Statistics And Scoring
By bkuehn1952 on 12/28/10
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Brian Kuehn didn't disappoint. This is his 9th article to oobgolf. He's probably going to expect to be on our payroll soon... You can read the other 8 here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
This little gem of data can be found on the website www.probablegolfinstruction.com. Not being particularly savvy on how to give proper attribution to internet sources, most of the credit should go to Dr. Riccio, whose data is summarized below:
Dr. L.J. Riccio, PhD did an analysis of "average golfers" in 1990. Below is a table which summarizes some of the statistics that Riccio investigated.
The last column indicates the strength of the statistical relationship between score and the statistic. A "Strong" relationship is one that predicts quite well one statistic given the other (i.e. the SCORE given the GIR). A "Weak" relationship does not predict as well.
I am not sure what “Iron Accuracy” represents and could not find a definition. My suspicion is that it is a combination of predictable distance and side-to-side deviation from the intended target. One will need to go to Dr. Riccio’s original research to get the true meaning.
There were several 2010 articles featured in “Fore Play” from Slate Magazine (READ HERE) which concluded iron play, superior iron play, results in better scores. For professionals GIR may be overrated but for amateurs is seems to be a key factor.
The common advice for those who want lower scores is to work on one's short game. While that certainly continues to be true for all levels of ability, it seems that once one's handicap approaches 10 and below, solid ball striking becomes essential. If one wants to score well consistently, concentrate on improving your ability to hit the green or at least miss in the right place. Once you have a competent tee and short game, taking one’s game to the next level seems to depend on iron play.
This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
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Bryan K says:
The problem with most golf statistics is that none of them can be taken in a vacuum to isolate anything. Putting average is directly related to how good one's approaches and chip shots are. Those approaches are directly related to how good the previous shot was. And then you have a state like fairway percentage, whose importance relies heavily on how the course was tended that day. I've played courses where the roughs are so thick, missing the fairway is a disaster. And then I've played courses where the roughs are so short, I'd rather miss the fairway.
I find that if I am hitting my irons well, I have my best score. Once you get past the stage of hitting drives in the woods and chipping back and forth on the green, I think you should focus on ball striking.
i was gonna say that i score better when my ball striking (fairways and GIR) is strong but then i read how 10hcp and lower is from short game wich made me think and it is 100% true. id say my avg score is 85 I am not sure how that chart is suppose to read (like GIR 5???) mine is higher than that and i dont think you could get an 85 with 5% GIR. anyways i know i am a good ball striker (naturally talented) but i need my short game to come in play so i can shoot more in the 70's casue when i know i can ship it within 5 ft or putt it close enough to make or savce par i will core good but when i am feeling uncertain on chips or putts i score 80+ every time... BUT I LOVE MY BALL STRIKING, FUNNEST PART OF THE GAME BY FAR.
I think the bottom line is pretty simple. Drives, irons, chipping, putting, IT ALL MATTERS.
The only statistic that really matters is percentage of FUN!
@Banker85 - the chart number "5" under GIR is 5 greens in regulation, or 28% (5/18). The chart says that hitting greens in regulation is a better predictor of your score than fairways. Statistically speaking, if one wants to score under 80 more often, hitting 45% or better GIR is a good goal.
thanks bkuehn, that is about right i 33% GIR and the more greens i hit the better my scoring is gonna be for sure. but tennesseeboy is right... all shots count and matter.
I’ve been playing since last June after many years break. So with six months under my belt I’m finding that for me GIR is in direct relation to my score. I can 2 put fairly consistently and so find getting on the green brings in lower scores at the current stage of my play. I’m anything but a natural hitter (or natural anything for that matter as far as I can tell) and have to work twice as hard to be half as good than many players I’ve read about. I tend to agree you do need a strong short game, but getting it to the short game seems like the first step to me.
There is a relationship to the stats to the final score. I've found that missing GIR is not as bad if the up and down works. Of course, birdies are fun and at least achievable if GIR'd :-) The key is consistency - getting 2 putts or less and finding the green in 3 or less. Getting the odd two is always exciting and you know your iron play is working when you get 3 of those in a round (last game I managed to get 3 from 3 in the back 9 - very happy and just had to share... :-)
Paul Goydos' number one advice to amateurs is, "Don't make stupid shots." So I wonder where "course management" (including playing within your ability) would rank in the chart?
@windowsurfer - Best advice I received about 2 years ago playing with a new golfing buddy - he said he likes 'boring golf' as opposed to being a hero. If he's in a bad spot he simply puts the ball back in play and sets up for his next shot. I consistently watched his round after round shoot in the 70's with errant shots.
Best lesson I learned from a course management standpoint.
Bryan K says:
I've stated repeatedly that the problems with my golf game tend to center around the 4-5 errant shots I make per round (which tend to result in about 15-20 additional strokes).
@Icgolfer64 - There's some course management I could live with. I'll have to work on my 'boring golf'. Thanks.
Is the "relationship" column based on least squares regression?
I used to think that GIR was the sole indicator of good scores until I kept my stats for nearly 3 years. Upon evaluation GIR was a leading indicator of scoring around par, but accomplishing a GIR was routinely dependent upon hitting the fairway. Likewise, you still have to keep the putts around 32 to take advantage of both GIR and fairways hit. Like many have said on here, all of those stats matter.
@lcgolfer64 : Agree. "Neither a rich man nor a poor man be" is good golf advice too. If we wanted drama we'd wear eyeblack and grunt when we hit the ball.
I guess it could rule out the truly sporadic golfer, but # birdies and # pars being "Strongly" correlated to score: couldn't a five year old figure that out? Only slightly less intuitive would be GIRs.
As stated above, all items matter; and as you get better, the more "weakly" related items become more strongly related (and more important), I would bet.
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