Monday, August 3, 2009

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics...

For the past six weeks I've been steadfast on keeping my stats of golf rounds. About 90% of my rounds of golf took place at either Windermere Golf Club or Olde Atlanta Club, both 139 slopes. Here's what I got for the stats:

FWYS HIT: 78.3%
GIR: 66.0%

As we can see, the ballstriking appears to be pretty good. Especially the Fwys Hit which is at a higher percentage than any golfer on the PGA Tour. Of course, they play tighter courses and I hit it about 280-290 off the tee which is below average by Tour standards. There's a bit of a dip in GIR, but a lot of that is due to poor course management. The putting was terrible early on, but it resurrected itself quite nicely and now I'm probably averaging about 30 putts per round. And then of course there's the abysmal Scramble Percentage.

Part of this is due to some poor execution of iron play and poor course management. A few months ago a 5 handicapper asked me what he needed to do to get to a scratch handicap and I replied 'improve your ballstriking.' He rebutted that he had hit 12 greens that day and then I went over his round with him explaining that he went into 2 hazards that day, almost all of his birdie putts were 25 feet long and when he missed a green he missed it badly and even Seve Ballesteros in his prime couldn't get up and down from that.

While the Tour Pros have fantastic short games, most of them have to be able to hit 14+ greens and fire at some flagsticks on a semi-consistent basis if they are going to go low and keep their Tour card.

After doing some statistical analysis, I found that if I can hit 14 GIR, I have a good chance of shooting under par and a decent shot of shooting in the 60's. With that, I've renewed my approach to the game and making it a priority to hit greens in regulation. If I have a 9-iron or less into the green, I can go right at the flag. If I have more, but a good shot at the green, I can now work a fade or a draw to the pin. And now that I am comfortable with my wedge yardages, I no longer feel the need to go for par 5's in two all of the time. Plus, if I get in trouble on a par 4, I can now just hit the ball to one of the specified wedge yardages and still come away with a par.

The other problem I had was I had realized that I play Windermere much better when I play it aggressively. I took that approach to Olde Atlanta as well. However, I later found out that I need to play conservatively at Olde Atlanta and aggressively at Windermere.

Here's a look at the holes I struggled the most at Windermere and Olde Atlanta.


#11 (Par 3)
#16 (Par 4)
#17 (Par 3)
#2 (Par 3)
#1 (Par 4)

#11 is a tough, 231 yard par-3 uphill. I've only hit the green 28.3% of the time. I could lower my average score by putting better (averaging 1.85 putts on the hole). This is a hole that should be considered a 'bogey hole' and just avoid double bogeys.

#16 is a ridiculous par 4 that is poorly designed. I've hit this fairway 69.2% of the time, but only hit the green 46.1% of the time. Much like #11, it's a 'bogey hole' and better putting (averaging 2.1 putts on the hole) would help reduce scores. However, both #11 and #16 have extremely difficult greens. I have yet to 'chart' these holes.

#17 is actually a very easy par 3. However, I've only hit this green an anemic 38.5% of the time. For some reason the hole doesn't fit my eye and it may need for me to drop a few balls and figure out how to hit the tee shot. For some reason I hit the ball fat on this hole, so I think trying to shallow out the plane with a draw swing may be the answer.

#2 is a 241 yard par-3. I've actually hit this green 53.9% of the time. I feel I've got a better idea of how to chip on this green (change of wedge to chip with).

#1 is a 460 yard par-4 with an elevated green. I've actually hit this green 76.7% of the time, but it's very difficult to get anything close and is an extremely tough green to putt on. I've average 1.923 putts on the green. I think avoiding 3 putting and working more on speed on the first putt can help lower the scores.


#3 (Par 3)
#4 (Par 4)
#10 (Par 4)
#2 (Par 4)
#6 (Par 4)

#3 is a 200 yard par-3. The main problem here has been the lack of putts made (1.91 putts average).

#4 is a short par-4, but I've struggled with some of the approach shots (54.5% GIR) and struggle with making putts on the green (2.00 putts average).

#10 is a short, tight par-4. I was too aggressive at first, hitting driver all of the time. Then I struggle with finding what club I needed to hit off the tee.

#2 is a short, tight par-4. I played this hole too aggressively for awhile by using a driver off the tee and thinking a well struck drive would make it a birdie hole. But I never birdied it until I teed off with a hybrid.

#6 is a hybrid off the tee, and then a 7 or an 8-iron on the approach. The fairways hit are good (72.7%), but the GIR has struggled (54.5%).

With these statistics I can now focus and attack the problem hole in a different fashion and look at what needs to be improved on my game. I will post an update in about 4-6 weeks.



Anonymous said...

Tour players dont hit a average of 14 greens unrealistic!

Rich H. said...

Good point. What I meant to say was that on the courses that I play...while not exactly easy (usually in the 140 slope range) they would hit 14 GIR with ease in my estimation.

Greg Brown said...

Tour players play much tougher courses and setups. I know after being on some of the greens during the tourney at the TPC of Scottsdale that many players would never be able to hold the greens with anything less than a short iron....also they would really struggle with chipping and pitching due to the speed. The rough would eat up anything less than the best players.

and yes that is one of the easier courses to play on tour. I played a career round for me (8 handicap) and shot 82 the week before the tourney.

Anonymous said...

With that in mind a player must birdie 3 of the 4 par 5's get up and down 65 to 70% of the greens he or she misses and make 1 birdie inside 7 ft theres even par.

cal7426 said...

With regard to that #17 at Windermere it may be that the tee box is aligned off centre to the green - or some kind of optical illusion. There is a hole at my home course where the tee is off-kilter with the fairway and I really struggle with alignment. You may hit it fat because your subconscious mind knows your set-up is awry.

While I'm here, just want to say I enjoy the blog and appreciate the effort you put in.

Rich H. said...

Thanks for the kind words, Cal. I'll have to look into that tee box on 17. Makes sense.

12Hit said...

Go Rich!

If only my tee shots are half as good as yours.

BTW, how do you keep all the stats? By what mean do you record the result for each hole?

Rich H. said...

I put them in an excel spreadsheet.

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