Every Shot Counts by Mark Broadie

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150 thoughts on “Every Shot Counts by Mark Broadie

  1. y2000man

    Just started to read the book but I’m confused by the first illustration in the introduction. If Jahn missed the 23 foot put on the low side why isn’t his next put still uphill instead of downhill as stated? I’m hoping to understand the rest of the book better. Please explain…..Thanks, Dr. Leedy

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Dr. Leedy, Thanks for your question. Chapter 7 talks about putting strategy and defines the fall line and clockface. Suppose downhill is at 12 o’clock and Jahn’s uphill right-to-left putt starts at 5 o’clock. It can miss on the low side but end up at 10 o’clock. This would leave a downhill left-to-right second putt. (If the first putt broke more an ended up at, say, 8:00, then the next putt would be uphill left-to-right, as you suggested.) Hope that answers your question and hope you enjoy the book. -Mark Broadie

      Reply
  2. ajkocurek

    Hi Dr. Broadie, excellent book. I’m interested in tracking my strokes gained off green and comparing it to a 90-golfer. Your Table 5.2 lists the average strokes to hole out for a Tour Pro for various lies but I did not find a similar table for amateurs like a 80-, 90-, or 100-golfer. I located various articles of yours and Soonmin Ko but I did not find this information. Would you provide that data on this website or refer me to a website where this data can be found.

    Thanks, james

    Reply
  3. Robert Berardy

    Where can I get a table of putt values for an amateur 80 shooter? I have found them online for the pros, but besides a few in your book I haven’t been able to find any you published any where else. I would like to be able to compare my SGP stats to other 80 shooters.

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Robert and James, Good questions. I ran out of pages in the book to have all of these tables. We are working on an app to make these calculations easy to do for amateur golfers. It needs two to three more months of development. I’ll post updates on the website. -Mark Broadie

      Reply
      1. JimK

        I agree that table 5.2 is the most important one in the book. But us 100 stroke golfers need the same data for amateurs who shoot 90 so we can see where we need to shave strokes to get to bogie golf. I hope this becomes available soon. Makes sense to do it as an app. Great book!

        Reply
      2. ParHunter

        I was disappointed that the table most readers (us amateurs) would benefit most from, the table with Stroke Gained for amateurs from different lies was not included in the book.

        I understand that these stats are probably the ‘crown jewels’ and once printed in a book are out in the open. However I feel a bit cheated having bought the book that I now have to buy the iPhone app as well. I already use GameGolf to record my stats so I don’t want to enter all shots again in a second app. It would be great if you could work together with the GameGolf guys as it could be a win-win for both. You get more data and they can offer better stats. GameGolf might not be suited for Strokes gained putting but for Strokes gained driving/approach it should be good enough.

        Reply
        1. MarkB Post author

          Sorry to disappoint! I’ve used the benchmarks published for junior golfers and kept track of the changes through time. Even if a golfer is 30 strokes worse than the benchmark, you can measure very well progress this way. -Mark

          Reply
      3. Wiemer Snijders

        Dear Mr Broadie,

        Thank you for an excellent book!

        In March you estimated to need two to three additional months for the development of an app for amateurs to calculate approach and putt values. Any chance this will be available anytime soon?

        Kind regards,
        Wiemer Snijders

        Reply
        1. MarkB Post author

          Dear Wiemer, Thanks for the question. We had a Android version ready for beta testing, but decided to re-start using a system that would work on both Android and iOS. It looks like we’ll have something ready for both Android and iOS before the next season starts. So sorry for the delay! -Mark

          Reply
      4. Paolo Pietrobon

        Have you any news about the app? I am recording the data related to my rounds but the queue is going to be really huge :)

        Reply
        1. MarkB Post author

          Dear Paolo, We had a Android version ready for beta testing, but decided to re-start using a system that would work on both Android and iOS. It looks like we’ll have something ready for both Android and iOS before the next season starts. So sorry for the delay! -Mark

          Reply
        1. MarkB Post author

          Dear Bryan, Thanks for asking. Because so many golfers told us they have iphones, we started over using a multi-platform approach that will work on Android, iOS and desktop. Looks like it will be early next year (sorry for the delay). -Mark

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          1. Anthony van Tilburg

            Dear Mark,
            Please make sure this new app supports the metric system as well. As Europeans we love to use your stats, even more using meters (instead of both yards and feet). 0,25m – 0,5m – 0,75m – 1,0m etc. should do the trick for putting!

          2. MarkB Post author

            Dear Doug, I’m not sure how long the approval process takes and I’ve underestimated the time before, so I’m very reluctant to make promises. But we are getting close to a beta now. -Mark

        1. MarkB Post author

          Dear Willi, We are getting close to a beta. We will put in distance in meters, but wondered if that is crucial to start? -Mark

          Reply
      5. g

        Mark,
        Last year you said the app needed a few more months – any chance you could updates us on where things are with launch now?

        Reply
  4. Mel Greenhalgh

    How do I access the “2013 Columbia Business School paper by Broadie & Ko” referenced on page 121?

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Mel, We are in the process of revising the paper. When the next draft is done, it will be posted on my website. Thanks, Mark.

      Reply
  5. jtturner6

    Is Golfmetrics available, or going to be available, as a program or app for the general golfing public?
    Thanks,
    John

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear John, Unfortunately, it’s a time consuming process to create entire courses from scratch for use in Golfmetrics. It also takes about 15 minutes to input the data after the round. Instead, we are working on a Golfmetrics-lite app that can be used on a phone that will make the data entry process much easier but will give the same strokes gained analysis of your game. I’ll post information here when it’s available – probably in about three months. -Mark

      Reply
      1. jtturner6

        Mark,
        Thanks for your response and information regarding the Golfmetrics app. I look forward to trying the app when it is available.

        One other question. I have seen several reports, such as the Golf Digest article at the link below, that the groove rule change implemented in 2009 may actually be having an the desired effect of increasing the importance of driving accuracy. The strokes gained approach would seem to be an effective way to analyze this question, and the time frame in question would be covered by the available Shot Link data. Have you studied the effect of the groove rule change, and if so, is there anything definitive you can share?

        Thanks,
        John
        http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-equipment/blogs/hotlist365/2013/10/margin-of-error-groove-rules-m.html

        Reply
        1. MarkB

          Dear John, Nothing definitive that I can share. In some research that I published in 2012 based on data until 2010, I found virtually no effect of the groove rule. See pp.26-27 of “Assessing Golfer Performance on the PGA TOUR,” (a preprint is here: http://www.columbia.edu/~mnb2/broadie/research_golf.html). I think the Golf Digest article you reference is consistent with these earlier findings. I agree it would be nice to have something more definitive, but I’d be surprised if the results were very different. -Mark

          Reply
      2. Trey

        Dear Mark,
        Loved the book! I was wondering when your Golfmetrics app is estimated to be available in the IOS app store. Thank you for your help.

