Shot Pattern Pie Chart



So in the classic game, I think of Curtis Strange vs Mac O Grady. Most would argue that Mac was the superior ball striker, but Strange wins back to back US Opens. Personally watching Mac during his prime, I was surprised how often he would miss long and left. Not necessarily over the green left (very bad), but having to putt downhill and left to right. I can only speculate that this might have contributed to Mac putting left handed. However, putting uphill is going to be better odds than putting downhill,and right to left putts are going to be a more comfortable putting stance for right handed golfers. Left handed golfers would just flip the pie chart horizontally.

I’d rather be the purple, even though short is often better than long. The purple golfer could adjust and aim a bit short of the pin to manage their tendencies.
Mac is always an interesting case. People who saw him rave about how he hit it, but his stats aren’t impressive at all. Some disconnect when he went to a tournament.

This isn’t about adjusting… it’s about the design of the golf swing and equipment. This is about where the golfer is actually trying to hit the ball, but their swing faults leave them skewed one way or the other. Mac was a great range hitter, but on the course missed long and left way too often. It was due to the mechanics of his swing. The right arm straightening on the downswing sometimes didn’t work as well as planned. This very slight OTT would also de loft the club slightly… so his miss was long and left. To complicate that, he was putting left handed (maybe why?) so his best leave would be short and left… for a right handed golfer, not many ways to make that your miss… because left, pulls or OTT also deloft the clubface…

If Mac’s leave on a good day was in fact short and right… he would be putting left handed up the hill which is not going to be as comfortable when the ball is breaking away from you.

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If nobody here has heard of Decade golf (modern course management guru working with PGA tour winners)…this is exactly what he advocates. It is what Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson wrote verbatim in their books. As I play golf at higher and higher levels, I have to agree with Lag.

One factor not discussed yet is “mental focus”. Easy up and downs and simple pars on uphill birdie looks, makes for stress free golf (Knudson style). Not to even mention the higher odds of a chip in…which can really fuel some low rounds…That adds up over 18 holes and definitely over 72.

Why are all the greatest players playing fades? Lag’s diagram answers that. It only gets more apparent as we move back towards the tee.

Finally, in my estimation–Mac could have clubbed down, moved his ball position SLIGHTLY back and been in the yellow all day playing a draw. It’s what Tom Lehman/Knudson did for years. It would also guard against that OTT move he has when he’s quick…tournaments can do that to a man for sure. My humble $.02 anyway :wink:

Listen to this podcast from Bruce Devlin from 7:00 to approx 8:00 min
Trevino nails it

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“Never go past 180°…”


I played 9 holes yesterday, using this concept. Shot -4, short track, classic turtle top postage stamp greens though…but nonetheless.

There were 2 front pins that i came up short on, but the up and downs were cake. Really kept the momentum going.

Im gonna practice on some championship tracks this week. Keep working this…so far so good.

I used to be a pin high, fire towards the fat side, make a putt guy. This caused the 1 or 2 tough up and downs a round when you inevitably have to be human. Pin high isnt always best either, when playing tiered greens. You get tough defensive putts that can stifle a good round. Yesterday i noticed i was constantly in a position i could be aggressive on. We’ll see how this translates to modern courses, where bunkers, water and slopes prevent missing TOO short. Just gonna have to get more precise with the numbers i guess…tbd

I also noticed how cool it was to not really misclub. Somehow it made club selections easier, more precise, just a better decision in general. I can really get in my way sometimes, being able to hit multiple traj. windows with 3 different clubs is a blessing and a curse.

Anywho, great stuff! :+1:

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Well, played 18 at the local us open qual course. Walnut Creek, 7500y @ 5200ft. Elevation. The course is undergoing an irragation modernization project, so conditions and holes were satisfactory, but tough.

Front 9 I was working kinks out of the new driver, but still managed a couple of birds. I screwed up the par 5s, but the strategy really paid off when i was in position to score. Both putts were straight uphill 10ftrs.

I was in between clubs quite a bit, but i managed much better decisions, having a smaller grid to work with. :man_facepalming:

My clubs and targeting were much faster as well. Applying this to my visualization makes for further insights i found quite interesting. Definitely software upgrades for future battle…

I got the driver going on the back nine, but fizzled out at the end. I decided to walk, hotter than expected…still working on that stamina i guess. Got to talking a bit as well…i play much better when completely silent. Been playing alone a ton lately, i find peace there.

Finally, playing a single shot off the tee is mundane, so discipline is important. Once i committed to the fade, even though i lose 20y, i know i can always pull it out when i need it. Ill get better at that over time.

I didn’t keep score on a few holes (pushing the limits of my skills), but otherwise i came in E. I’m happy considering top dressed greens.

Key takeaway, i was bored out of my mind. That helped me see some sides of myself that caught me off guard. Sneaky sneaky…

Anywho, for what its worth.

This is a super interesting topic and something I have never really understood from the equipment, swing perspective until now. As 72holeouts has mentioned, Decade preaches something similar as far as targeting goes BUT (a big but imo) he doesnt take into account the actual swing for this. He just says this is your shot pattern, dont try to curve it, you’re gonna have a distribution of X number of yards depending on distance from target use that. No real mention of improving how you swing to produce a certain miss to set up these holes in your favor. Decade likes to use Bryson as an example alot, he was one of his star pupils when the system first came out. The one example is Bryson winning the John Deere Classic one year, he “accidently” fired at a back left pin on 18 I believe, he was aiming at the middle of the green and hit a long, left pull that ended up perfect. Now you can say thats luck or planning, but if Bryson didnt have super upright one length irons I’m guessing this miss wouldnt be in his arsenal in the first place. You have to have more conservative targets with upright gear as the misses are more unpredictable.

