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Strokes Gained and Faster Improvement

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Benz View Post

    With all due respect, I think you should at least view the points in this book with a more critical eye.

    Comparisons between professionals and amateurs are interesting and (probably) unique to golf because both groups play under similar circumstances. That said, the comparisons have limited application value because neither group is homogeneous.

    Any amateur wanting to improve his game must begin by examining his own game rather than comparing it to the game of the average professional.

    Also, the premise that putting is not part of the short game is somewhat dubious. Putting is the very essence of 'short game'.

    In any case, you have to establish a performance baseline for each element of your game and then see where (and why) you're losing shots. If you don't address those issues that are specific to you, then you will see very little improvement because you may be improving in areas that really won't make a difference to your game while foregoing opportunities to improve in other areas that will.
    I think you raise a really good point regarding my own personal game...our difference lies in how I think I can address an issue like chipping yips. I think you are 100% right that no group is homogeneous and everyone should be doing an individual analysis of their own strengths and weaknesses. That being said, averages of groups are a good place to start and can guide said analysis.

    I think weakness in analysis lies in how most amateurs are gathering the data and how amateurs misinterpret data or have too high expectations for what is achievable. How many of us are still recording stats like fairway %, GIR, putts per round, and up-and-down percentage when they are flawed stats (fairway % bothers me the most as it ranks a tee shot in the first cut the exact same as an ob drive).

    And to correct myself, you are right that putting should be included in "short-game" I believe Broadie had measured shots inside 100 as "shots around the green" This is to differentiate the different skill of hitting pitches, with the different movement of putting. I myself struggle with "shots around the green" but actually consider myself to be a decent putter (I am use to having a lot of 10-15 footers for par after a poor chip). It's just being a bit more specific for myself in determining what it is I struggle at.
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    • #32
      I'm of the opinion that the game starts at 150 yards in because the vast majority of trouble lies in that yardage.

      A par 3 course like Turnberry is an ideal practice ground to experience all those challenges in that range.
      Things change.

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      • #33
        I think Broadie's analysis is flawed, from both a statistical standpoint and common sense standpoint. He doesn't normalize strokes gained, so SG of the tee is not comparable to SG putting. He also only looks at averages, and ignores material correlations.

        Also, why is it that pro golf tournaments have always been described as putting contests?
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        • #34
          There is a strategy course/program that does an interesting test that proves Brodie wrong. I couldn't find the youtube vid in 5min so gave up but maybe some of you have seen this...

          They call it a "perfect drive" experiment, where they place the ball in the fairway about 250 out and the player starts from this perfect drive position, usually with a wedge in their hand unless it is a par 5. What they found is that most players shoot within a couple strokes of their hcp bc their short approaches are still wide/short, their chips are still sometimes duffed or far from pin, and their lag putts suck when they do manage to eek onto the green.

          Drives that are 20yards longer won't drop your scores as much as chips that are 8 feet closer imo.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by SmoothBomber View Post
            Drives that are 20yards longer won't drop your scores as much as chips that are 8 feet closer imo.
            Nobody was on the course so I played 2 balls. 1 scorecard for all of the best drives (another 20 yards) over 9 holes and the other scorecard used the worst drives.

            #1 scorecard was 5 strokes better (over 9 holes), so approx. 1/2 stroke a hole.
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            • #36
              Originally posted by TourIQ View Post
              Nobody was on the course so I played 2 balls. 1 scorecard for all of the best drives (another 20 yards) over 9 holes and the other scorecard used the worst drives.

              #1 scorecard was 5 strokes better (over 9 holes), so approx. 1/2 stroke a hole.
              I had a similar result playing best vs worst ball for entire hole playing 2 balls at Humber in November. -2, +4 over 9 holes. While my best was 6 shots better than my worst, it would not be 6 better than a regular round with a mix of good and bad holes. Similarly, I think even though your best drives outperformed your worst by 5 strokes, the gap between all best drives and a regular 1 ball round with a mix of good and bad would be much smaller than 1/2 stroke per hole. Sample size is also an issue here.

              To my point on chips and short pitches being more valuable...

              Lets say you have 14 drives in your round of 18. That's 7 strokes best vs worst so lets say 4-5 strokes better than a regular round where at least some of your drives will be good. And this is already a bigger improvement than the results of the guys I referenced.

              Assuming you hit 6 GIR in a round (about average for a low 80s shooter?), you will have 12 (hopefully) short pitches or chips.
              Being 8ft closer on every chip likely yields gains at least as big as the better drive, although this depends on how close your average was to begin with.

              Granted this is all hypothetical and both of our improvement examples are over super short samples. The guys I referenced before who did the 'perfect drive' test were working with a sample size of thousands of holes played by dozens of players so their results are quite a bit more valid and showed just a few strokes improvement for the entire round.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by SkyMark View Post
                I think Broadie's analysis is flawed, from both a statistical standpoint and common sense standpoint. He doesn't normalize strokes gained, so SG of the tee is not comparable to SG putting. He also only looks at averages, and ignores material correlations.