        Reply
        1. MarkB Post author

          Dear Trey, Thanks for the comments. Working on the Andriod app is progressing, though slowly. We’ve started on an iOS app, but that will take longer – next season, realistically. -Mark

          Reply
  6. Chuck Hadden

    On pages 174-175, you speculate why weekend golfers would adopt strategies that result in more balls being hit out of bounds. Let me speculate with you: They don’t play by the rules and take a stroke and distance penalty. I regularly see golfers drop the ball where they think it went out of bounds and play from there, so the penalty to them is simply stroke, not stroke and distance. In fact, I’ve noticed that they usually think it went out farther down the hole than I think it did. So, they’re actually not penalized anywhere nearly as severely as the rules call for and therefore are willing to take more chances of going out of bounds than your calculations suggest would be prudent.

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Chuck, That certainly could be part of the explanation for some golfers. Almost all of the golfers in my database have played in some events where strokes really count and they know the correct stroke-and-distance penalty for hitting out of bounds. The analysis shows that if you replace the out of bounds by a lateral hazard, it is optimal for golfers to take more risk. -Mark

      Reply
  7. Travis Sherriff

    Excellent and interesting read Dr Broadie,

    I look forward to an app or any simplified program that can track these stats in my own game. I’m sure you are not into product plugging and I am in no way affiliated or even own one, but I was wondering if you have checked out the Game Golf System http://www.gamegolf.com and a potential partnership? On the surface, this system sounds exactly like what you have been looking for as a means of tracking amateur stats.

    Once again, great read and I look forward to applying some serious lessons to my practice.

    TS

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Travis, Thanks for the comments! I don’t have Game Golf but I’ve briefly spoken to John McGuire. I love the idea of automatic shot tracking with an instant report at the end of a round. But I don’t think any company’s technology is quite there yet. For example, it isn’t possible to automatically track putt distances to a foot or so because GPS isn’t nearly that accurate. -Mark

      Reply
      1. JimK

        I hear that Game Golf has very rudimentary statistics. Seems that they sure could benefit on the analytical side from your ideas and data.

        Reply
  8. Bernie Berninger

    I really enjoyed the book – thought it was one of the best golf books that I have ever read. Moving forward, do I track yardage to the hole after EVERY shot and compare that to the Golfmetrics data? Not sure how I do that and keep up with my foursome? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Bernie, Thanks for the comments! We are working on a “Golfmetrics lite” app and expect a beta version to be available in the next three months. This is designed so that the data entry can be easily done during the round without slowing the pace of play. I’ll post more information here as it becomes available. -Mark

      Reply
  9. Tom McIntyre

    Table 5.2 seems to have some internal inconsistancies, i.e. lower averages for longer distances in the same category (e.g. Sand). It also disagrees with Table A-23 in places.

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Tom, Sharp eye and great comments. One of the “discrepancies” in Table 5.2 is an average strokes to hole out of 2.99 at from the tee at 120 yards and 2.97 from the tee at 140 yards. First, the difference is very small, so it really doesn’t matter much. Second, this is what happened in the data. There are two reasons this happens in the data: (i) the number of data points is smaller in this range, so the uncertainty in the estimates is larger, and (ii) some very short par-3 holes on the PGA Tour might be slightly tougher because of the hole designs (e.g., smaller green, more bunkers, etc.). I could have “smoothed” the values in the table but I chose not to (maybe I should have?). Similarly, the small discrepancy in the sand column between 120 and 140 yards is due to a relatively small amount of data. -Mark

      Reply
  10. JB

    Just finished reading the book and, being a numbers person, I found it fascinating. One thing I was confused about and maybe it’s just a matter of re-reading a couple of chapters is, how do you count an OB shot from a “shots gained” perspective?

    I’ve been working on an excel spreadsheet where I can input the data for my round, shot by shot, and it calculates SGD, SGA, SGS and SGP for me. Everything’s working fine so far, except for the OB part.

    Quick example:

    Hole | Part | Shot | Start Location | Distance (start) | End Location | Distance (end) | Avg Strokes (start) | Avg Strokes (end) | Strokes Gained
    1 | 4 | 1 | Tee | 285 | Rough | 95 | 3.65 | 2.96 | -0.31
    1 | 4 | 2 | Rough | 95 | Out of Bounds | 95 | 3.65 | ? | ?

    I guess a possible scenario would be to treat OB as Rough and by having the same Avg Strokes to hole out be the same (3.65 in this case) we end up with a -1 Strokes Gained (3.65 – 3.65 – 1) for Shot 2 and then Shot 3 would have the exact same distance to go (95) assuming I replay the shot with my stroke and distance penalty. Does that seem correct?

    Thanks, and fantastic job on the book.

    JB

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear JB,

      An OB shot is easy: the strokes gained is minus 2. If you hit it OB on shot 1, then shot 3 will start from the same place, so you haven’t progressed any closer to the hole but you’ve taken two shots. Mathematically, it follows by applying the strokes gained formula twice. More precisely,
      For shot one: Strokes gained = average strokes to hole out at the start of shot 1 – average strokes to hole out at the end of shot 1 – 1
      For shot two: Strokes gained = average strokes to hole out at the start of shot 2 – average strokes to hole out at the end of shot 2 – 1

      For both shots together: Strokes gained = average strokes to hole out at the start of shot 1 – average strokes to hole out at the end of shot 2 – 2
      For an OB shot: Strokes gained = -2 (since the start of shot 1 is the same as the end of shot 2)

      Hope that explains it. -Mark

      Reply
    2. Dan

      I am also building an excel spreadsheet myself. I have a blank column for penalty strokes and if I enter 1 for a lost ball on the tee, the spreadsheet will find the difference in avg. strokes to hole ball and then it will subtract 1 for the stroke taken, and whatever I enter in the penalty shot slot.

      Reply
    3. jim bolognese

      JB,
      After reading EVERYSHOTCOUNTS I’m planning to track my shots. would you mind sharing your spreadsheet? if so, how to obtain it?
      thanks,
      WDD
      PS – I’ll post my comments re: the book in a subsequent post.

      Reply
      1. MarkB

        Dear JB, I started off many years ago trying to collect the data and do the analysis in a spreadsheet. It is really painful and I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, we are working on an app that will be much easier to use than a spreadsheet, both for entering the data and viewing the results. The app will be easier and more powerful than a spreadsheet. -Mark

        Reply
  11. Monty

    Great book. My question is related to which combination of clubs should be used on par 4 and 5 holes. Is there a chart for amatuers that would provide a guide in SGD and SGA to optimize which combination of clubs is best? In other words–hit the 3wood and have a longer approach or always hit the driver? Your analysis suggests go long at all costs. I look at figure A-4 and see that a longer approach (150-200) at my handicap (6) gets a GIR 50% vs 65% from (100-150); How do I calculate if that is “worth it?”

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Monty, Thanks for the kinds words about the book and the question. The 3-wood versus the driver on par-4 holes doesn’t have a straightforward answer. You need to consider the difference in distance and the difference in the fraction of fairways hit. The latter depends on the width of the fairway at the driver distance and the width of the fairway at the 3-wood distance (and how much straighter you hit your 3-wood compared to your driver). I would look at Table 5.2 for the analysis. Suppose you are playing a 350-yard par-4 and you hit your driver 250 and put 50% in the fairway and 50% in the rough. Then you’d have 100 yards left with an average of 0.5*2.80 + 0.5*3.02. Suppose you hit your 3-wood 230 and put 65% in the fairway and 35% in the rough (on this hole at this distance from the tee). Then you’d have 120 yards left with an average of 0.65*2.85 + 0.35*3.08. The same approach can give different results for short, medium and long par-4 holes. Of course it is better to do this with a complete shot pattern and take into account sand or other hazards besides rough but I hope this gives you the main idea. -Mark

      Reply
  12. Mirko

    Dear Mark,
    Great book! I really enjoyed it. Later, I also read other you papers and I found out a simple linear regression of average score from tee. You provided equations for pros and 90-golfers. I was interested if there’s generic equation for X-golfer.
    Thanks in advance.
    Mirko.

