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Yeah - either he didn't want to give away the farm (fair) or the producers/editors thought the more technical stuff would lose the audience (could well be true). They also only had about 15 minutes of actual screen time. Tough to get a lot of detail in that timeframe.

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One thing I see people missing is the point Scott makes about moving your target away from the flag. The dispersion is going to leave approximately the same exact amount of shots near the hole for ea

First of all, when he's talking about aiming at something, he means centering your shot pattern on that thing, so if you play a fade, then you'd be aiming that further left. The goal is for the center

Imho it depends on what happens in the marked area (see screenshot). If you go for the green, you should be aiming at the left edge of the green: ~ 45% on the green (~avg 2 stokes) ~ 30% in the rou

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I just watched it. I had not seen him or knew of his system before. I thought it was interesting. He throws out a ton of numbers but it seemed pretty simple to me.

driver - learn your dispersion distance between your left and right misses. Then use that info and aim towards the side with the least amount of trouble.

miss in woods, behind trouble, etc... stop playing the 2 in 10 hero shot. Advance the ball nearer the hole. Overtime, this will improve your scores.

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jsut saw this guy on golf Chanel with Como. Do I hear him correctly say that aiming towards the woods on the right was preferred method to take out water on far left ? So a good shot is in the trees. Basically playing for the pull miss.

 

is this advice handicap or ability dependent ? Color me confused.

 

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His approach is based on expected score. With a driver (even for a tour pro), the average dispersion pattern is ~60 yards wide, meaning that pretty much all drives will fit in a window 60 yards wide. He has plenty of evidence to back this up, and this is at the PGA tour level.

If you aim down the middle of the fairway, a small percentage of your drives will end up in the water. The penalty for going in the water is so high compared to being in the rough that you're better off aiming towards the trees. Half the time you'll be in the fairway, and the other half you will be punching out...but importantly you will be taking a penalty drop 0% of the time.

If you think about it, its a medium length par 5....but aiming in the middle of the fairway you're going to make more birdies (and maybe some eagles), but you're also bringing 6+ into play with the water hazard. By taking the water out of play, the big number is out of play too.

His advice for driving typically works in reverse most of the time too - for the most part he advocates hitting driver as often as possible. Taking an iron off the tee on a Par 4 means that you will be in the fairway more often, but you're also further back, and your bad shots with an iron are especially bad as you're now in the rough and an extra 40 yards back...his approach does all the maths and helps you work out the optimal decision

Don't think about the "good shot" but instead consider all the possible shots you could hit. Hope that helps?

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I guess for a hooker of the ball. Maybe. But if I Aim at right trees and fade it. I’m OB.

 

so he’s about making 18 pars a round vs 4-5 birdies and 3 bogeys and trying to keep the “others” off the card ?

I get the theory of the analytics. But you’ll never convince a good player that aiming where a straight ball will kill you is a good idea. NoR do you see tour players win making pars on par 5s.

 

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Aiming in the sense Scott talks about it has nothing to to with shot shape, its just the center of you're expected outcome. If you typically don't hit it where you try to hit it, you need to accomodate for that.

He's not about making 18 Pars vs. 4-5 birdies and 3 bogeys. He's about the lowest score you can shoot with your game. You are absolutely right: Lowering your score is about keeping the "others" off the card - and that contains avoiding double bogeys due to penalty strokes.

He convinced several good players to aim away from hazards (actually this is exactly the opposite of being killed) - and it might be counter intuitive.

There is a difference between "tour players making pars on par 5s" and "tour players reducing their expected score". They will make birdies aiming away from the water and into the trees. And probably they will make more birdies aiming at the center of the fairway. And n the latter case they will make more Bogeys. Finding the balance is the key.

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First of all, when he's talking about aiming at something, he means centering your shot pattern on that thing, so if you play a fade, then you'd be aiming that further left. The goal is for the center of your shot pattern to wind up at the right tree. I would say a good example of a good player following this is to look at where Tiger Woods's tee shots have typically wound up on the 14th hole at the Players. He's very often finished in the right rough. That's because he knows if he aimed down the middle he would put some in the water (I know he has from time to time done that anyway). Look where his drives typically go on 18 as well. He aims it at the point that minimizes his expected score.

