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Course Strategy 101: Dispersion

We briefly talked about choosing correct targets in the last post. Playing to the correct target is necessary to shoot your lowest scores, so how do you pick the correct target for your game? This is where understanding dispersion comes into play. The next step to a proper course strategy.

Remember how I mentioned that golf shots are more like a shot than a sniper rifle? That’s because every shot we hit will have a different result. Some may miss long and left while others miss short and right. The picture on the right represents what a shot pattern could look like for the average golfer. It almost looks like a constellation.

This is why we talked about picking the correct target. Everybody’s shot pattern/dispersion will be different based on clubs and skill level. Your dispersion will most likely be greater with your longer clubs compared to your wedges. This is why it is important to understand what your shot pattern looks like.

How to Determine Your Dispersion

The most effective way of determining your dispersion is by utilizing a launch monitor. Even if you don’t have access to a launch monitor you can still determine your dispersion. I suggest hitting 20 shots to give yourself enough data to properly determine your dispersion. You can split up your testing over a few practice sessions. Start your first session with driver, 6 iron, 8 iron, and pitching wedge. The best location to do this is on the course so you can determine distance after roll but a driving will work too. Here is the step by step guide:

  1. Pick a target and hit at least 10-20 shots. (x represents target)
  2. After each shot mark down where your shot ended up
  3. You will start to notice a pattern. This is your dispersion!
  4. I like to eliminate the outliers. We all get them and shouldn’t be taken into account. At the end of the day it is still golf.
  5. Being truthful on your assessment is key to having an accurate shot map.

So What’s Next?

We now have a shot map of our dispersion that we can use on the course to pick the correct shot to play. A right-handed golfer will typically see a map that looks similar to the picture above as draws go further and fades end up shorter. Depending on where your map ends up in relation to your target will allow you to aim correctly.

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