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Mirko, Sorry, there isn’t a generic equation for “X-golfer” but there is a smooth progression. That is, the average score for an 80-golfer lies pretty much in the middle of the average scores for 70-golfers and 90-golfers at each distance and condition (tee, fairway, rough, etc.). -Mark

      Reply
  13. Steven

    Mark,

    Great book! I really enjoyed it.

    I recognize that you had space limitations on the book and am wondering if you can answer a couple of questions here.

    In Chapter 8, “Tee-to-Green Strategy,” you don’t address approach shots. I am guessing that most amateurs would be better off with the middle of the green as their target rather than the flag. Can you give a general guideline for targeting the middle of the green versus targeting the flag based on handicap and distance from the green?

    When you discuss median leave statistics in Chapter 9, “Practice with a Purpose,” you refer to the leave relative to the initial distance, but you don’t address whether the golfer is aiming at the middle of the green or the hole. Would it be correct that I should measure leave distances to the middle of the green when I am 150 yards out (and the middle of the green is my target) and measure leave distances to the hole when I am 20 yards out (and the hole is my target)?

    Thanks,

    Steven

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Steve, Thanks for the comments. Q1. I did run out of pages and will answer your question about approach shots more carefully in the future. But, yes, for most amateurs from 100 yards and out, aiming at the middle of the green makes sense. As you suggest, the smaller the shot pattern, the closer the target should be to the hole. Q2. You’re exactly right that leave distances should be measured relative to the target. Since I can only infer a golfer’s target in most cases, the results that I present in the book are relative to the hole. In the Golfmetrics program, I compute errors relative to the hole and to the middle of the green. For shots outside of 150 yards, the results are nearly identical between the two methods. -Mark

      Reply
  14. Steven

    Errata Addition?

    The axes for Figure 2.1 are the reverse of what the text desribes on the top of page 17, “At the bottom of table 2.1 are golfers who are living proof that tournaments can be won without any help at all from putting.” With the axes the way they are, it should read, “At the left side of table 2.1 are golfers…”

    Best,

    Steven

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Steven, I think the text is correct, but perhaps not as clear as it could be. The “At the bottom of table 2.1″ refers to the table on p.18, not the figure on p.16. You are correct that Figure 2.1 on p.16 has golfers who win without help from their putting. I hope that clarifies it. -Mark

      Reply
  15. jim bolognese

    Dear Mark,
    GREAT job!!
    I read the GOLF WORLD article about strokes gained with keen interest, as I’m a career statistician (>38 years now) and golfer for longer than I’ve been a statistician, ordered and read the book, and now am totally appreciative and supportive of that metric. Many thanks for your work to identify an important key towards measuring performance in golf. I hereby nominate you for the BILL JAMES award as applied to golf.
    I do have these minor comments on items in the book, and a more major one aroused by noting your involvement in USGA handicap assessments.
    minor comments on book:
    p.69 ” . . . Norman’s best worst-ball score of 72 is perfectly consistent with our simulation results.” isn’t this an outlier rather than consistent with the distribution?
    p.79 “Adding two ranks is simply mathematical nonsense.” I totally disagree. See, for example, O’Brien’s 1984 Biometrics paper, which indicates there are cases where adding ranks is VERY useful.
    p.97 are the percentages cited in the footnotes really statistical correlation coefficients or are they R-squared’s x 100 ??

    Now my question re: USGA handicaps. I’ve been handicap chairman of my golf club for over 20 years now, and never understood the rationale for the change to equitable stroke control several years ago which changed from max bogie, max double bogie, max triple bogie, etc., depending on handicap to max 6,7,8 regardless of par. Can you explain the rationale for that change?

    Again, congratulations on an EXCELLENT book, which totally engaged me to set my personal record for fastest read. I’m going to start recording my shot-by-shot data and analyzing it per your recommendations beginning on my next round two days from now – I cannot wait to accumulate and assess the results in relation to the tables you’ve presented in your book.

    Best . . .
    jimbolognese
    woodbridge, NJ

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear JB, Thanks for the kind words and sorry for the delay in responding. It’s really been a hectic month. Comment on p.69: Table 4.1 on p.65 shows an average score for a pro in worst-of-two scramble to be 78. So Greg Norman’s best score in this format of 72 is roughly consistent with the simulation. Comment on p.79: I assume you are referring to the paper “Procedures for Comparing Samples with Multiple Endpoints”. I read the paper and think it is directed at a different type of question than the one considered in the book. Would be happy to follow up offline. Comment on p.97: The values in the footnotes really are correlations, not R-squared values. Equitable stroke control: A valid question. A good ESC system should be equitable and simple, so that golfers follow it correctly. I agree that a max score without regard to par doesn’t make as much sense, but it is a little simpler. -Mark

      Reply
  16. JayM

    Dr Broadie – I picked up your and read your book right after I saw your interview on the Golf Channel. Love the book and very interesting information! I was also surprised that there was some very straightforward helpful tips in the instruction chapters. I also read your golf-related papers on your university site which added some good background.

    Anyway, I’ve got my own spreadsheet going with this system and I’ve charted 4 rounds so far. This got me thinking about how the strokes gained really compare to the average pro. On the course I typically play, the average strokes table using the tee values would predict an average score of ~70.5. My average score is ~74, but even though I’m basically a scratch, I’m pretty sure that an average pro would toast that course with scores probably much below 70. I know in your 2008 paper “Assessing Golfer Performance Using Golfmetrics” you discuss this briefly in a footnote, but I was wondering if you have had an opportunity to assess the difference in golf course difficulty between an average tour course setup vs the more typical golf course that amateurs are playing?

    Jay

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Jay, Thanks for the kind words. “Anyway, I’ve got my own spreadsheet going with this system and I’ve charted 4 rounds so far.” Fantastic! The first comment is that a fixed benchmark makes it easy to see changes in each part of the game. Regarding the course difficulty between a typical course and average tour course, one way to get a little insight is to look at scores on the PGA Tour versus scores on the Web.com tour. The current leader on the PGA Tour in actual scoring average is at 69.7; rank 100 is at 71.2. One the Web.com tour, the leader is at 68.6; rank 100 is 71.3. There is no way that the leader on the Web.com tour is better than the leader on the PGA Tour. Similarly, the golfer ranked 100 on the Web.com tour is not comparable to the golfer ranked 100 on the PGA Tour. The explanation is course difficulty, not golf skill, as you point out. The difference in course difficulty goes well beyond course rating and slope rating. You can probably answer where on the “typical” scale your course falls. I have a paper with Dick Rendleman on the Official World Golf Rankings where we need to simultaneously estimate course difficulty and golfer skill. The same procedure could be applied to tour course and typical courses, but we’d need some golfers to play both courses. -Mark

      Reply
  17. Steven

    Mr. Broadie,

    Great book. I really enjoyed it.