To break it down a little further. That shot on the TV where he said aim it at the right trees, his thinking would be roughly this:

Aim it in the middle and 15% of your shots are in the water. Expected score might be 6.1 from there. Another 5% are in the rough on the left between fairway and water. Expected score from there maybe 5.0. Hit the fairway 60% of the time, expected score 4.5. Hit the right rough 20% of the time and your expected score might be 5.0 again. Aim it 15 yards further right and you've got none in the water. 5% left rough, 5.0, 45% in the fairway, 4.5, 50% in the right rough, expected score 5.0. So aiming at the middle, your expected score is 4.87. Aim it at the right tree and your expected score is 4.78. Therefore aim at the right tree.

His whole point is that every shot you hit, you either gain a little bit or lose a little bit. If one shot option gains you a tenth of a shot and you pick that every time, you have a healthy advantage over someone who picks the other one. It's hard to deliberately make a birdie. His protocols are generally speaking very aggressive off the tee. Hit driver everywhere unless you have a very good reason not to, but then approach play is fairly conservative. Basically just by luck you'll hit it close from time to time and that's where the positive side of your shot variance comes in. The idea is to make sure that when the negative side comes in it doesn't cost you. Much easier to avoid bogeys than it is to make birdies. Even Tiger in 2000 only averaged birdieing about 25% of his holes and a whole heap of those were par fives.

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Well. I follow your words. But I’m not certain I understand exactly yet. So the alignment of the shot isn’t at the trees ? But it’s set to where no miss can get to the water , but a miss might make the trees ? If so that seems like common sense , no ? Most players subconsciously will miss away from trouble. At least that’s what I see.

 

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Think of aim as being the middle of your dispersion pattern, rather than what your eye is looking at. By "subconsiously missing away from trouble" what the player is doing is shifting the middle of their dispersion pattern away from the trouble so that they never miss in the water. Whether you aim at the trees and make a normal swing, or aim at the fairway and "subconsciously miss away from trouble" the shot pattern will be the same (a decent amount of shots in the RH trees, and none in the water).

What Scott preaches is that instead of relying on your subconscious to let you "miss away from the trouble", if you pick the proper target you can make your normal committed swing and trust that the maths is in your favour.

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So aim at right side of fairway and know you can’t miss that far left to get water . I guess.

but if I’m a guy who is never going to miss left. I would aim at the left side of the fairway and know that my miss at all left is left rough. He didn’t seem to like that idea on the show. And that’s what seemed like the advice for that situation only made sense for a natural drawer of the ball. I can hit a draw if I want to. But I’d never ever turn it toward water with a draw as I don’t feel in control of it like a fade.

 

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How DECADE defines "aim" is different to how you're talking about it above.

If you hit 100 drivers, the middle ball from where they end up is where you were "aiming", the way Scott talks about it. Nothing to do with where the ball starts, nothing to do with how it flies, or even where you were trying to hit it. The middle of your shot pattern is where you're aiming. Scott's research shows that even at tour pro level, the max left and max right shots with a driver will be approx 60 yards apart.

Even if you're looking down the left and "never miss left", if half your balls end up in the right rough then you were "aiming" at the right hand tree line. By making a swing that "never misses left" all you're doing is moving the center of where your shot distribution would be further to the right, just not consciously.

All of this debate is because the water is such a big penalty...if its more trees, or just longer rough on the left then the strategy is simply to send it as far down as you can when you can find your ball.

 

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Aiming central ball pattern at trees doesn't make sense, assuming those are real trees that will block your ball flight. If you end up hitting it into the trees (which is either if you hit it straight or to one side), you'll probably lose a shot as well just like the water hazard, if not more. So why not aim left side of fairway? Regardless, it's basically golf poker, calculating the probabilities on the fly. However it's more complicated because you don't really know for sure what cards you hold. Como must have been like OK, I follow your instructions, hit it perfectly and now I'm penalized by having to pitch out. Wonderful.

Basically you should know your tendencies. If you aim somewhere, how likely is the ball going to fly left or right or straight? Pro's like to limit misses to one side, so they know where the edge limit is. Of course their misses are much smaller, and while it may be 60 yards, those are really small possibilities in the bell curve, way out to the edges for them. Of course for amateurs it's easy to beat that 60 yard spread (ahem, the wrong way). For high handicappers yes they should aim at the trees. But if you are a better player it doesn't make sense. Like if there was water right, I usually aim left close to the bunkers.

