Shot by Shot – Statistics and Golf

June 25, 2012 Jon Roy

On the Path of Mastery, Seek out Honest Feedback

If you’re not already keeping your stats when you play golf, then you’re missing an opportunity to get better at golf.  Statistics are a great way to measure your performance and identify strengths and weaknesses in your game.  Statistics help us to avoid seeing our game through a lens clouded by subjectivity and the variegated emotional attachments we instinctively link to certain shots.  Because the game of golf is so gloriously colorful, we need stats to help us see more clearly – more black and white –  into those areas which most impact performance on the course.

Statistics are not without shortcomings, of course.  They offer only a frozen image of performance, and the truth is that individual shots each carry a story and context that makes them so much more than a reduction into numerical form.  But statistics give objective feedback on your performance, and over time the stats always get closer and closer to describing who you are as a golfer.  It is because statistics are able to ignore individual contexts that they become so valuable.

I will be recapping our provincial team statistics to offer a benchmark for you to compare yourself or your students to.  These numbers are taken from athletes aged 13-18 who play and practice a lot.  By a lot I mean that each athlete puts in at least 20-25 hours of training each week, all year.  They play at least 25 competitive rounds from May through August.  These are very strong players who, on average, shoot competitive rounds of 76 for the boys and 80 for the girls.

If you are one who is aspiring to these types of traits or scores, then the following numbers will serve as an accurate measure against which you can compare your own statistics.  These are the averages for the respective teams – each team is made up of 9 boys or 9 girls.  All statistics are kept using shotbyshot software which players input online after every competitive round they play.  I strongly recommend that you use this software if you aren’t already.

Off the Tee

  • The Boys: lose only 1 shot per round*, they hit just over 10 fairways, and they rarely hit a ball OB or lose their ball.
  • The Girls: lose almost 2 shots per round*, hit just over 8 fairways, and their misses are usually categorized as “good” misses

*Strokes Lost is a stat developed for shotbyshot which is a measure of how many strokes are “wasted” by putting yourself in poor or terrible spots off of tee shots.

Approach Shots

  • The Boys: Take about 37 long game shots (50% of all shots) Hit almost 12 greens per round and average about 18 feet when they hit a green
  • The Girls: Take about 39 long game shots (50% of all shots) Hit about 10 greens with an average of about 22 feet.

Chip and Pitch inside 50 yards

  • The Boys: About 5 attempts per round – hitting on average to about 8.5 feet.  40% of these shots are inside 5 feet, 5% are errors (miss the green), and they get up and down about 45% of the time.
  • The Girls: About 7 attempts per round – hitting on average to about 11 feet.  30% are inside 5 feet, 4% are errors, and they get up and down about 30% of the time.

Bunkers inside 50 yards

  • The Boys: About 1 attempt per round – hitting on average to about 10.5 feet.  45% of these shots are inside 8 feet, 10% are errors (miss the green), and they get up and down about 45% of the time.
  • The Girls: About 1 attempt per round – hitting on average to about 9.5 feet.  55% of these shots are inside 8 feet, 10% are errors (miss the green), and they get up and down about 35% of the time.

Putting

  • The Boys: Average 2 strokes lost per round with about 33 putts per round.  From 4-5 feet they one putt about 85%.  From 6-10 feet they one putt about 40% of the time.  Lots of three putts (45%) once they get outside 30 feet.
  • The Girls:   Average 3 strokes lost per round with about 34 putts per round.  From 4-5 feet they one putt about 70%.  From 6-10 feet they one putt about 30% of the time.  Lots of three putts (33%) once they get outside 30 feet.
Coach Reflections:

This information has been invaluable to me as a coach as it offers a clear and objective recap of each of my players over time.  I chose to measure only competitive rounds for this report, and it gives me much better information than if I were to ask the players to describe their strengths and weaknesses to me.  In fact, the tool is so valuable precisely because it allows me to cut through the emotional feedback we give ourselves (i.e you may claim to be a bad putter because you miss a 5 foot putt to qualify for a big event – but the reality is that 5 foot putts aren’t automatic, and in fact you are likely to miss one or two of them for every ten attempts even if you’re an excellent putter).  If you want to improve, or if you want to help someone improve, then the first thing you must seek out is honest feedback.  Where are you right now?  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  Where are you losing and gaining strokes?

But more on stats in future posts – for the time being please let me know your reactions to these statistics listed above – is this useful to you?  Are any of the numbers surprising to you?

Comment (1)

  1. Jon,

    I find it hard to believe that the boys have a combination of these numbers: 12 GIR, avg proximity to hole on GIR of 18 feet, and they shoot 76? PGA Tour players don’t hit it that close…though I guess your boys may be playing shorter and less difficult courses…Add it all up, if accurate, and it looks like they need to come see me for a putting lesson!
    Cheers,
    JZ

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