the ball to the safe zones we define.

Example.. Par 4 OB left. Shot Dispersion 10% over 250 yards. so 25 yards left or rigth. So you have to aim 25 yards rigth from the OB, that could be rigth part of the fairway or sometime a bunker rigth even rough, everything is better than hitting it into OB.

You always have to play with that dispersion, even in a good day when you are hitting it between 5% of dispersion, thats because you never know when things are going wrong by hitting a 8..9% shot miss into OB or water.

So neither if you are playing the round of your life or the worst when you get near an OB/water use your full shot dispersion and avoid surprises.

##### Share on other sites

There are several holes on my course that have plateau greens. Putting the ball on the green does not guarantee a 2 putt. When the pin is back left on a particular hole there is very little room to get the ball back there. If you are long it is very hard to get it near the pin as the green is also elevated. In some cases if the pin is back for me the correct play is to play for the front right short of the green and flop it to within a few feet. Otherwise you are left with a putt up the plateau and breaking right to left and FAST.

##### Share on other sites

(edited)
56 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

No it's 1/10 for that hole each time. Every hole is a different situation. No one has 100% GIR anyways. That was more a mathematical excersize.

Real example of hole Nr2 of my home course using my tool witch calculate every posible outcome of an approach shot.

The shot is from 160 yards. (See the image below)

Aiming just 1 yard pass the middle with a dispersion of 17 yards left/rigth (total 34) and 5 yards long/short (total 10).

GIR= 64%.

Shots average distance= 15 Yards (385 differents locations of ball landing)

Score average = 0,36.

Aiming 6 yards before the middle of the green. Dispersion drop to 16 yards because of a shot 7 yards shorter. Same 5 yards long/short.

GIR= 48%

Shots average distance = 9,8 Yards (363 landing locations due to lower dispersion)

Score average = 0,26.

It´s not a mathematical excersize, it a shot i have to deal for real. Like i said before, not always more % GIR means better score. Imagine what happens if the fat part is more in the back, the scoring avg will be worst in the back because of the increase of the average distance to ping.

Applying this i can aim for the best spot on every hole to cut strokes at the end of the day.

References: Red Dot is the aiming Spot. Black Dot is the flag. Cells with margins are part of the Shot Zone dispersion.

Edited by p1n9183
##### Share on other sites

2 hours ago, p1n9183 said:

Situation 1, the red dot  is about 11-12 squares from the hole. So that is 33-36 feet .Let's say 34 feet on average if you hit the green.

64% (GIR) x 2.02 + 36% (Rough) x 2.5 = 2.19 expected strokes

Situation 2, the red dot is 18 feet away on average

48% (GIR) x 1.83 + 12% (Bunker) x 2.53 + 40% (Rough) x 2.5 = 2.18 expected strokes

Stroke difference = 0.01 strokes

I think your expectation on what actual strokes you are getting is off. The numbers I plugged in are PGA Tour player averages.

##### Share on other sites

3 hours ago, p1n9183 said:

Patch, we all have good days and bad days. The shot dispersion take´s into account our worst shots so when is not our day we still manage the ball to the safe zones we define.

Example.. Par 4 OB left. Shot Dispersion 10% over 250 yards. so 25 yards left or rigth. So you have to aim 25 yards rigth from the OB, that could be rigth part of the fairway or sometime a bunker rigth even rough, everything is better than hitting it into OB.

You always have to play with that dispersion, even in a good day when you are hitting it between 5% of dispersion, thats because you never know when things are going wrong by hitting a 8..9% shot miss into OB or water.

So neither if you are playing the round of your life or the worst when you get near an OB/water use your full shot dispersion and avoid surprises.

I always try to avoid surprises. I aim left, or right when I need to, and I hit long, or short when I need to. How far left/right I aim, depends on which club I am using for the shot at hand. How far long/short I hit, depends on how far trouble is in front of me. Playing this way has kept me pretty consistant score wise over the years.

Of course there are times when I throw caution off to the side, and go for it on every shot. I like doing this because it allows me a chance to "creat" shots I would not normally see. Creating something out of nothing can be a good thing.