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I think the 60-65 yards wide driver shot pattern is 95th percentile. Not 100th. He has all sorts of data from shot tracker. He looks at holes where virtually all are hitting driver and there is even trouble on each side so everyone is aiming down the middle. Shot tracker shows where they all end up and they’re all over the place. It’s probably 100 yards from leftmost to rightmost. But the middle 95% is right around 65 yards wide.

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Yes. That’s what I was thinking. Sure. A 20 cap should aim away from the water at the trees. But for a good player. Imagine the psychological impact of hitting 3 perfect shots a round that you intentionally aimed into the trees. You may as well quit. Never aim where a straight ball will hurt you. Period.

 

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Lots of Ifs and Butts.

 

I get what you’re saying. And what he’s trying to say. But I don’t know how it gains teeth without considering skill level and intended shot shape?

I play with another guy. Older player. He might miss left of his footline 1 time in 65 rounds a year. I mean he plays a fade to the end. Over the top and holding on. He should aim in the water. Not at the trees. I’m not sure how you can lump all into one basket ?

 

and as for alignment. Surely he isn’t advocating for a 60 yard wide alignment thought ? You absolutely have to align your person to some point , somewhere ? No ?

 

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One consideration that hasn't been mentioned is that the tee shown on that episode is so rare during any given round that it shouldn't be used as the shining example to discount the method. On my home course, there is not a single hole where I'm forced to aim at trouble on one side to avoid trouble on the other, either because the fairways are wide enough to accommodate the full 60 yard miss or because there is a viable aim point short of all the trouble that I can club down and not still be 250 yards out on my approach.

I honestly think it was a poor choice on their part to showcase that tee shot on the show...sure, you use a relatively extreme case study, but it only leads to confusion and doubt.

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I think we're getting hung up on how DECADE defines what aim means. Aim (as defined here) is the middle of where your shot pattern will end up, not where you want to start it. I hit a fade with my driver too, and absolutely I will be starting the ball left of where I want to finish.

If your friend hit 100 drives, there would be a ball in the middle of that pile which represents here his shot pattern is aimed. I guarantee that if he played the hole in question, and hit 100 balls so that none ended up in the water, that middle ball would be in the right hand side of the fairway or trees. Even if he thought he was aiming at the water or down the fairway, the middle of the shot pattern would be on the right hand side of the fairway or there would be a bunch of balls in the water.

I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a couple of pulls or double crosses out of the bunch...even though they are rare, you can't control when they happen so you have to account for that when considering where to go.

Where we has trying to hit it doesn't matter, its where the average of his shot pattern is that is how decade defines aim.

With a driver, you're essentially shooting a shotgun with a spray 60 (unless you're better than a PGA tour driver) yards wide with a driver, and you have to figure out where to aim the shotgun so that none of the shot ends up in the water. How you swing the club doesn't matter, its where the bullets end up that matter.

I don't think we're disagreeing, both you and scott would make sure that no balls end up in the water :)

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If my region doesn’t completely shut down tournament season, I’m probably going to go this route. Appreciate the reviews and input from current subscribers.

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https://youtu.be/ziCTTnmGPzUJust watch this, easier than explaining through text.

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Thank you!!!

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Only responding to the "playing for the pull miss."

You aren't playing for the pull miss. You're playing the percentages. No one is a perfect driver of the golf ball. Even Rory has a shotgun pattern with the big dog. When you aim at the tree, you know how far left and right you are likely to miss the ball on an average swing. Not a horrendous swing where you would hit it in the water no matter how far right you aimed, but a typical swing where maybe your ball drew a little too much or started a little left. If you're a fader, you're mitigating the risk of pulling it in the water and taking a penalty stroke.

Something Scott talks about a lot is committing to your target. If your ideal target coming into a green is 12' left of a pin. You're centering your "shot pattern" on that 12' left of pin target and committing with everything you have to trying to hit your shot to 12'. You're not over the ball hoping that you push it or fade it a little to get closer to the pin. You're committing to the target and will be ecstatic if you put it there because that means you hit a great shot. If you happen to get lucky and get closer to the pin, that's great. If you miss it a bit left and have 25' that's fine too. you'll take your par (or lucky birdie) and move on.

Same thing with driving the ball. You aim your shotgun at the tree and try 100% to hit it there, about half the time you'll hit the fairway. Half the time you'll be in the trees. 0% of the time on a decent swing you'll be in the water taking a penalty stroke.