    I am getting hung up on one thing and want to run it by you. In your scenarios of hypothetical golfers, I think that the wrong message comes across. Let me know if I am wrong.

    1. On pages 78-79 you compare a consistent golfer who hits two approach shots to 15 feet with an inconsistent golfer who hits one shot to 28 feet and another to 2 feet. You write, “Both average 15 feet from the hole, but the inconsistent golfer has a distinct scoring advantage since he is likely to sink the two-footer.” The scoring advantage isn’t because he is inconsistent, but because he is close to the hole on one of the two shots.

    2. On page 89 you conclude that it is advantageous to be Mr. Longdrive who hits 220 and 320 yards off the tee instead of Mr. Steadypro who hits 270 yards off the tee twice. The example subtly reinforces the idea that inconsistency is rewarded and consistency is not, when in actuality it is being close to the hole that is rewarded. This can be illustrated by the addition of a third competitor playing the hole, Mr. Wildpro, who hits two drives of 270 yards with one ball 50 yards to the right of his target and the other 50 yards to the left of his target. Mr. Longdrive (assuming that his two shots are on line) and Mr. Wildpro have the same mean and standard deviation for their two shots. The ability to hit the ball a long way is what is advantageous, not the variability itself.

    3. On page 105 you compare the approach shots of Mr. Steadypro who is on the green with two 30-foot putts and Mr. Wildpro who is on the green with a two-foot putt and in the sand 26 yards from the hole. Again, the example, including the name of the pros, suggests that inconsistency is what is rewarded. The real advantage of Mr. Wildpro is not that he is wild, but that he is close to the hole on one of the two shots. He could be more appropriately named “Mr. Sometimes-close-to-the-holepro.” To me, with a name like “Mr. Wildpro,” he should hit one shot 25 yards short of the hole and another 20 yards to the left of it.

    I understand that you are trying to explain the problem with averages and the nature of nonlinearity in your book, but I think that inconsistency and wildness are inadvertently promoted. From what I can make of your data, being long off the tee and close to the hole are rewarded with lower scores. Someone who can be consistently long and accurate off the tee is better off than someone who is inconsistently long or consistently long but wild. Similarly, someone who can be consistently close to the hole is better off than someone who can sometimes be close to the hole. While anyone can be close to the hole with a single shot, the scoring advantage over time goes to the golfer with the smallest median leave. This suggests that consistency is valuable for scoring, not inconsistency.

    You don’t have to include this in the comments on your website, but if I am correct it may be something worth changing for the paperback edition of your book.

    Best,

    Steven

    Reply
    1. MarkB

      Dear Steven, Thanks for the comments and questions. Regarding “1. On pages 78-79 you compare a consistent golfer …” I think it is a question of wording. It might have been clearer if I wrote golfer A and golfer B instead of consistent and inconsistent. “2. On page 89 you conclude that it is advantageous to be Mr. Longdrive who hits 220 and 320 yards off the tee instead of Mr. Steadypro who hits 270 yards off the tee twice. The example subtly reinforces the idea that inconsistency is rewarded and consistency is not, when in actuality it is being close to the hole that is rewarded.” Yes, I agree, it is being closer to the hole that is rewarded. In all of the examples, I really meant to convey the message that you write in the last paragraph. I didn’t mean to promote inconsistency. Rather, I meant to say that averages can be misleading. Thanks! -Mark

      Reply
  18. Gavin

    Hi Mark,

    First of all, I really enjoyed reading the book. As something I had on pre-order for some time I was really anticipating hearing from the guru himself and applying the strokes gained approach to my own game (I am a scratch golfer). I’ve been reading about your work for some time and have been fascinated at the SG approach to putting. I really enjoyed your breakdown tee-to-green of some juicy PGA tour examples.

    Sadly, though, I am left disappointed!

    Aside from the games at the end of the book that give you a ‘directional’ guide for your SG performance, the crucial data is missing. Like other posters, table 5.2 for scratch, 80 and 90 golfers would allow people to apply this methodology to their own games.

    I built my own excel model quickly and plugged your tour data in which gave some interesting insights to an example round of golf. But its hard to truly evaluate my strengths and weaknesses because it isn’t relative to my peer group. And of course that tour data comes on much harder set-ups than my local course (albeit at TPC) which would skew the data too I imagine.

    It sounds like you are building an app and you probably want to keep this data proprietary in order to drive people to buy it. I think this is a short sighted approach for the small minority who have purchased the book and are committed/passionate enough to build their own worksheet.

    Why not share the data on this site, in the errata section? If you are building an app that is more convenient, well thought through and well designed, well hey, i’ll buy that too! If you are worried about others using this data for their own commercial aims, why not share it with a license that prohibits that? Or in lower fidelity (broader yardage gaps?)…upgrade to the app to get more precise results.

    Help us out and we’ll spread the word for you! Very few people will go to the lengths the few commentators here will. I’ll happily recommend others to the book and app.

    Thanks for the consideration and best wishes.
    Gavin

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Gavin, I’m glad you enjoyed the book and appreciate the comments. Also, sorry for any disappointment! As I replied to a similar comment, I’ve used the benchmarks published for junior golfers and kept track of the changes through time. Even if a golfer is 30 strokes worse than the benchmark, you can measure very well progress this way. -Mark

      Reply
  19. JonP

    When I’m tracking approach shots, do I only measure “Median Leave” for shots that hit the green?

    Thanks
    Jon

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Jon, No, median leave should include all shots, whether they hit the green or not (at least that’s the way that I do it). -Mark

      Reply
  20. simon

    dear mr broadie,
    is there any news on when your app will be ready as i cant wait to get started with my players.

    thanks for you response.

    regards
    simon

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Simon, Sorry, still working on it. Programming always seems to take longer than expected. Less than one month, though. Android first, iOS later. -Mark

      Reply
  21. MikeR

    Mr. Broadie,

    Great book, thanks for writing it and it’s really provoked a lot of thought among me and my golfing buddies. One scenario came up that I’m hoping you might be able to comment on:

    Suppose a long par 4 was simply changed to a par 5, with no other changes to the hole. Do you think the change in par could impact the strategy employed by golfers such that the “par 5″ would actually produce a lower average score on the hole? I could see a scenario whereby players would play the long, difficult par 4 very conservatively, but would play much more aggressively on the par 5.

    Just wondering if you have any insight or data on this scenario?

    Thanks,

    Mike

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Mike, Sorry, I don’t have data on this specifically. I believe that Prof. Richard Rendleman is working on a question similar to yours. Clearly the play of pros should not depend on whether a hole is labeled as a par 4 or par 5. And I’ve asked pros who’ve said it wouldn’t change their strategy. But whether that’s reflected in the data is an interesting question. -Mark

      Reply
  22. doug

    Wow, I’m impressed. It’s great to see the strenghts and weaknesses of the best golfers in the world and them uniquely great Also to finally break down the importance of the 4 basic shot types. Your thinking and shotlink data analysis tells the truth about the game at many levels. Can’t wait to go out practice and play the games you discuss at the end.

