Monday, October 24, 2011
3Jack Golf E-Book Preview
Here are some excerpts from my new e-book ‘2011 Pro Golf Synopsis’ which will hopefully be ready in December. I plan at pricing the e-book at $12.95.
From ‘How To Build a Ryder Cup Team’
THE FALLACY OF EXPERIENCE
What I find nonsensical and it is bound to happen every Ryder Cup, is the captain picking a golfer based on ‘experience.’ One of the golfers I’m sure will get a Captain’s Pick sometime down the road is Phil Mickelson, based upon his ‘experience.’ But Phil is a career 11-17-6 in the Ryder Cup.
What’s absurd about this line of thinking that ‘experience is so important' is that many golfers are actually proving to be poor Ryder Cup players instead of good Ryder Cup players. But instead of looking at it in that fashion, the captains continually go with the idea that experience trumps everything. It’s like that old saying that the ‘definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ If that was the case, just about every Ryder Cup captain over the years should be sent to an asylum.
It’s not that experience is not helpful, but a captain should disregard players who have proven that they do not play well in the Ryder Cup. I think the European teams have avoided these players over the years and are much more willing to give an unproven, young player a chance. That’s how players like Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia became great Ryder Cup players. Their captains didn’t care that they didn’t have experience and essentially had their best players play.
From ‘Statistical Conclusions’
The wedge game is an extremely overrated part of the game.
I hear about the importance of the wedge game quite often. In fact, the wedge industry has developed tremendously over the years with companies like Scratch Golf, Miura, Titleist (Vokey) and others doing millions in revenue from wedge sales each year.
The one thing about this statistical analysis is that any time a golfer can improve any facet of their game, it will help their scores, regardless of their level of play. But, there are certain facets of the game that have a great impact on a golfer’s score than others. From 75-100 yards out, the PGA Tour average is to leave the ball about 17 feet from the cup. And from 15-20 feet, PGA Tour golfers make an average of about 18% of those putts. The idea of ‘get a PGA Tour player inside 100 yards and they’ll get up and in with 2 shots’ is patently false. A golfer is far better off becoming a better player from the Danger Zone or a becoming a better driver of the ball or a better putter or developing a better short game around the green than they are at becoming a better wedge player from 75-125 yards.
The reason being is that a poor wedge player, will more often than not, leave the ball on the green. And if they miss the green, they are more likely to miss it in a makeable up and down position. Whereas a great wedge player is averaging shots in the 10-15 feet range where the odds of making the putt are only about 30%. Thus, a bad wedge player is much more likely to come away with the same score as a good wedge player if they are hitting from the same distance.
Compare that to the Danger Zone where the best Danger Zone player leaves themselves with about a 35 foot putt on average. But the worst can leave themselves with a shot that is 55+ feet from the green. A Tour player can 2-putt from 35 feet. But when they start missing by a wide margin, their odds of 2-putting or getting up and in from 55 feet drop dramatically. Thus, a bad Danger Zone player is less likely to come away with the same score as a good Danger Zone player if they are hitting from the same distance
Clubhead speed is usually a good indicator of a Tour player’s potential.
The Tour average clubhead speed with the driver is 112.5 mph. When looking at young golfers on Tour, they typically start off struggling in at least one of the major areas of the game (driving, putting, short game or Danger Zone). But, the players who tend to turn into something substantial on Tour are the ones who generate higher clubhead speeds, in particular the ones who are over 115 mph.
A Tour player is better off hitting it high than low.
Typically the high ball hitters do better. There’s a correlation to ball trajectory height and power. Furthermore, on the PGA Tour a high ball hitter can typically play any course whereas the low ball hitter can be at a large disadvantage at some courses, like Augusta National Golf Club.
And from ‘Player Summaries’
Earlier in the season golf pundits were proclaiming that Steve Marino was the ‘best player on Tour without a PGA Tour victory.’ That title should have belonged to Fowler who has yet to get his first official victory. Fowler is an elite Danger Zone player who hits it longer than Marino while generating the same amount of clubhead speed. He’s also a far better putter than Marino.
I expect Fowler to get an official victory early next season. Those are typically the best times for a golfer like Fowler to do so, playing in fields where he is the superior talent. The issue he had this year was early into the season he was struggling badly with his driving accuracy, which prevented him from winning those tournaments. In fact, when I first started doing the Advanced Total Driving statistics, he was ranked 153rd in the category. He then strung a good month together and got down in the 90th to 115th range, but by then the fields he was playing in were stronger and he kept just missing out on his first Tour win.
He did finish 55th in Advanced Total Driving in the 2010 season, so he has shown that he can drive the ball quite well. But, the clear strength in his game is his Danger Zone play and he turned out to be an elite putter as well. His big weaknesses is with his wedges. I doubt he’ll ever be a good wedge player from 75 to 130 yards out given his swing mechanics. His Short Game is equally as poor. However, he went to 4 wedges recently and then went out and won the Korean Open. If he can maintain his strong Danger Zone play and improve his wedge game and Short Game, then it’s worth it. If he starts to lose his effectiveness in the Danger Zone, he’ll need to thinking his strategy.