Ray is proving to be very useful.
Course Yardage And Scoring
By rsnarski3 on 7/17/08
By Ray Snarski III, oobgolf intern

Hopefully you haven't forgotten that oob hired two interns!

Have you ever looked at a scorecard and the total yardage of a course and tried to guess what you would shoot? We decided to look into our data and produce a method for predicting scores based on the course yardage.

Here is our basic assumption- if you can figure out how many yards each shot is worth minus putts, you can divide the course's total yardage by that average shot distance and then re-add putts- for a total predicted score.

Obviously you could "average" more than these distances for each shot- but this takes into account shots around the green that bring your average way down. It's an untraditional approach to the question of losing shots and I'm not sure it solves anything, but it's fun to look at.

Here is the data broken down from the over 95k scores now entered into oobgolf.com.

HandicapYards Per StrokePutts
< 5153.4231.07
5 - 15120.5333.53
15 - 25103.4435.53
HandicapYards Per StrokePutts
< 5137.2235.50
5 - 1598.9833.49
15 - 2586.0435.72

Let's see if it works. We'll use Andrew and our new friend Lexus Keoninh as examples. Andrew's handicap index is 19.7 and Lex is actually a Plus handicapper (3.2).

Let's say they play a 7000 yard course.

Andrew: 7000/103.44 + 35.53 = 103.2
Lexus: 7000/153.42 + 31.07 = 76.7

Looks about right to me. You could argue that Lexus would actually shoot a bit better because he's actually better than most of the people grouped with him at < 5.

Either way- it's pretty obvious that it works. As courses change distance the math and predicted score will change. Next time you're on the course with a buddy who's game you know- predict their score based on the scorecard distance and win yourself a beer.

The numbers came from member data that have provided handicap information and putts. Those that lacked were removed. Additionally, the numbers represent 18 hole data. There was a problem in women's handicap that was less than 5. The number in the table actually represents a sample size of two (a 5 handicap was included which was also a one and only) which is still obviously too small but better than one. The only woman with an under 5 handicap had a distance of 154.78 yards per stroke - therefore I believe the number in the table is a better representation of the handicap group.

Also- these numbers represent pretty big margins of handicaps. As we get more data- or spend more time crunching the numbers we could get better predictions by making the groupings smaller. There is a pretty big difference between a 16 handicap and 24 handicapper, yet the math will be identical based on these numbers.

Total scores in male data group after exclusions were 24,768.
Total scores in female data group after exlusions where 652.

[ comments ]
theredmission says:
One of the most interesting things I noticed in the above was the putts for women w/ <5 handicap...seems way high. Well that and the fact that the yardage difference is almost double between a <5 and >25 handicap.
Lexus Keoninh says:
well I did shoot a 76 on the second day at torrey at 7100 yds or so. but no one could have predicted that ugly 86 :(
Kickntrue says:
redmission- note the disclaimer. the sample size for women < 5 was only 2 people. It's amazing with 100k scores we only have 2 women playing at that level.
Josh says:
Andrew is trying to bait me into a comment about women in sports, and while I have several... I'll resist (this time).
furrier says:
Alternatively, you could take your course handicap, add 2 (or is it 3?), and add to the
course rating of the course. This is supposed to be your "average" for that course. (Maybe add another stroke or two if it's a course you haven't played before.)
klangdon says:
furrier, whether it is 2 or 3 depends on what your index is. The actual formula would be [course handicap]/.96 But this is still only an average of your 10 best of last 20 scores. True average would include the bad ones as well.
PapaJoe says:
Ray: Did you audition for the TV Friday night show "Numbers?" The golfing index for the Pythagroeum theorum minus the formulative handicapping Einstein formula of E=mc2 + or - 15% of the accumulative scores during any one month period, deducting the highest and lowest score during that period, equals the substansitive periodic one month total score that then usually totals the relative handicap index to the actual handicap of + or - one USGA posted index through each and every USGA posted score, whether it be through "oobGOLF" or the preferred scoring system of GHINN. Therefore a posted score of 80 equals 73! What could be simpler???
chippy1032 says:
well it a little bit off for me, as i played at virginia tech's course and i didn't play so good and shot a 88. and the thing at the top sayed i would shoot a 92. and how do people have 33 putts, on that day i only had 29?
chippy1032 says:
oh and what about home courses on there, this thing only really works if u average about 33 or 34 putts, but most of the people with a handicap of 10 or lower can get lower than 30 putts. my best score at my home course was a 68 (-2) and this thing has me shooting a 83????? crazy.
rsnarski3 says:
PapaJoe... Sounds like you're the man for that. However, isn't it Pythagorean Theorem and GHIN (golf handicap information network)?

Chippy... The results are an AVERAGE of all the oobgolf members who provided the appropriate information in their respective handicaps groups. The putts are also an average of the data set which the oobgolf members provided. I didnGÇÖt manipulate the results. With it being separated in groups obviously it can't pinpoint exactly what you "should" shoot. Also, there are many variables that aren't taken into account (was this score on a familiar course, what was the weather like, were you playing with a torn ACL, etc.). It is just a simple average but nevertheless it seems like you are above the average so kudos to you. However, I did hear that the next intern is going to be an oracle!
Eddy Whitaker says:
thats a pretty unique formula
PapaJoe says:
rsnarski73: Yeap! Your spelling is correct! But I was concentrating solely on the numbers, which without a doubt are about as correct as my spelling!!!
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