    Thanks
    Doug

    Reply
  23. Andrew

    I had already read all the papers, so naturally I pre-ordered the book and devoured it as soon as it arrived. It did not disappoint. Like the others, a table for amateurs would have been much appreciated. In fact I held out hope until the very last page of the appendix. Nearly tripling the distance for pro baseline strokes to hole out seems to work reasonably well for 90 golfer.

    Some questions comments:

    1. Just curious about the putting distances. When it says 3 feet, does that mean exactly three feet, or the average of 3 to 4? Would it be reasonable to interpolate, so that for example pro’s would be expected to sink about 82% of 4.5 footers?

    2. Same question for the baseline strokes to hole out tables. Are the increments for that exact distance, or the range?

    3. The discussion about bad putts on page 142 is interesting. I imagine that for longer lag putts, knowing the 90th percentile error is a better predictor of three putts than median distance error. It would be interesting to know the standard deviation across the skill levels in all aspects of the game. This is of course indirectly referenced in the awful shots discussion. Is it more important to have better good shots or better bad shots? I imagine that in most cases it is the former for pros and latter for amateurs.

    4. I find the simulation concept fascinating. A course could be reasonably mapped via google earth. We could enter our stats (or perhaps take a few hundred swings on trackman) and it could predict your scores. You could play “what if ” in terms of strategy, or impact of improvement in one area of your game. You could derive pre tournament strategy for a new course based on your exact personal profile

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Andrew, Thanks for the comments and questions.

      1. When it says 3 feet, it is the average of 2.5 to 3.5 feet. Interpolation between 7 and 8 feet to get the 7.5-foot make probability would be very accurate.
      2. Same answer – the range surrounds the distance listed.
      3. The 90th percentile distance error is highly, though not perfectly, correlated with median distance error. In order not too have even more numbers, and since the median is quite representative, I usually focus on that. The better good shots versus fewer bad shots is interesting, and I’m not sure I have the answer. It is true that for groups of golfers, that awful shots go up as average score increases, median error (and all perecentiles of errors) go up as average score increases, and good /great shots go down as average score increases. For individual golfers, I’d suggest comparing their performance against the benchmarks to see if they are typical or not.
      4. Agreed!

      -Mark

      Reply
  24. Aaron

    Enjoying the book so far! Hoping an APP will be out soon for IOS (iPhone).

    I’m wondering if you could clarify this a little more….

    “According to our simulation, a typical tour pro would average about 80 playing worst-ball scramble on a championship course. A golfer’s best worst-ball score is lower than his average by about eight strokes, so Norman’s best worst-ball score of 72 is perfectly consistent with our simulation results.”

    Assuming the simulation would’ve used a typical scratch golfer with an average score of 84 playing worst-ball scramble on a championship course. Would the scratch golfer’s best worst-ball score be lower than his average by about eight strokes, so the scratch golfer’s best worst ball score be 76?

    Thanks for taking time to respond.

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Aaron, “Would the scratch golfer’s best worst-ball score be lower than his average by about eight strokes, so the scratch golfer’s best worst ball score be 76?” Yes, exactly. If a scratch golfer averages 84 strokes in worst-ball scramble, then eight strokes lower than that, a 76, would be one of the best worst-ball scores. Part of the variation is that we all have good days and bad days and another part is that course and weather conditions change from round to round. Glad you’re liking the book so far. -Mark

      Reply
  25. Simon

    Hi mark,
    I have been following you posts about your app that you are bringing out. Are you any closer to have a date when it will be ready?

    Sorry for my impatiance!

    Best regards
    Simon

    Reply
      1. Pat

        Agreed. I’ve held off on trying out other stuff waiting for this one. Please don’t tell me my choice was a wrong one….

        Reply
          1. Pat

            HI Mark,

            Well there is shotbyshot.com, and several different stats programs that are part of GPS apps(which I wouldn’t use, but the stat part may be useful). I had considered getrealgolfstats.com as well, but unless I am missing something I am not sure I am seeing value in the program for the price they are asking.

            I went from religiously tracking my stats traditionally to nothing as I have waited for this one.

            Now, I’m also a bit old school, so this may be a silly question, but I’m the type who prefers to have my data on my own computer as opposed to on some website. I don’t suppose there will be a desktop component to this would there?

            Thanks Mark
            Pat

  26. tim cork

    Loved the book.
    I am not clear from above posts if this new app which you discuss will allow strokes gained data to be calculated for all handicaps.
    As a 10 handicapper it would be great to have the strokes gained as per the table 5.2.
    Will this data be available in the app?
    Will it be published somewhere else?
    Is the app now available.
    Please advise
    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Tim, We had an Android version ready for beta testing, but decided to re-start using a system that would work on both Android and iOS. It looks like we’ll have something ready for both Android and iOS before the next season starts. So sorry for the delay! Regarding the 10-handicapper benchmark question: what I do in the Golfmetrics program is (1) compute strokes gained in each shot category, and then (2) give golfer “handicaps”. For example, a 10-handicapper might be driving the ball like a 5-handicapper and putting like a 15-handicapper. I’ve found this to be a useful way of presenting the results, but I am interested in your thoughts. -Mark

      Reply
      1. oskar

        Hi Mark,
        Very excited about the app! Looking forward to trying it.
        As a coach I would be looking to use it with my students, will you provide any “coach platform” for me to gather my players stats and analyze them? Let’s say my player has played a round and want to “share” his round with me.
        Another thought I had was if I, or my players, want to compare their game to another level. Let’s say my student who is a average 90-golfer want to be a consistent 80-golfer, much as the table 5.2 compares me with the PGA Tour, will the app have the same “archive” for me to be compared to the level of my choice?

        Many thanks for a superb book,
        best regards,
        Oskar

        Reply
        1. MarkB Post author

          Dear Oskar, The “coach platform” is a great suggestion and one we are working on. The information presented will be useful to amateur golfers of all levels. -Mark

          Reply
          1. oskar

            Thank you Mr Broadie for your response. Another question. As a european, my basic measurement is in meters and centimeters. Will it be able, in the app, to put in values as meters of do I have to convert these to yards-feet by myself before entering them in the app?

            Thank you,
            Oskar

  27. Peter L

    Love the book, really changed my view on stats. Only problem is I want to capture a ton of stats now. Would really love to see the strokes gained for amateurs across distances and lies as I am doing my own thing to track the stats until your app is available on iOS.
    Question on shot quality for approach shots, which you measure by the ratio of the remaining distance to the original distance. You don’t appear to distinguish layups (e.g. Second shot on a long par 5). Doesn’t that skew the numbers as the percentage on those shots would be really bad? I was thinking of treating approach shots and layups as two different shot types, is that the wrong way to look at it?