                Also, why is it that pro golf tournaments have always been described as putting contests?

                I'm not too sure what you mean by he doesn't normalize strokes gained. The whole point of strokes gained is that everything is compared to how many shots on average it takes to hole out from a given distance from a given lie. You can track how many strokes a tee shot gained vs. how many strokes a putt gained making them exactly comparable. Also not sure what you mean by material correlations and why that is better than statistical averages.
                Last edited by yertu; Jan 11, 2019, 10:24 AM. Reason: spelling
                WITB

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by SmoothBomber View Post

                  To my point on chips and short pitches being more valuable...

                  Lets say you have 14 drives in your round of 18. That's 7 strokes best vs worst so lets say 4-5 strokes better than a regular round where at least some of your drives will be good. And this is already a bigger improvement than the results of the guys I referenced.

                  Assuming you hit 6 GIR in a round (about average for a low 80s shooter?), you will have 12 (hopefully) short pitches or chips.
                  Being 8ft closer on every chip likely yields gains at least as big as the better drive, although this depends on how close your average was to begin with.

                  Granted this is all hypothetical and both of our improvement examples are over super short samples. The guys I referenced before who did the 'perfect drive' test were working with a sample size of thousands of holes played by dozens of players so their results are quite a bit more valid and showed just a few strokes improvement for the entire round.
                  I have not yet seen the video you are referencing but you are telling me that over a couple thousand holes by dozens of players showed a few strokes improvement. I don't think a few strokes is anything to brush off as unimportant... and that's just by working on hitting good drives. Factor in the better approach shots and i think you get an even bigger improvement. Remember just because they hit a wedge doesn't automatically make it a short game shot, anything over 100 yards qualifies as an approach shot and thus a long game shot.

                  Your GIR reference is one of the reasons why I find normal statistics possibly misleading...it assumes the a missed GIR is a result of the approach shot, it also could have been the result of a poor drive but still a decent approach that requires no short game on the hole whatsoever.

                  I would agree that 8 ft closer is something everyone would love on their chips but just exactly how big of an improvement that is depends on how good you were already (not feasible for someone who is already averaging say 10 ft on all chips), the improvement would have to be a percentage of the original average distance.


                  WITB

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by yertu View Post


                    I'm not too sure what you mean by he doesn't normalize strokes gained. The whole point of strokes gained is that everything is compared to how many shots on average it takes to hole out from a given distance from a given lie. You can track how many strokes a tee shot gained vs. how many strokes a putt gained making them exactly comparable. Also not sure what you mean by material correlations and why that is better than statistical averages.
                    You have more strokes to make after a drive than after a putt, so naturally good golfers will have higher strokes gained off the tee. So SG off the tee should be normalized to compare to SG on the green.

                    Let's say you do hit a great drive on a par four, you still have to hit two more good shots for a birdie. But if you're GIR, you only need to make one more good shot for birdie.

                    So I don't think SG of the tee and SG on the green are commensurable metrics.
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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by yertu View Post

                      I have not yet seen the video you are referencing but you are telling me that over a couple thousand holes by dozens of players showed a few strokes improvement. I don't think a few strokes is anything to brush off as unimportant... and that's just by working on hitting good drives. Factor in the better approach shots and i think you get an even bigger improvement. Remember just because they hit a wedge doesn't automatically make it a short game shot, anything over 100 yards qualifies as an approach shot and thus a long game shot.

                      Your GIR reference is one of the reasons why I find normal statistics possibly misleading...it assumes the a missed GIR is a result of the approach shot, it also could have been the result of a poor drive but still a decent approach that requires no short game on the hole whatsoever.

                      I would agree that 8 ft closer is something everyone would love on their chips but just exactly how big of an improvement that is depends on how good you were already (not feasible for someone who is already averaging say 10 ft on all chips), the improvement would have to be a percentage of the original average distance.

                      Ok we are working with different definitions if a full wedge of 120y isn't short game and a missed green somehow results in no short game shots....you still have to chip on and putt.
                      I wish I could find the vid but the point was that if you take even long hitters and put them on the red tees, they shoot about the same score, even if you place the ball in the fairway where an ideal drive would end up. Getting up and down more often and improving putting yeild much greater gains than increased distance and a bit more accuracy off the tee...as long as you don't spray it so much you go OB with regularity.
                      The results showed in that elusive vid pretty much mirror mine as I hit well early but just didn't know how to score and my scores on short courses were pretty much the same as on long ones...bad.

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                      • #41
                        To be honest gkskala is my other id....
                        i just didnt have good memory posting here...i mean some of you might know...
                        i apologize deeply if i was rude, i didnt mean to rude but who knows the replying person was some religion "you know" religion.....im a Christian i mean to tell you the "you know" religion might of replied to me by crazy obeying bs......

                        i will stop cuz this might sound crazy but i know im not crazy
                        i just wanted to tell you my best guessing and i think it was the "you know" religion.. the crazy replier if you know what i mean ...

                        i apologizw deeply for not being professional few years ago when i posted those things..i guess i was a bit confused for 1-2 weeks becauase of "you know" religion...

