Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Which Stats Matter Most

A few years ago I ran some statistics to find what correlates best to stroke average on the PGA Tour. I found some interesting stats, but here's what Mark Sweeney of AimPoint Golf (www.aimpointgolf.com) came up with (in order) as to what correlates to stroke average on the Tour:

1. GIR
2. Putts per GIR
3. Double-bogey (or worse) rate
4. Scrambling
5. Go For Its
6. Putts per round
7. Driving Distance
8. Driving Accuracy
As you can see, ballstriking is more important than given credit to by most amateurs. As Sweeney points out, the reason why GIR correlates so strongly to stroke average is that if you hit a GIR, you greatly decrease the likelihood for a bogey and practically eliminate any chance of making a double bogey, unless you 4-putt.

'Go For It's is the amount of times the golfer legitimately goes for a par-5 in two. Even if they don't make it, according to Sweeney statistics show that if you can legitimately 'go for it', the average score drops. 'Go For Its' and GIR are a big reason why I believe length is a great equalizer in golf. Provided I have some accuracy off the tee, golfers who are longer can go for a par-5 in two more often. Also, length helps on those long par-4's and long par-3's when it comes to hitting GIR's. I play with one golfer who hits his driver a legit 330+ yards off the tee and hits his 7-iron a legit 200 yards. He's not as accurate as I am, but when I'm hitting a 4-iron or a 3-hybrid on a long par-3 or as an approach to a long par-4 and then he steps up and hits a good drive and has a 9-iron into the same green, that's a huge advantage (not to mention playing par 5's like par 4's and essentially making a par 72 into a par 68).

Sweeney stated that one of the reasons why driving accuracy is so low in importance is that there is no measure as to how off line a golfer misses their drive. Golfer A could just miss the fairway and be in the first cut of rough and Golfer B could hit one O.B, but they still both count as a missed fairway. Again, that's where I believe the Double Bogey (or worse) rate comes into play.

Today was a perfect example as I shot a +2, 73. I wound up bogeying 4 out of 5 holes on the front. But the key was I avoided double bogeys and then eventually hit 9 of the last 10 greens, avoided some 3-putts and wound up shooting a respectable round of golf.

Grasp the concept of this video by Jeff Evans and you'll start hitting more greens, getting more 'go for its' and reducing your amount of double bogeys.



Anonymous said...

I might add one to the top of the list:
ANHBLP= The averige number of the hits before the last putt.
Great blog!!

Anonymous said...

Do drivable PAR 4s count in 'go for its' stats I wonder?

Rich H. said...

I doubt drivable par 4's count in go for its. I'll have to find out.