Scott has a driving decision tree video on his YouTube channel that is free to watch. He goes through a lot more examples of his home course and some of the tough driving holes out there. He also makes the point to say that sometimes a golf hole is just hard and Decade doesn't work. But he's found that Decade is applicable for more than 90% of shots you face and if you're deviating from Decade more than a couple times per round, you're probably overthinking it.

 

EDIT: To answer your question. Decade's effectiveness is somewhat handicap dependent. If you aren't breaking 100, you probably DO need better course management, but you will see MORE gains from a more consistent golf swing than from playing the percentages this way. I think Scott recommends the full version of Decade for approx. 10 handicaps or better (I could be wrong here, but that's what I remember from watching the intro content).

He has created a "Decade Foundations" program for higher handicappers and juniors that may be worth checking out if you fall into that category. It's essentially Decade Lite and ramps you into using Decade by breaking down your "lessons" into weeks or months instead of just giving you full access to all 20+ hours of video. There's probably more information about Foundations somewhere on his Twitter or website. I haven't looked much into it but plan on watching the videos at some point since they're included with my subscription.

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It’s just an odd way of thinking to me. I’m an aggressive player off the tee and very aggressive on approach. I read greens from the fairway and decide where to aim based on slope vs shot shape , to hopefully work the ball toward the hole. The only time I’ll commit to a target that isn’t the pin , is if it’s so tucked that A miss will leave me dead. Then I’ll commit to a safe side of the green and play for par.

just sounds soo passive to me. Like every birdie is an accident. I don’t think any good player hopes for happy accidents. They accept them when they come along sure. But they intend to make good things happen. Not wait and hope.

 

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How far does your friend hit the ball? If he's hitting it 240, his shot pattern is going to be smaller than someone hitting it 300.
After reading through your rebuttals, I'd like to comment that everyone has a different sized shot pattern. Scott has just found that 60 yards wide is a common enough number for the pros and ams that he works with. This allowed him to generalize Decade so that he can scale it and sell it to people like me who will probably never work 1 on 1 with him.
For someone like me that carries the ball 285 and rolls out to 295+, the 60 yard pattern is a pretty good representation of my driving. I swing a push draw swing. So I line up a little left and expect that my ball will start right. I'd say that 65% of my balls end up landing right of my footline, but I know this ahead of time so I'm still centering my "shotgun".
I think @Ty_Webb mentioned it and I did in my previous comment, but I will reiterate. You are not aiming right on that Como hole so that you will NEVER hit it in the water. You're aiming right so that a decent swing doesn't find the water. Decent doesn't mean good or great. Just a "whatever" miss hit. If you snap hook it, you're finding the water. If you block slice it, you may lose your ball. Decade doesn't plan for those swings. Scott believes that no one can plan for those and I agree. Bad swings happen. No one knows when a horrendous swing will happen, but those terrible swings are outliers in your golf round.

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I don’t use decade but there seems to be a thought that hitting it in the trees is the same penalty as hitting it in the water and I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

I’m guessing that putting it in the trees is likely a quarter stroke penalty on average. If the danger was similar on both sides (water on both), the advice would probably be to hit a shorter shot so that the dispersion fits between the true hazards.

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He carries driver around 245ish.

 

you and I are definitely inside the 60 yard cone so to speak. So I get the differences too.

 

And it’s not that I’m a detractor , at least not on purpose. It’s that I’m a guy who tries to understand the mindset. That’s always what drives ideas and theories. It’s a persons mindset. He obviously plays a very conservative game. He even says so. Doesn’t make him wrong overall. But I don’t think the data supporting his idea makes him 100% correct either. But I’m open to understanding the mindset more and would change my mind if it began to make more sense to me. Which is why I question. To gain more input.

 

im the guy who averages a lot of birdies. Since Jan 1 I’m under par overall on par 5s and 3s. Yet a tick over par on par 4s. Which is why my scoring average is hovering just over 72. So I see that I’m too aggressive on some par 4s. But I also see that if I implemented a passive aim on all holes I’d likely go UP in scoring average on par 5s and 3s.

so where I am is trying to minimize the big number and bogeys on par 4s ... not make less birdies and more pars. Now. I’m interested in this because I don’t have a proven plan to do what I want to yet. But. I’ve looked at this vs my play on par 5s and 3s recently and it does not fit what I’m doing. I don’t want to throw cold water on my strengths to maybe minimize my weakness. If that makes sense ? As far as I can tell my real issue is the occasional brain spasm on par 4 approaches. It’s not being lost off the tee. It’s from Approach and then failure to get up and down. So maybe the best course is to just try a conservative par 4 approach for a time and see if the bogeys come down ?