    Thanks again for the great info,
    Peter

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Peter, Working hard on a multi-platform app. “Question on shot quality for approach shots, which you measure by the ratio of the remaining distance to the original distance.” I use strokes gained to measure the quality of all shots (approach and layup). A simpler measure for shots under 200 yards is to look at the ratio of the remaining distance to the original distance. I think of strokes gained as the more accurate performance measure and the “error ratio” as the simpler explanation for the performance (generally smaller percentage errors lead to greater strokes gained). I usually only look at this ratio for shots under 200 yards from the hole. For shots over 250 yards (e.g., layup shots), I usually just look at strokes gained. I hope that answers your question. -Mark

      Reply
  28. Jeff Kelley

    Mark,

    I was at one time a fellow Pelham Country Club member. I have been gone for a number of years now but still miss a few holes dearly. I have my own spreadsheet that I have been using to track my strokes gained using your data (thanks for all your input via Twitter as I was putting this together). I have about 15 rounds accumulated thus far. I have been keeping average and median data for all of the strokes gained categories. I have been assuming that a PGA pro would be about a +4 handicap and I am a -5 handicap so I expect about a 9 strokes gained total differential in my results versus a PGA pro would be fairly good result. It would be nice to see how I stack up against fellow golfers who shoot around 80. It would also be nice if the app were able to pinpoint areas that one should focus on improving in to most quickly bring them to their target scoring goals. Much like your FRL data does. (i.e. if your % is higher than your target group then your short game needs work and if your % is lower than your target group then your ball striking needs work) thanks for all your great work.

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Jeff, Thanks for the comment and sorry I missed you at Pelham! “It would be nice to see how I stack up against fellow golfers who shoot around 80. It would also be nice if the app were able to pinpoint areas that one should focus on improving in to most quickly bring them to their target scoring goals.” I agree and the app will do this. Congrats for creating and doing this in your own spreadsheet. I think you’ll find the app easier to use (and possible to use on the course without taking much time or affecting your play. -Mark

      Reply
  29. MikeC

    Hi Mark,
    Great book. In your table 5.2 there’s no values for less than 20 yards (although in one of your papers I was able to find 10 yards). Imagine I’m 5 yards off the green in the rough. Was there not sufficient data to predicted expected value from that situation?
    Best,
    Mike

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Mike, Sorry, I was just trying to save space, especially where there weren’t many shots. From 5 yards in the rough the PGA Tour average strokes to hole out is about 2.15 strokes and about 2.37 from the sand. -Mark

      Reply
  30. James

    Prof. Broadie,

    Awesome book! It has changed the way I approach lowering my handicap. Eager to use your app once available. Until then, it may be difficult to track specific strokes gained throughout the round to identify areas for improvement.

    In the book you cite several concrete methods for lowering scores MOST QUICKLY. Q1) Which methods would you rank quickest to slowest? For example, I interpreted the quickest ways to lower scores from greatest to least effect as:

    1. Reducing double awful shots
    2. Reducing awful shots
    3. Using GIRP to identify strengths & weaknesses
    3. Improve green reading & targets for putts 3-7 feet

    Q2) What tools do you recommend for golfers looking to track strokes gained during a round in lieu of your app? More specifically, how are your amateurs getting fast, accurate distances on the greens?

    Thanks for all your hard work in this most interesting field of study.

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear James, Thanks for the kind words! I likely your list and would modify slightly: 1. Reducing double awful shots; 2. Reducing awful shots; 3. Improve green reading and short putting (e.g., 3-10 feet). Under identifying strengths and weaknesses, I prefer to sue strokes gained, but simpler than that is: comparing double-awful and awful shots to the benchmark, using median error to measure approach shot accuracy (and compare to the benchmarks), and putting games to measure short putting skill off the course (or tracking your strokes gained putting for on-course shots).

      “Q2) What tools do you recommend for golfers looking to track strokes gained during a round in lieu of your app? More specifically, how are your amateurs getting fast, accurate distances on the greens?” There are some spreadsheets available for tracking strokes gained on the internet. I think that’s more painful and less powerful than the app will be. For measuring distances on the green, I try to calibrate my paces during practice (e.g., pace from the 150 marker to the 100 marker and see if you take 50 strides). For putts longer than 40 feet, I’ll sometimes use my laser. For long putts, getting to within a couple of feet is good enough – you just don’t want to be biased and measure all putts shorter or longer than the really are. For putts around 6-10 feet, I’ll (once) measure the flagstick and compare the putt to the flagstick laying on the ground (visually, not by picking up the flagstick and measuring). -Mark

      Reply
  31. Peter L

    Thanks for the reply, really appreciate it! That does answer my question and makes sense, thanks. I actually tried capturing the necessary info to start determine strokes gained in a recent round and gave up after four holes :) I created a form to fill out that made it as easy as possible, and used my GPS watch to measure the exact length of each shot, but it was still a lot of work and distracted too much from my game. Will have to wait for your iPhone app and hope that it makes the process easier, can’t wait!

    Thanks,
    Peter

    Reply
  32. greg links

    Hello Mark,
    I’m from Switzerland and I am very interested in golf statistics. Can you help me to understand how the statistic “sand save” is calculated? I read on the PGA website : Sand save percentage is calculated by the number of times a player is able to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker, regardless of score.
    How to determine a greenside bunker? Is it a question of distance to the green? What if the player managed to reach the green from a bunker 110 yards followed by 1 putt? Are we talking of “sand save” in this case?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Greg, The PGA Tour defines a ball to be in a “greenside bunker” if it is within 30 yards of the edge of the green. So in your example, a shot from a bunker 110 yards from the hole would not be counted as a sand save attempt. -Mark

      Reply
      1. Greg Links

        Dear Mark, thank you for your answer, in this case how do we call the very long bunker hole 18 at Pebble Beach. It starts from the green and extends over 100 yards along the fairway. Is it a greenside bunker or a fairway bunker?
        thank you
        Greg

        Reply
        1. MarkB Post author

          Dear Greg, That bunker would be classified in both ways, depending on the situation. That is, if the ball is close enough (within 30 yards of the edge of the green), the shot would be counted as starting from a greenside bunker. If the ball starts in the bunker more that 30 yards from the edge of the green, the shot would be counted as starting from a fairway bunker. -Mark

          Reply
  33. Gerald Hacker

    @MarkBroadie help me out here.. P136 dowhill putts target shld b farther byond than uphill? Makes no sense at all to me.. Downhills run away therefore the further your target is past the hole on a downhill putt the more likely you are to have a 10, 12,15 foot second putt back up the hill… In my opinion you have this exact opposite…. The more slope you have the more an uphill putts target should be beyond the hole because your fighting gravity and friction… Based on your scatter pattern of downhill putts p136 dont you think that it could be that the PGA pros target necissarily wasnt past the hole but rather they are playing on stimps of 11,12,13… And the balls just keep on rolling on sloped greens… Maybe im misunderstanding this part of your book but in my physics mind its completely wrong… Help me see the light… I seriously dont get it.

    Gerald

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Gerald, Thanks for the comments and questions. First, I think that my use of “target” for putts is somewhat confusing. It seems to be a fine term for approach shots or tee shots, but doesn’t resonate for putts. I’m using target to mean where a putt would finish if the hole was covered. The optimal speed to hit a putt is between “die it in the hole” and “bang it in the back.” Let’s suppose that the optimal speed at the hole is about halfway between those two extremes and is roughly the same for uphill and downhill putts. Then uphill misses will not go as far beyond the hole compared to downhill misses, just due to gravity. This is exactly what you see in the data (both for pros and for amateurs). It also is consistent with results that I find using an optimization model.