##### Share on other sites

4 hours ago, p1n9183 said:

Sometimes a Shot Zone with 100% of chances of GIR is worst than a ShotZone with 80% of chances of GIR but significanty closer average distance to the hole having just average rough or sand for the up & down.

Well-spoken.  Sometimes being on the green might leave you in a position where only a Jordan Spieth could expect a two-putt as opposed to being off the green in light rough below the hole where any average player might be able to get down in two 50-60% of the time.

Sure, if one is a double-digit index then "playing it safe" might be the best strategy as it will save more strokes in the long run - then at some point in the future if one's ball striking improves then a few more chances can be taken.

Then again, on the other hand, engaging in some high-risk shots in a round might be more rewarding and if you are successful, the memories may be a lot more lasting of that one great shot compared to carding another 85.

That's the beauty of the game - so many different ways to play the game and interpret the outcome.

##### Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Situation 1, the red dot  is about 11-12 squares from the hole. So that is 33-36 feet .Let's say 34 feet on average if you hit the green.

64% (GIR) x 2.02 + 36% (Rough) x 2.5 = 2.19 expected strokes

Situation 2, the red dot is 18 feet away on average

48% (GIR) x 1.83 + 12% (Bunker) x 2.53 + 40% (Rough) x 2.5 = 2.18 expected strokes

Stroke difference = 0.01 strokes

I think your expectation on what actual strokes you are getting is off. The numbers I plugged in are PGA Tour player averages.

Exactly thats the beauty off the tool! I take the numbers from the pga averages and twist them a bit to fix my skills. obviously are worst than the pga average but not that much since my handicap is 2 and my strong suit is the short game

##### Share on other sites

Why in Bleeding Hell does everyone suggest aiming for a miss? I ALWAYS aim to hit the target!

Why?

If one aims to miss (or most likely miss) one will NEVER improve! You are happy with the miss if it fits your expectation.

Aim Small - Miss Small... works with a rifle... works with golf!

Unless of course you are content to be hitting the target only by accident!

##### Share on other sites

11 hours ago, CR McDivot said:

Why in Bleeding Hell does everyone suggest aiming for a miss? I ALWAYS aim to hit the target!

Why?

If one aims to miss (or most likely miss) one will NEVER improve! You are happy with the miss if it fits your expectation.

Aim Small - Miss Small... works with a rifle... works with golf!

Unless of course you are content to be hitting the target only by accident!

Nobody said we aim to miss. We always aims at a target. It could be the flag, the center of the green, a safe zone or every where we want. What we said y that you have to take in cosiderations the sourrounding of the target. Avoiding pensalty hazards or week spot for our skills when we miss a shot.

Even the pro know they miss a lot of shots during a round and not always go for the flag. They just pick their targets carefully and try to hit it there whereever it is. Phil was one of the pro that always aimed for the flag, but no majors wons until he changes his mentality and start playing smarter shots.

##### Share on other sites

On May 12, 2016 at 2:30 PM, p1n9183 said:

I disagree with you that you have to encompass the most green as possible and take away all the hazards when it come to sand traps. (OB and Water i completly agree)

This is almost never true for average golfers.

On May 12, 2016 at 2:30 PM, p1n9183 said:

Sometimes a Shot Zone with 100% of chances of GIR is worst than a ShotZone with 80% of chances of GIR but significanty closer average distance to the hole having just average rough or sand for the up & down.

Because that's almost never true.

You're almost always better off with a long putt for birdie over trying to get up and down for par. Particularly from a bunker.

On May 12, 2016 at 6:53 PM, saevel25 said:

I think your expectation on what actual strokes you are getting is off. The numbers I plugged in are PGA Tour player averages.

Yup.

PGA Tour players have great bunkers, too. They're WAY better out of bunkers than average golfers.

On May 12, 2016 at 7:20 PM, Coronagolfman said:

Well-spoken.  Sometimes being on the green might leave you in a position where only a Jordan Spieth could expect a two-putt as opposed to being off the green in light rough below the hole where any average player might be able to get down in two 50-60% of the time.

Those situations are highly unlikely (incredibly rare).