My own personal experience, this is part of the game that you get caught up in when you’re not thinking clearly and just start firing at pins for a “distance” and not playing the game. Case in point, yesterday was playing a very classic track with persimmon and blades, didnt use yardages just trying to feel it. Yet I was constantly aiming at the pin, ball was flying farther than usual and boom I’m long left a couple times dead. If I would have been more flighting the shot and playing for the miss that wont kill, score would have been atleast 3-4 strokes lower. But the lesson of when and where to miss is also helpful.

Interesting to say the least. Love hearing how pros actually think and play the game.


Good stuff Justin! Welcome to ABS…

I wonder if the firing at pins is a symptom of the modern age of golf? The guys on TV can do it because they have played the course a thousand times and usually have wedge in hand. Not so true with the day to day folks…I totally agree. Gotta play a different game when you’re just a weekender.

I was working with the Trevino, never past 180 degrees–still am actually. It shrunk my previous approach targets in half (size wize), and forced me on a number of occasions to fire away from the pin. This allowed me to observe a lot of interesting things…

Course management is one piece, but I think a players personality is another. I think you have to merge the two after an honest evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. This is obviously common sense, unless you live in the forest as I do.

Personally, I noticed that I have been playing WAY TOO aggressively after mixing it up a bit. I also learned that I’d rather be in the fairway, so playing a cut driver all day makes that job much easier. I’m just not a bomber anymore, a hard pill to swallow. I still have the high draw when I absolutely want it, like Lag alludes to above…but it will get minimal use now. It used to be my go to on Par 5s…made a lot of dumb 6’s this way.

It’s so nice to be E through 6, make an easy bird or 3 on 7-9 and come out on cruise control. Coming in, I feel like this gives you house money to “pick your spots”. Seems this is the proper way to play golf…the game.

I’ve never been this good of a ballstriker before ABS/pro golfing, so most of the amateur events I won or placed in was pure grit and determination. Course management was mostly spin control back then. Now, I have some game…the ego loves to remind me of it too…so, everything becomes a green light. “God mode” as my buddy and I describe it. That leads to really bad decisions that can disrupt a round. I know now that I never really understood how to play the game before, but I’m starting to get it… :man_facepalming:

To me, Decade is playing the modern game of course managament. I agree with Scott Fawcett. Outside 250, nobody really has enough control of it to be super aggressive. The Dechambeau story is a perfect example of this…with an iron too!

Agree 100% 72holeouts. Interesting to hear your side of it with the 180 degree Trevino idea. Are you you getting it down to an exact yardage and trying to stay short of that or is it more like I know this X iron wont go past pin with this cut shot/punch/whatever shot and playing that.

I think we are similar in alot of ways. I stayed Amateur my whole life but had a good amount of success in higher level tourneys. Even though I was the king of going 67/76. Looking back I was so aggressive with any iron I would just aim at the pin. If I was on, it was great striking and alot of birides. But then I was like why am I so inconsistent. I didnt know what course management actually meant! Lol. Nowadays its never shoot over 72 or 73, less of the really low rounds but scoring average is probably still lower because of it. Also, I played older versions of modern equipment way longer than competitors. Would play blades from earlier 2000’s up until last year in tourneys playing against younger guys with all the latest tech, eventually I bit the bullet, got fitted for some “players” irons like AP2’s, cavity back titleists. I hit them good but I wouldnt say Im any better than my blade days, I still go back to them and the persimmon often when I’m just messing around. I honestly dont know what people pay thousands of dollars for new modern stuff that is inferior to equipment of old. The joy of a crisp iron with a blade just cant be beat imo.


Essentially, keep it in the short right quadrant, never past the pin. Works great on modern tracks too…with some visualization work.

Now, I’m looking to land it well short of where I used to…as well and much more centered in the green or “tier” I’m firing at. I’m also not trying to work it into pins anymore either. Keeping it as “stock” as possible…as often as I can stand it. I’ve got at least 6 windows I can pick any day of the week, to my detriment most of the time. Maybe one day I’ll be that good…lol, until then I kept trying and it was killing my score. In tourney’s I’ve got get bored…really bored, at least that’s when I score the lowest…it’s the feeling I’m getting.

Mid to high single digit experience is that this is a helpful strategy, appropriately modified. I have to play not only for L-R error/dispersion, but also distance/mis-hit dispersion.

The classic advice to a handicap golfer is to play for the back of the green. If I do this, and hit a pull/draw, I’m over the green, and on most courses long left is a difficult up and down as has been mentioned here.

I try to choose a club where, if I hit the pull draw, at worst it finishes on the back left of the green, or no more than a step or two over. This means the short right misses will often end up in a bunker, but that is an easier shot than pitching blind uphill from over a green.

I adjust this, of course, if there is some other type of severe risk like water, OB, etc., which threatens the SR or LL misses.

I have a simulator in my house, so I play real golf and sim golf. The simulator is a great tool to try out strategies…it’s fake of course, because every shot is from a perfect, level lie. But that zeroes out other variables and allows you to focus on the main thing you’re studying. Adopting the strategy I listed above has probably saved me 1-2 strokes per round. Even at a high single digit level, I am hitting 2-3 more greens per round than usual for me.