      I’m not saying the golfers consciously aim further beyond the hole on downhill putts, but the results (e.g., putt scatter patterns) are consistent with that happening. The difference are small but significant. Downhill misses might finish a foot or more beyond the hole compared to uphill putts, but not “10, 12, 15″ feet. Does that clarify it?

      -Mark

      Reply
  34. Keven M

    Hi Mark,

    Love the book, and especially the drills,they allow the measurement of progress which is always motivating. A few quick questions…

    Question 1: In Table 9.4, the median holes to win at 10-foot distance for an 80-golfer is 24, and at the 15-foot distance is listed as a (lower) 21. Is this an anomaly due to a small sample size, or an error?

    Question 2: I am an academic conducting research in product design; are you conducting, or are you aware of, any shots gained research that examines the influence of equipment (e.g., clubs, balls, rangefinders, etc.) on shots gained/lost?

    Best regards,
    Keven

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Keven, For question 1: The “median holes to win” in table 9.4 should be increasing from top to bottom, which they are. However, the comparison across rows doesn’t have to be increasing, because the “points to win” changes as the distance changes. The median holes to win for an 80-golfer at 10 feet is 24. If the 15-foot game also required 10 points, it would take way more than 24 holes to win. So I changed the definition of “win” to be 5 points so it wouldn’t take an 80-golfer so long to win.

      For question 2: I know that equipment manufacturers do quite a bit of testing on news balls and clubs. The goal is to create better “shot patterns” for golfers. This should translate to improvement in strokes gained. However, I don’t know of any academically rigorous large-scale on-course tests (probably because of the expense). Have you heard of any? Are you planning to do something yourself?

      -Mark

      Reply
  35. Sean McGrath

    I’m reading your book which is very interesting. Your Scramble simulation is understandable- however in our club we have a two ball scramble where a team of two tee off pick the best ball, both play from there and repeat the process until the end. Normally an allowance of 10% of the combined handicaps is given. The Competition is usually won by two low single figure golfers. We are of course taking the best ball in both cases , but the high handicappers can easily put both shots into trouble !!

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Sean, Interesting to hear that you have a scramble tournament. If the competition is usually won by low handicappers, then it doesn’t sound like the handicapping is handled fairly. To make sure I understand, if you have a 15 handicap playing with a 21 handicap, the team would get 3.6 strokes taken off their score at the end? -Mark

      Reply
  36. Gregory Fiegel

    Mark,
    Loved your book. I am obsessed with identifying weak areas in my game and this is going to take it to the next level. I am currently collecting data in a spread sheet. Any updates on your App?

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Gregory, Thanks for the comments on the book! We are shooting for the beginning of the spring with the app. We re-started the development so it would work on Android, iOS, and desktops. -Mark

      Reply
  37. David Love

    Dear Mark,

    I dont recall in your book an exact table for part of game importance and if it varies with level? What im saying is that when you have a hcap say of 8 and your levels are teeshots- 14, approaches – 12, putting – 5 ,pitching/chipping 7, bunkers- 17 then its important to attain an importance worth to every part so the poor guy isnt in the bunker all day and its not really going to help get his hcap down. If this is done then its also then obvious than if he is good at a testing level in the important parts then playing strategy is his problem.

    Loved the book cant wait for the app

    thanks

    David

    Reply
    1. David Love

      And also if you have a table on importance per level i can imagine a tour player will actually with an average of 13 greens in regulation have less emphasis on the chips and pitches than a 13 hcap who will probably average 4 greens in regulation and will need to rely on short game 14 times per round

      Reply
      1. MarkB Post author

        Dear David, Thanks for the comments. The app is taking much longer than expected because we re-started development so it will work on iOS, Android and desktops. I agree with your points and the app will report both strokes gained by shot categories and sub-categories, as well as give corresponding handicaps in each part of the game. This will make it easier for amateurs to compare their games to other amateurs and not just Tour players. -Mark

        Reply
  38. Dan Sniffin

    Hi There!

    Great book Mark! I’ve also been studying AimPoint and was curious about your thoughts regarding misses on short putts. Do you think that the pros are deliberately targeting points that far beyond the hole (1.2′-2.2′ past the hole depending on slope) or do you think it is possible that the reason that that distance is due to the fact that the player missed?

    In other words, do you think there is a chance that the fact that the scatter pattern is based on misses instead of makes from short range may skew those numbers? For example the player hits the putt slightly too hard, reducing capture size of hole, increasing the odds of a miss, and then that’s the one that gets measured?

    Thanks for the book!

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Dan, I really appreciate the comments on the book.

      “Do you think that the pros are deliberately targeting points that far beyond the hole (1.2′-2.2′ past the hole depending on slope)”

      I think my use of the term “target” for putts was confusing. I think golfers pick a line and a speed and consider that their “target,” not the resting position of the putt. I don’t think 2 feet beyond the hole is that far for a miss (especially on downhill putts on fast greens)!

      “do you think there is a chance that the fact that the scatter pattern is based on misses instead of makes from short range may skew those numbers?” Great question and one that I struggled with. There might be some bias in looking at misses and not makes (because, as you said, we don’t know where the makes would have finished if the hole was covered). However, the fraction of makes decreases quickly with the putt distance, so any bias would decrease as well. I get similar conclusions from medium range putts (e.g., 8-12 feet) as for shorter putts (3-7 feet), so I suspect that the bias isn’t that big. I also get similar results from a pure simulation analysis.

      -Mark

      Reply
  39. Dan Sniffin

    Thank you for the quick reply Mark! I am actually here at the PGA Teaching and Coaching summit as we speak and I am glad I read your book before attending as there have been numerous mentions by top coaches on the stage about how they use your analysis and reports to teach their tour players!

    As a follow up question, do you think that the rising popularity of aim point and it’s general idea that slower rolling putts increase capture size of the hole will change that measurement over the next few years? In other words, many of the the players on tour during the time you measured may have been taught to putt short putts with more speed than what may have been optimal. Do you have any data that shows that number changing over time, or perhaps how that “target” changes for the very best putters in strokes gained on short putts?

    If no data, do you have an opinion on the matter?

    Thanks so much!

    Dan

    Reply
  40. _Fred_

    Dear Mark,

    I am actually reading your book with a lot of interest! Working myself with “data”, I really like your approach!
    I started to play golf again last year and immediately kept track of my “round stats”. Unfortunately, I quickly noticed that with the general stats (GIR, Fairway Hits, etc.), it is still not easy to determine on which parts of my game I have to focus on. I am thus very eager to start the new season and to apply the Strokes Gained method!

    In this context, I would like to know if/when it will be possible to have the Strokes Gained Table for amateur golfers (mainly 80/90)? I know it will be contained in your app but is it possible to also have some insights before you release the app?

    KR,

    _Fred_

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Fred, Thanks for the comments and question. We are working hard on the app and are close to a beta version. Most of the advantage of the strokes gained method comes from the way shots are measured against a fixed benchmark. Using the “Pro” standard as the fixed benchmark works! I’ll post more info on our app as it becomes available. -Mark

      Reply
  41. Kenneth Hansen

    Hi Mark. When The app is ready. Where will it be published? Any idea if it will be before april? I am using strokeaverage at the moment with all my players but i will rather use your app when it is ready. Our season starts in april

    Reply
  42. Andy W

    Thanks Mark for the great book. Really appreciate the section on practice, too.