On May 13, 2016 at 8:52 PM, CR McDivot said:

Why in Bleeding Hell does everyone suggest aiming for a miss? I ALWAYS aim to hit the target!

Why?

Because they want to shoot the lowest score, and golf is a game of misses.

##### Share on other sites

(edited)
On 5/12/2016 at 4:19 PM, p1n9183 said:

Applying this i can aim for the best spot on every hole to cut strokes at the end of the day.

References: Red Dot is the aiming Spot. Black Dot is the flag. Cells with margins are part of the Shot Zone dispersion.

So has it worked for you - lowered your average score once you started applying it?

Thank you for using the graphic rather than the text approach in the OP, which is off-putting. Your method is interesting. I've seen some other approaches like this that indicate a more aggressive target can result in a better score - for better players at least. There's a guy in Texas(?) who coached the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur who uses a similar approach. Essentially you're seeking to solve an optimization problem.

Some challenges with it are that you have to accurately map your shot zones. I expect they will change shape depending on green slope so in-situ with some basic slope types will improve accuracy. Your particular dispersion example doesn't look quite right for your stated HCP. The image below is from one of Mark Broadie's papers and it indicates that distance dispersion is typically greater than lateral dispersion - except from a tee on par-3's

Also I would expect hole specific conditions matter. Perhaps not enough to bother with. Chances of a really tough lie are higher in the rough & bunker than the green and this is a bigger factor for higher HCPs who are decent putters. But rough from this range is generally better for higher HCPs than sand. I would expect the chances of an awful shot are much higher in the rough and sand than on the green too, but that's probably accounted for in strokes gained tables. Green slope can matter for ideal positioning too. I expect very slick greens with a lot of slope puts more of a premium on being below the hole, especially if you don't read greens well or have good distance touch.

Edited by natureboy
##### Share on other sites

Note: This thread is 1906 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

## Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
• ### Topics Being Discussed Right Now on The Sand Trap

• Want to join this community?

We'd love to have you!

• ## Support TST Affiliates

Use the code "iacas" for 10% off Mevo and the code "iacasjun21" for 10% off SuperSpeed.
• ### Posts

• We stay in the Santa Rosa Beach / Blue Mountain Beach area just about every year (save the occasional switch to Hilton Head Island...which we did again this year).  Windswept in Freeport is one of my go-to visits.  Spectacular is probably a little strong, but I do like the place.  The value is especially good since you're inland, non-resort.  I like the layout--less water-everywhere-target-golf, and more, well, 'windswept dunes'--and it's pretty open so you can be aggressive off the tee when you're playing well.  The only negatives are the drive from the beach, relative to the other area courses--and, being inland, you lose the sea breeze...so feels much hotter and the flying insects can get a little bothersome.  Take your sun screen and bug spray. Beyond Windswept, I've probably played the Sandestin resort courses the next-most...including the Links probably most often (I can be frugal  ).  It is a little tight and watery, but still a nice layout.  In spite of that, I've put up some of my better scores there, including a hole-out from ~102y a couple of years ago on one of the prettier holes on the bay.  That was a nice memory.   You guys enjoy your trips & rounds.  May the birdies be plentiful.
• Yeah, the conditions/manicuring/upkeep actually looked like a higher end public course around here
• Thanks, @boogielicious. I found it in the updated app and it seems to function fine. Nice big map image of the holes with distances to all hole features. I'll check it out on the course. My phone is already on my cart and running Arccos so it'll be interesting to see if, as @Shindig suggests, it places too much additional demand on the battery. I see the green maps are an additional charge. Probably not for me, at my skill level.
• I am generally hesitant to do anything with my phone during a round (my previous phone, which I replaced over two and a half years ago, went through battery like it was candy), but I may check this out at some point, if nothing else so I have a backup for my laser and my GPS device.
• I just opened and looked at my USGA GHIN app and don't see a GPS option. Where is it located? Ahhh, never mind. Found out that there's an app update that needs to be installed. I'll check it out after the update is complete. Thanks.
• ### Today's Birthdays

1. Duby27
(38 years old)
2. Joe Guastella
(37 years old)