For oob's sake.. I hope this doesn't catch on. Challenging Golf Stats
By Kickntrue on 8/10/10 is running a series of golf articles all week called, "Moneygolf." They are long reads- but if you're not too busy- well worth your time. The title of the series, as well as the general idea behind the articles is how current golf stats are misused and how better analysis and the capture of stats that really matter could help our games in ways we currently cannot conceive (like the book MoneyBall did for baseball). I wouldn't even know where to start with describing some of the stuff they talk about- but here are a couple cool quotes to entice you.
Watch a golf tournament on television, and you'll hear the announcers explain why Tiger Woods or Justin Rose or Ernie Els is in the lead. "He's tops in the field this week in fairways hit," they might say. Or perhaps they'll point to his stellar driving distance, or his amazingly low number of putts per round, or his excellent birdie conversion rate. But none of those statistics—the ones we're told separate the champions from the also-rans—truly reflects why golfers win and lose. At worst, they're actively misleading, giving us the wrong impression of why the best players in the game succeed.


The pros are aware of the holes in the standard stats. When I talked to players at the AT&T National, the stat that came most under fire was greens in regulation. GIR presumes to measure the accuracy of a golfer's iron play—reaching a green in regulation means landing the ball on the green in three strokes on a par 5, two strokes on a par 4, and one stroke on a par 3. Michael Letzig, a lanky, affable pro from Missouri, recalled a shot that he hit on a long par 3 that landed five feet away from the hole—except the ball was on the fringe. That counts as a missed green. If you go by GIR, Letzig's shot was worse than one that landed on the putting surface, 100 feet from the cup.
This is a pretty obvious (and somewhat rare) example, as I do think GIR is generally a good judge of how you're playing, but the overall effect of analyzing both the place you hit the ball from- and where it ended up, as well as your final score of a hole is quote interesting. Of course- the hard part is in the analyzing. Did you know the PGA Tour tracks 47 different stats just for tee shots? The intensity of the data is mind-boggling, but as you can imagine for a golf junkie who created a site like oobgolf, it's all quite fascinating. It does make you wonder though- as you read through it and are blown away with info... if you're not better off just going out there, forgetting a scorecard, and having a good time.

You'll need a good 20 minutes to read through these- and there are more articles coming tomorrow through Saturday. If you're into tracking your game- find time! If you're going to pick to read only one of them- I'd suggest the 2nd. MoneyGolf Pt 1 MoneyGolf Pt 2

PGATour's 47 Driving Stats

photo source

[ comments ]
rmumph1 says:
I like it. I would be nice to now a factor from every spot. I'm a stats freak.
birdieXris says:
Oh wow. Great articles. I can't wait for the one on putting.
mmontisano says:
in a situation like Michael Letzig's, i would just throw it down as a GIR. if i had to chip, then it's a missed green.
jerdman says:
Its bad enough knowing I don't even hit 35% of fairways, I don't even want to see how far away from the fairways or how many strokes its costing me. humiliating, but those could be great tools in understanding what areas to practice to most greatly improve your game.
Banker85 says:
might read them tomorrow. I looked at my scores and the rounds with highest GIR % are my lowest scoring rounds. So atleast for me high GIR% means i am having a good day.
Kurt the Knife says:
I have been using the golf digest "make me better" analysis system to help me narrow down where I need to focus my training.
Sometimes tedious to fill out on the course but it has been a big help.
Bryan K says:
Yes. I've been looking forward to a sabermetric article on golf stats for a long time. I can't wait to curl up with a Diet Coke and dive in.
TravisMiller says:
Those articles are wonderful. I cannot wait for the next one. I don't know if I want to go that deep in my stat tracking but it might change the way I look at the current stats that I am tracking.
cjgiant says:
As the saying goes, you can make statistics say anything you want them to say. I have yet to read the article, but it should be obvious that on any given day a recorded stat can be misleading. I've had days where I hit 7 of 9 greens and scored poorly (avg putts: 2.2 per hole), or hit 0% of fairways and scored well (high playable drive/GIR). But on most days if I hit 80% greens, I am scoring well and if I am missing all my fairways, I probably incurred a few penalties to blow my round.
sepfeiff says:
I was on the shotlink crew at the Byron Nelson this year, its a very accurate system if used correctly. The PGA staff was indeed asking a lot of questions about our measurements in real time. I had no idea that many stats were available from the PGA.
garthspaulding says:
My son was being tested at the first tee the other day so I read the PGA's 2009 player books while I was waiting. I was amazed at how close the stats are for the guys on tour. Almost everyone's average score was 70, Driving distance around 290, FW high sixties, GIR high sixties. Putts were from 1.7-1.8. Nobody stood out and they were so similar stat wise on paper.
KVSmith59 says:
not sure if it makes any difference. If I'm on the green and am 25' away, knowing that a scratch golfer ends up with 1.7 putts from that distance (or whatever it is) isn't going to help me get up and down.....
preny says:
There is one time-honored stat that accurately sums up a golfer's entire performance:

Total strokes needed.

Skip the outdated stats and enjoy watching the pros score in every way possible.
svj says:
eyes are burning, need a break...
falcon50driver says:
The less I do the more I make.
[ post comment ]
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