Most golfers understand that hitting their ball consistently is important to lower golf scores. This fact is not something that should be overlooked when trying to improve the quality of our game. But, what exactly does consistent ball striking mean and more importantly how can I measure my success in this this area. The term being bantered around to quantify good ball striking is dispersion. This one term encompasses so many variables that it is easy to become overwhelmed. My goal for today is to dispel the fog around about dispersion and set you straight on the path of lower golf scores.
Dispersion pattern is how far from left-to-right each of your shots span, and how far from back-to-front. to determine your dispersion pattern. Understanding this pattern, for my game, helps improve my greens in regulation percentage and that is a primary key to lower golf scores.
From a previous article I mentioned Chris Ryan’s approach to determining my dispersion rate: hit 20 balls from 120 yards, my dispersion rate would be the distance between my farthest ball in the cardinal points. Once this is established, I can determine my aim point in relation the pin location. It is a very simple concept, but one that is highly important to hitting the green more often than not! Your dispersion pattern would look something like this:
Many golfers think of dispersion with respect to their approach shots. Where understanding our dispersion pattern is key to course management. An important point about this topic, determining how far your ball moves either left or right is accounted for when trying to shape the ball. Sometimes amateurs do not account to the natural ball movement added to the intended ball movement; just something to think about.
As explained below, if we understand our ball flight we can properly determine our dispersion pattern and where to aim to account for this important knowledge. Determining our dispersion pattern for every club is important. Logic would dictate that the dispersion pattern should be largest when using the longer clubs, but that is not always the case.
Understanding our dispersion pattern is important. I develop my knowledge when chipping in my front yard. I would hit from specific distances and then determine the max and min hits to see if I am doing something different between shots. I find that by focusing on how I chip and the results of my efforts helps me determine the technique that works best for my game. Yes, I have a well grooved chipping stroke, but sometimes minor adjustments are needed to narrow my misses to create consistent results.
I am blessed and grateful that next year I will be moving my practice chipping area to my backyard. After a year’s worth of toil, my chipping area in the back will be ready. The distance is 100 yards! How great is that! Now I can more time practicing my short game and narrowing my dispersion pattern with all the scoring clubs. I am a grateful golfer!
The amount of knowledge required by every golfer grows as they gain more golfing experience. It is impossible to determine a players dispersion pattern when they have not develop some sort of a consistent swing routine. Their swing might not be great, however if they swing the same way each time (or close to it), then other doors of knowledge will open; one is the dispersion pattern. As stated above, this pattern applies to all our clubs and spending some time to understand how it affects our game will eventually lower or score, help focus areas needing practice and send on a path to a better golf game. Do you understand and know your dispersion pattern with each club?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “Poor Dispersion Limits An Amateur’s Golf Score”
With two eagles in 2 days I’m thinking my dispersion pattern is shrinking. lol Today’s was especially good left to right. I figure I wasn’t more than 3 or 4 feet left to right all day inside 30 yards. Front to back was bigger. But we can’t have everything. lol I hit the pin with 4 chips today. The 3 that didn’t fall in were all taps ins of less than a foot. And a couple of the others while not hitting the pin only missed by inches on the right side.
Yet, I lost big time tonight. 7 skins were won and I didn’t get a one. Not even the eagle was good enough to win a hole because another of the guys managed to get his chip in the hole too. We actually had 4 chip in eagles in tonight’s game. That might be a record for us at least for eagles. I’m sure we’ve had more chips ins in a round but not 4 chip in eagles. Of that I’m positive.
You have to laugh it off when that happens. Be grateful that you didn’t lose the hole and that you did your job to perfection and that’s all you can ask for.
Yesterday’s eagle was a miracle shot. One no one could have counted on. I was thrilled just seeing it find the green and not splashing down in the water that guarded the front and entire right side of the green. I was in the rough 110 yards out with a tough lie. Ball sitting all the way down, and a single thick stem of tall grass sticking up right behind it. Worse, I had a low hanging branch blocking me from hitting any normal shot. I probably should have just kicked it out. That would have been the smart play probably. But this was our last round at the course and I still hadn’t reached my goal there so instead I hooded my 8 iron, played it off the back of my stance and hit it hard figuring going off the back of the green would be just fine. I couldn’t see the flight thanks to that branch but I did see the ball when it landed on the green and about fell over from shock when it just barely managed to reach the hole and fall over the edge. Still didn’t manage to get under 80 though. I had a couple bad swings later that kept that from happening. Still I shot 80 two out of 3 times and on that course, I’m not upset at all over that. Not really. It’s tough.
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That is some low scoring in your skins game. 4 eagles in one round for the group is pretty impressive. As well as hitting the pin 4 times. I would say your short game is on fire or is that normal?
Your second eagle sounds amazing. Shots like you made are perfect since it dropped, but the things you navigated to make it happen were equally impressive. Thanks for sharing.
Well you have to remember we have a few very short par 4’s here. Still, 4 eagles isn’t normal for us.
That said, I had two more tonight myself. One from 243 and the other from one of the short 200 yard holes. Funny, but I only needed a four foot putt to get in on the longer hole. The shorter hole I was closer to 18 feet away.
As for my short game, it’s become pretty normal for me to hit pins with my chips. I get tons of practice both from all our games and the range being right out back. Tonight I don’t think I hit 4, but I missed at least that many by an inch or two. I’ve gotten to the point that missing my aim line by more than a couple feet has me feeling like I let myself down. Distance is another story though. I still find that I misjudge that more than I’d like sometimes either from the strike or just being too careful. But I dial that in faster now too. Practice is king for me for sure.
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The foundation to any solid game is being able to convert up and down shots. Sounds like your foundation is pretty solid. A drill I like is to set using alignment sticks or clubs at a few paces from my hitting area. https://thegratefulgolfer.com/2016/06/09/golf-drill-having-fun-with-chipping/
This is a fun drill but really helps with distance control.