After the refutation of the MyGolfSpy article post, I received some feedback from MyGolfSpy that I would like to rebut.
Here is from the MyGolfSpy Twitter feed:
3.5 million data points sounds great, but the actual point is was making was not about sample size. It was the conclusions they were drawing from a chart that lacked very key and important data.
Here are some of the flaws I see with using this chart:
1. It actually does not show the total time spent. It shows the percentage of time a golfer works on certain parts of their game. For example, the chart shows that a 30 handicap works on their driver roughly 22.5% of their practice. And the 0-4 handicap works on their driver about 16% of their practice. If the 0-4 handicap practices for 5 hours a week, that means the golfer is getting 56 minutes of driver practice per week. If the 30-34 handicap is only putting in 30 minutes a week of practice time, then they would be projected to put in 6 minutes and 45 seconds of time on the driver.
2. The chart shows nothing in terms of improvement in any part of the game. It only shows the practice habits, in terms of percentage of time practicing a certain part of the game, for each handicap. We don’t know if golfers of different handicap ranges are actually improving in any way, shape or form in anything…even score.
3. Correlation does not imply causation. So while there is a correlation between practice time percentages of short game and handicap (supposedly), that does not necessarily mean that just because you practice a greater percentage of time you will have a lower handicap. A good example of correlation does not imply causation is in the NFL where QB’s that kneel down in the 4th quarter tend to win the game nearly 100% of the time. While true, it does not mean that being able to kneel down in the 4th quarter will win the team the game.
With this example of percentage of golf practice time, MyGolfSpy does not consider why lower handicaps are better golfers. Things like the total amount of practice time spent each week, how often they play, how long have they been playing, when they started playing, physical health, money spent on golf each year, age, etc. are all factors that were not considered in their conclusion from the chart.
I don’t think that was the point of my refutation. However, I think you did imply some criticism of Every Shot Counts as the book talked about how overrated the short game and putting was and how golfers should work on improving their long game more in order to lower scores. The MyGolfSpy article was trying to discredit that premise from Every Shot Counts.
In the end, I am actually not saying that the point of the MyGolfSpy article is absolutely 100% incorrect. I have not tested against this theory of practice time nor do I know of any other test of practice time and improvement. I would assume that the more time spent practicing a certain part of the game, the better the golfer will get at that part of the game. Therefore, practicing the long game and the driver more would logically help you improve those parts of the game and because the data shows how important the long game is to lowering scores, it would logically help the golfer more.
But again, that logic has not been tested either.
For this hypothesis to be more properly tested, we would need to see something like certain handicaps deciding to focus more of their practice time on one part of the game and what their scores were and then change the practice focus to the other part of the game and see what the scores were after that. We would also need to know how percentage of time practice works versus length of time practiced. That and many other aspects need to be considered to draw a more meaningful and accurate conclusion.