 

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Right. It is a very passive style (ETA: for the outsider looking in). It also may not be a very fun style for someone like you to play. If you enjoy shaping the ball both ways and don't see yourself ever stopping, it isn't something that you should buy. Scott's philosophy is that everyone has a stock shot shape and you should play that shot shape on 99% of the shots that you face. There are some exceptions, but if you're committed to playing by Decade, you're not shaping it both ways. Some holes or courses just won't suit your game. That's fine by him. Your game is going to be more consistent.

I think the "don't try to make birdies" aspect that he preaches is more of a state of mind than anything. Good players make birdies. Sometimes these birdies are accidental. Like when you aimed at the middle of the green from 190 but pushed it a little and it ended up close. You're not trying to miss hit the ball and you're not trying to miss putts. You just don't care about the outcome. One of the goals of Decade is expectation management. You know that you are statistically unlikely to make a 20' putt, so you don't get riled up when you miss a couple that some one else would say they "should have made." You analyze each shot and whether or not your process was solid. If it was and you were committed, you add +1 to your mental scorecard and keep plugging along. The birdies come. Not as a result of trying any harder, but because you are a good player and good players make birdies. Some rounds you're going to be hot and make more birdies than average. Some rounds the opposite will happen. That's just golf whether you're playing by Decade or not.

Also, you're going to be hitting driver often using Decade. So, course depending, you're probably going to have a lot of wedges into greens. Unless the pin is tucked, you're probably taking dead aim at that pin. A good player with a wedge in hand will make birdies and they won't be from getting lucky on a miss-hit. Those birdies will be skill driven. Probably wedging it well and making a good putt.

There are also par 5's. If it's reachable, you're probably going for it in 2. You'll find some birdies there.

So not every birdie is a happy accident per say. But every birdie is the result of multiple good shots with a touch of luck.

Decade is about bogey avoidance and expectation management for the times when you don't have a wedge as your approach club from the fairway. By following Decade, you know that a PGA Tour pro is making 2.99 from 160 yards away in the fairway. So when you hit your knockdown 8 to 25' and 2 putt, you don't walk off that green disappointed or thinking that one got away.

That's how Decade has helped me. The expectation management. It keeps me much more mentally even.

And sorry for the delay in this response. I started to type back but had to call into a meeting. So if my train of thought seems disjointed, that's why. lol

 

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I think it's pretty case dependent. But, I will say that if you hit it in the water; where will your drop be from? I didn't get a chance to watch Scott on Como's show, so if that water hazard was all carry and you're essentially re-teeing, it's better to be in the trees. You're "penalized" by punching out, but if you think about that punch out compared to the drop, you're probably in a better spot.

To your second idea, it definitely depends on the hole. Scott has posted his driving decision tree for free on YouTube. About a 45 minute video where he breaks down the decision tree with examples from his home club. If there's water on both sides and you have 60 yards between them, you're hitting driver. If it's narrower than 60 yards at your landing area, you evaluate whether or not you should lay back with a shorter club. If your 3w landing area is still narrow you evaluate further. If that 3rd club down is still narrow, you're probably just accepting that it's a hard hole and you're gonna "just send it" with driver and accept the outcome. Caveat being that you don't "force" driver into narrow places (between bunkers, hazards, etc) when you'll already have a wedge in your hand by laying back.

That is a huge oversimplification of his decision tree, but the video is on his YT if you want to take a look.

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Right. I agree with you and don't think you're trying to be a "detractor" at all. Definitely appreciate that you're interested in understanding the reasoning behind the approach and I'll do my best to try to convey it to you without giving away too much specific information out of respect for the business that Scott is trying to run.

Scott loves Tiger's quote of "being aggressive to my spots." I think this could be applicable to your par 4 game without kneecapping your strengths on par 5's and 3's. Out of fear of repeating myself, I'll wait for you to see the reply I just posted a few minutes ago and will dive into whatever response you have to that. I think it should answer some of the questions from this comment and will get us back responding on one comment thread to make things easier.

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