Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Tour Bunker Play 1980-2012
Recently, I compiled the Tour average sand save percentage for each year, starting from 1980. Here's the results.
What's interesting is that the best sand save percentage occured from 1989-2001. And the best year was 2000 with an average sand save percentage of 53.81%.
Since 2001, the Tour has failed to average above 50% on sand saves. And at this time, the Tour's average sand saves are about where they were in 1983-1988.
I do not like the 'sand save' metric because it doesn't account for the golfer who may make sand saves with better putting than actual bunker skill. However, I think it gives a reasonable ballpark of sand play. But, the key is that all of the data I've encountered is that Tour golfers make more putts today than they did in yesteryear. This is presumably due to the smoother putting surfaces.
So, it's a bit surprising to see that sand saves today are about where they were in 1983-1988. And considering that the data suggests that golfers made fewer putts in 1983-1988, you have to think that Tour players from '83-'88 may have been more skilled in the bunkers.