At the start of the 2017 season I wrote an article about course management and how to improve your scoring by aiming to the safe parts of the greens at Deeside Golf Club.
Such was the positive response I was asked to do something similar for driving. This is slightly harder to do as you all hit the ball different distances and play from different tees every week.
The following will mean for most to play more conservative. It will certainly reduce the high digit numbers that wreck your scorecard each week and replace them with bogeys which for most of you will be net pars.
You will see in each picture a black horizontal line which signifies the wide dispersion area of the safe fairway/rough. You will then see a blue circle which represents your aim zone. What I have found is those that hit the ball 270 yards have a dispersion left to right of 65 yards (excluding outliers). Those that hit the ball 230 yards have a dispersion of 55 yards and those that hit the ball 200 yards a dispersion of 50 yards left to right.
The wide area of the fairway here is about 10 yards short of the right hand fairway bunker. The aim zone is right side of fairway as plenty of rough right and fairway left. This zone is about 220 yards off the white tees. Long hitters can try and draw it round the corner however run the risk of hitting it into the bunker if they hit it straight or into the trees/out of bounds left if they over curve the ball right to left.
For the shorter hitters laying up 10 yards short of the left hand fairway bunker is the play. The aim zone is right side of fairway as open rough area right and half the fairway left. This gives a good opportunity of knocking second shot down short of the fairway bunker leaving a mid to long iron/hybrid into the green for third shot.
The aim zone is middle/right of fairway trying to land equidistant from the left hand bridge which is circa 225 yards off the white tees. Anything longer than this presents the water hazard and bunkers right. Despite leaving another 200+ yards into the green it keeps you in play on this hole which is very important.
For the shorter hitters laying up short of the left hand bunker is the play. Plenty of space right to play out of ‘playable’ rough so the aim zone is right side of fairway.
Longer hitters that can carry the bunkers aim zone is left side of fairway or over far bunker. Miss left and you still have a shot despite having to play out of ‘playable’ rough. Anything right of the black line tends to leave a blocked second shot to the green due to trees right side of fairway.
You have the World to the left here so the aim zone for all is left side of fairway bordering into the left hand rough.
Shorter hitters there is surprisingly quite a lot of room left for those that hit to the corner of this dogleg. Middle left half of fairway is your aim zone.
If the pin is on the right (front) all players (even you long hitters) should be hitting short towards the left side of fairway. This leaves a pretty straightforward shot into the front right of green.
If the pin is left (back) it’s beneficial to get the ball as far up the fairway/left rough as possible to have a straight shot into the left back flag (instead of playing over the front bunker). Aim zone is again left side of the fairway.
An absolute card wrecker of a hole (statistically second hardest hole on the course). Go right and you’ll be lucky to get a chip out sideways. Miss left into the bunkers and some of you will be lucky to get onto the green in three shots nevermind two shots. Play here is short of the bunkers as illustrated by the black line and blue circle. It is the widest safest part of the fairway (60 yards left to right) and despite leaving a long second shot for the longer hitters its a pretty wide green to hit. Those of you that are shorter hitters should be playing this hole as a par 5 anyway (laying up short of water).
Shorter hitters should be laying up just short of the right bunker middle of fairway attempting to get their second shot either just short of the bump or in between bump and green.
Lots of space left here so utilise it. For those who cannot reach bunker the line is left side of fairway. This will allow you to potentially have a go at clearing the burn in two.
As you can see from the image below this fairway is maximum 30 yards wide (average dispersion for a 220 yard shot is 50 yards) so it’s a huge risk going long here. Laying up to the blue circle area (170 yards off tee) will give you greater opportunity of hitting into this wide green instead of chipping out sideways from trees.
Long hitters should be bursting this towards the left side of the green. Tweak it right and your ok, left is still not the end of the World. Those of you that can’t get close to the green should be favouring right side of fairway just short of bunkers. This gives you lots of room for the miss and a shot into the green.
For those of you that struggle to reach in two shots the blue circled area is the widest safe area. More room left and right than expected and gives a full lay up shot to burn.
For those that can reach in two I’d personally favour slight left side. If you hit a miss there’s still an opportunity of hitting green. Aim down the right side of the fairway here and miss right it leaves a near impossible second shot.
I hope the above has given you all something to think about whether you are a shorter hitter or longer hitter. Please try following the above and let me know how you get on. You should find you get less big numbers but may have slightly more bogeys. Nevertheless taking a 5 on a par 4 is much better than taking a 8 or 9.