Keeping golf stats is cool, I swear!
By KVSmith59 on 8/16/10
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Kevin Smith didn't disappoint. Kevin runs his own blog/site, RiverCityHackers.com, but he decided to take some time to contribute to oob- which we certainly appreciate! Thanks Kevin!
Statistics…..they are everywhere, but more than ever they are everywhere in sports. Golf, football, tennis, horseshoes, you name it, and there is a stat being tracked. Stats are the reason that 99% of you signed up for OobGolf. Stats are the reason that most of you keep signing in.
Why does the general spectator need all of these stats? My guess is that a lot of them use said stats to place bets. Why else would the average John Doe need to know a player’s batting average? Does Lebron’s free throw average really matter to you? Does the 49er’s win/loss record while playing in snow make you feel better? What’s with all the stats? The recent articles re-posted here on Oob from Slate.com’s MoneyGolf series are very interesting and an enjoyable read. But does it really mean anything?
Is tracking your golf stats helping your game? Most people would say yes. You use those stats as a comparison against your fellow golfers. You use them to compare yourself against the professionals. You use them to help determine what areas of your game need improvement. But does this information really help?
I’ve been golfing on and off for 30 years. When I first started playing I knew my Greens in Regulation stats were pathetic and were the main reason I was scoring so high. Over the years I started tracking my GIR’s, FIR’s, putts, etc. I used pencil and paper, spreadsheets, some software, and eventually ended up here on OobGolf like the rest of you. On Oob, I can now see an instant update to my GIR stats. They go up, they go down, they go up, they go down. Lately I’ve improved them a tad, but does it have anything to do with knowing what my GIR percentage is? Nope. Knowing and fixing are two different things. I know if I can raise my GIR percentage by 5%, my scores are going to drop. Getting onto that elusive green in regulation is another thing.
So, I decided to use Oob’s awesome statistic tracking in a different way. More than likely the way I’m using them are not how they were designed to be used in some instances and I’m probably guilty of cluttering up their database. I started off by tracking every golf ball I’ve played with. My theory was that I would eventually be able to pin down which ball would be “my” ball by determining which one produced the best FIR, GIR, Putting, and score over par averages. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Of the many balls I was “testing”, one had much better putting stats than the other, but the same ball had a horrible FIR stat compared to other balls. It went the same with each stat. I eventually had to assign a ranking system to each stat and came up with a ball that performed best “overall’ than the others.
From there I progressed to keeping unorthodox stats on items that weren’t in Oob’s database (and this is where I’ll probably get yelled at by Kevin and Andrew for messing up their data base). If I made a grip change that seemed to be helping my game, I’d create a grip change “equipment” by adding it to “my bag”, and I’d track whether or not the grip change was helping or hurting my game. The most recent addition to “my bag” was a stat I named Lessons. I recently had lessons at Golf Galaxy and was curious if it had improved any of my stats. As you can see by clicking on this link, after entering 9 scores post lesson, my average score over par has dropped from 22 to 17, my GIR percentage shot up to 26.5% from 16.7%, and my FIR jumped to 46% from 38.7%. My putting took a hit for some reason and went up to 1.9 from 1.88.
So, using Oobs stats (the way I am currently) is helping improve my game as I can see what’s hurting and what’s helping. So, I guess my questions are, why are you tracking your stats, how are you using them to help improve your game, and which of the many stats you use is the most beneficial to you? Also, which stat is the most useless? It will be interesting to see what kind of answers I get.
This was written by Kevin Smith, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback. Please check out Kevin's site- RiverCityHackers.com.
[ comments ]
@Kevin - Great article first off. Lessons and practice are much more effective than knowing stats. The stats just let you know if you're getting anywhere :) . Secondly - your putting will kind of balloon as your GIR goes up. The reason is basically now you're hitting the green and two putting, rather than missing the green, chipping close and one putting.
For the sake of argument, you may shoot +5 for a round with 23 putts and 18 chips that's 0% gir, however that same +5 with 100% gir will leave you with 41 putts. You seemingly putted much worse, but you hit more greens so more of your strokes will be putts. It'll eventually level off.
The number one reason I started coming to OOBgolf was for a stat that tallied how many miles of Golf you have played. I loved that stat, but OOB was not able to sustain it. I could do the math myself, but I liked that it was automatically calculated.
Oh man..is that a C-64 (or vic20) with a tape drive? Many good times with one of those...Keeping Atari 2600 RealFootball stats on mine though..not golf :)
2 people would play while the 3rd entered the plays as they happened.
I've always found that if I keep track of stats, I improve... regardless of what it is. When I was working for a large retail chain (I had answers, if you had questions), I found my numbers ($/hour, N&A %, total sales) improved dramatically. I've seen the same thing with golf. I have additional info that I track outside of oob, because I like to see all kinds of different data/graphs that oob doesn't offer.
I was thinking of doing the same thing as your grip and lessons equipment to with Driving range and Putting green to see if I could really track the difference in my game. I have been playing better but I don't always have a correlation between the two and my score (in my head that is). I might have to try. Keep up the good work Kevin.
From the last Slate.com article:
"'I don't look at that stuff,' he said. Then he paused and said, 'I know.'
I'm kind of slow on the uptake: 'Uh, what do you know?'
Furyk was gracious: 'I know in my heart what I did on the course that day. If I don't have confidence when standing over a shot, I know that I need to go out and work on it.'"
I personally have not found my stats have taught me anything I didn't already know. I just like to track the stats for the sake of measuring how I am doing (stats for stats sake). Others may find them useful for analysis.
I have to admit the writer did create an interesting way to analyze his stats that seems like it could be useful. But I got to ask if the technique did teach the writer something, or if it just bore out what the writer already knew?
There goes the neighborhood
Bryan K says:
I track stats because it's fun.
But I do use them to improve my game. The bigget stat this year that I needed to improve on was putts after chip. That number has gotta be close to 1, and it was way too high. So I've been working on my chipping a LOT this summer because I feel like if I get better at chipping, it's going to improve my putting numbers as well.
As your ballstriking improves your putting stats will worsen slightly. Hitting greens rather than missing means you'll be facing more putts from farther away rather than putting after you've chipped from around the green.
Scrambling percentage is a great stat to start with. Scrambling will tell you how often you make par after missing a green. The average tour pro hits 14 greens in regulation per round. The top scrambling percentage this year is Matt Kuchar with just over 66% (266 up and downs out of 402 missed greens). Pretty impressive. Scrambling is a stat I pay close attention to.
Kurt the Knife says:
I like to look at the pretty x's and checkmarks
@Kurt - you are a pretty simple guy huh??? LOL
I signed up for my handicap. I like to know what my stats are but to apply them is another story. But i already know what i need to work on without stats. I like how you approach it KV. nice work!
@Bryan - funny I even found this stat misleading; I could be chipping admirably, but putting horribly. Is the stat of 1.7 putts after chip a failure of chipping ability or putting ability?
Also, your stats may vary depending what you consider a chip: a short-side flop over a bunker (pitch or chip?) is much more difficult than a bump-and-run from the fairway 50 feet away. The first could be a good chip if within 15 feet, the other 15 feet would be a bad chip.
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