                        im sure you guys all understood..cuz all of you are smart...

                        thanks guys....
                        have a good night :-)

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Forbzy14 View Post
                          Strokes Gained is the gold standard of quantitative golf statistics. The individuals in this thread that disagree with yertu and Fore Warned have clearly not read Every Shot Counts or understand what the strokes gained metric truly is.
                          .
                          Not sure how I got teamed up with yertu on this one, but I am in the Dave Peltz camp of short game improvement as a better way to improve scoring. But I have not read Broadie.

                          One aspect of this debate that I don't think we have touched upon in this discussion is course management and that probably affects the long game more than anything else. Amateurs can and do lose a lot of stokes and invoke penalties in the long game due to poor course management, either by trying to save bad drives with risky rescue shots, thereby compounding errors, or trying to go long and end up in trouble when a layup or more strategic placement might get better total results.

                          So improvement in the long game is not necessarily just a matter of hitting longer, but rather playing smarter. But pitching, chipping and putting improvement is largely where I am at, as well as better accuracy in the long game even if that means leaving the driver in the bag to keep the ball in play.

                          Fortunately there are no rules limiting the number of golf balls you can carry during a match!

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by SkyMark View Post

                            You have more strokes to make after a drive than after a putt, so naturally good golfers will have higher strokes gained off the tee. So SG off the tee should be normalized to compare to SG on the green.

                            Let's say you do hit a great drive on a par four, you still have to hit two more good shots for a birdie. But if you're GIR, you only need to make one more good shot for birdie.

                            So I don't think SG of the tee and SG on the green are commensurable metrics.
                            I mean no offence but I don't think that you understand what the strokes gained metric actually measures. Whether off the tee, approach, or around the green, all strokes gained does is give an objective value on whether the shot you hit gained strokes (improved against an average) or lost strokes (was a worst shot than average). How much worse is the number of strokes gained or lost.

                            A bit confusing but here is an example using PGA tour statistics. On a 400 yard hole, the average number of strokes taken to complete the hole is 3.99. Player A hits a 300 yard drive down the fairway and has 100 yards left to the hole. The average number of strokes a PGA pro takes to complete a hole from 100 yards in the fairway is 2.80 strokes. Therefore Player A's 300 yard drive effectively navigated 1.19 strokes of the hole (3.99-2.80). Since the 300 yard drive is only one stroke, the drive effectively gained 0.19 strokes.

                            On putting it is the same type of analysis. If Player B is 8 feet away, we know that the average number of strokes to complete the hole is about 1.5 (50% make rate). Therefore if he holes the 8 footer, he effectively gains 0.5 shots, where as if he misses, he loses 0.5 shots.

                            All of strokes gained actually tells us the relative impact of each shot on score. It allows us to compare the effect of 300 yard drives and 2 foot putts with the same units.
                            WITB

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by SmoothBomber View Post

                              Ok we are working with different definitions if a full wedge of 120y isn't short game and a missed green somehow results in no short game shots....you still have to chip on and putt.
                              I wish I could find the vid but the point was that if you take even long hitters and put them on the red tees, they shoot about the same score, even if you place the ball in the fairway where an ideal drive would end up. Getting up and down more often and improving putting yeild much greater gains than increased distance and a bit more accuracy off the tee...as long as you don't spray it so much you go OB with regularity.
                              The results showed in that elusive vid pretty much mirror mine as I hit well early but just didn't know how to score and my scores on short courses were pretty much the same as on long ones...bad.
                              I think it is pretty obvious that a full swing with a gap wedge that goes 120 (or more for some of the people on this forum) isn't considered a short game shot. Even the PGA tour takes stats from "around the green" at only 30 yards.

                              My point with some GIR not having anything to do with chipping is that often people miss a green in regulation because of a missed tee shot. Hitting 3 off the tee means you aren't getting a GIR, no chipping is required if you hit a shot ob, reload, stripe it, then put the next shot on the green (same with driving it into a hazard, or into deep fescue/forest)

                              I have no problem with trying to improve putting or chipping. It just always seemed strange that some would look at statistics like GIRs, see they hit around 6 a round (like in a previous example about 80s shooters) and concluding they need to work on chipping and putting instead of hitting better tee shots and approach shots to get more GIRS.

                              Reading most people's replies to the thread I think the consensus is to take a look at your own unique statistics and abilities and assess from there. How does everyone take a look at their statistics? As Ihave said before, most common statistics are very misleading and flawed.
                              WITB

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                              • #45
                                It's important to keep in mind that traditional golf statistics (i.e. fairways hit, GIR, up an down %, # of putts, etc.), as yertu has mentioned, are not a good representation of ability. Strokes gained may not be perfect - although I feel it is pretty close - but it is 100% better to analyze your game using strokes gained versus the traditional statistics.

                                In terms of course management and strategy, I agree that this may be the absolute fastest and easiest way to lower scores. If only there were a program out there that allowed you to strategize based on your own club averages and dispersions... And I'n not talking about Game Golf or Arrcos - not a fan of the on-course distractions when collecting data..

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