    I’m just curious about the latest update for the app. I’m also interested in the coaching platform as I need something to analyze my students. Thus do you have an expected date now and also what might the price approximately be?

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Andy, Thanks for the comments. We are close to a beta. We haven’t figured out the pricing model yet, but my goals are to provide this to as many interested golfers as possible while at least recovering the development costs. -Mark

      Reply
      1. Andy W

        Thanks for the reply. Sounds good, but regarding what I read in another comment – meters are absolutely crucial.
        Cheers from the Nordic countries!

        Reply
  43. Eric schossow

    Enjoyed the read Mark,
    Something that has always bothered me was the handicapping system. (I.e rating/slope). As you mentioned you were on a committee for the UsGa, have there been discussions about revamping the process. Some thoughts:
    1) wouldn’t the rating of a course be closely related to the the strokes gained score of an Amatuer golfer at Scratch? I have looked at ratings of courses I’ve played, and compared to strokes gained from that tee box, and it is 2-3 strokes different sometimes.
    2) hole Handicaps – in the same regard, shouldn’t holes Handicap number have a strong correlation to the SG it would take to finish the hole. Most courses I play, the majority of Handicap Holes 15-18 are the par 3s. The Par fives are the lowest handicap holes. (1-4). While in theory this should make sense, what tee boxes you play has a enormous difference of how hard that hole would play too. For instance, a 225 yd Par 3 is much more difficult for all handicap ranges then a shorter tee box at 150 yards. This would definitely not be the easiest hole on the course at 225 yards.

    Both comments are just examples…..the main point is the rating/slope handicap system in general could use a major revamp (as is the trend moving away from FW/GIR/PUTTS) and looking at it from different viewpoint

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Eric, “1) wouldn’t the rating of a course be closely related to the the strokes gained score of an Amatuer golfer at Scratch?” Yes!
      “I have looked at ratings of courses I’ve played, and compared to strokes gained from that tee box, and it is 2-3 strokes different sometimes.” I’d encourage you to send specifics to the USGA handicapping department.
      “2) hole Handicaps ” This is definitely one of the issues that the USGA Handicap Research Team looks at. Again, please send specific comments to them. I’ve found that it how many strokes are given matters much more than on which holes. -Mark

      Reply
  44. Pat

    Hi Mark,

    There’s been some discussion on another board about your upcoming app, and a question came up. The assumption seems to be that it will include a GPS function. Is that so? I know for me, personally, I’d prefer an option without it, as I would enter my data after the round. Just curious what the thinking was on that point.

    Thanks
    Pat

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Doug, Sorry for the delay. It is not off the radar. We are close to a beta version. -Mark

      Reply
  45. michael maddalena

    Any news on the app and what it will be called. Golf season is just around the corner. Really enjoyed the book and have used a spreadsheet to help identify weaknesses but feel this app will take my practice to the next level in determining where i need to get better. Single digit trying to get to scratch this year.

    Reply
  46. James

    Hello Mark, there is a web site titled Strokes Gained Golf (http://www.strokesgainedgolf.com) that captures golf shot lie and distance data and shows strokes gained statistics. Is this a competitors web site or someone you have partnered with? Their only benchmark level is the PGA Tour level, which is fine but I’d prefer being able to select from a variety of handicap levels to compare my results too.

    james

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Hi James, I have no affiliation with that website. Our app will compare to a variety of handicap levels. -Mark

      Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Hi Johann, We haven’t tested on the Windows phone, but we are trying our best to make it platform independent. -Mark

      Reply
  47. James

    Hi Mark-

    Can you comment on how your app will be different than the SG features in the Arccos measuring solution (https://arccosgolf.com/)?

    Obviously you won’t have hardware to use like the screw in device, but as far as measuring and reporting SG data, any difference?

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      I am reluctant to give a time frame after being so far off before. I’d say weeks (not days and not months). -Mark

      Reply
  48. Jack

    Hi Mark,

    Great book, thoroughly enjoyed; finally the golf revolution is here! Just wanted to ask a few questions. As a hacker who is always looking to improve his golf, I wanted to ask about some of the logistics of applying strokes gained to amateur play:
    1) When comparing my strokes gained stats to that of the PGA Tour, does the difficulty of the course you’re playing come into consideration? If so, how could I go about equalising the effects of course difficulty to gain a better view for where my game’s really at?
    2) I’m currently taking my own data; I laser the distance of each shot to the hole, and record the lie. Approximately how many rounds do you think it will take before I can fairly assess my strengths and weaknesses?

    Thanks in advance, and kind regards,
    Jack

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Hi Jack, Thanks for the questions. (1) If you typically play the same course, then having a fixed benchmark is most useful for determining strengths and weaknesses, even if the benchmark isn’t perfect for your particular course. The main factor in the difficulty of the course is its length, and the benchmark takes this into account. On the PGA Tour we can do better, by seeing how the entire field plays the course and adjust for the course difficulty using that information. (2) One round is useful to begin to calibrate your perception of what happened to what the strokes gained analysis shows. One round is enough to see where you played well and where you played poorly. But since round scores typically fluctuate up or down by three to five or more strokes, it can take several rounds (three to five, say) to learn your real strengths and weaknesses. -Mark

      Reply
  49. Tanner

    Mr. Broadie,

    Awesome book! I play for Rogers State University and we have all read and loved you book as it has helped us all figure out where our weaknesses are during our rounds!

    I have one question! In the book you mention that Downhill putts: Target should be farther beyond the hole. Uphill putts: target should be closer to the hole. You mention that you should pick a target for a downhill putt that is farther away from the hole than on uphill putts. Can you explain why pro’s pick a target for a fast downhill putt further beyond the hole rather than short of the hole?

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Thanks for the question. I think my use of the term “target” for putts was confusing. I think golfers pick a line and a speed and consider that their “target,” not the resting position of the putt.

      What is crystal clear in the data is that downhill misses tend to travel farther from the hole than uphill misses. Note that a ball traveling at the same speed as it nears the hole will stop quicker going uphill than downhill, and that is the simple explanation for what happens in the data. Another way to say it is that you should expect downhill misses to roll and finish slightly further form the hole than uphill misses. I hope that helps. -Mark

      Reply
  50. Jeff Kelley

    Mark, have you begun beta testing yet? I would love to test beta app and provide feedback. My SG spreadsheet has been a great help for me to target areas for improvement in my game and I’m sure the app will be even better.

    Reply
  51. Jeff kelley

    Mark, are you going to be the Wells Fargo Championship this weekend? Would love to say hello. I’m a former Pelham CC member now living here in Charlotte. I’m also an avid strokes gained user. I can’t wait for until the app is released. Jeff

    Reply
  52. Frank

    Hello Mark,
    If I hit a driver 250 Yards into the woods the strokes gained effect on that Drive will be minimal (-0.2). The shot after that, f.e. 50 yards back to the fairway with my 5 iron, will have a huge loss of strokes gained (-0.8).

    Don’t you think that your conclusion of accurancy and distance of tee-shots is disturbed by this effect?

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Dear Frank, The situation you describe would be considered a drive hit into a recovery situation. A drive, for example, can finish in the fairway, rough, sand, recovery, or result in a penalty. Finishing in a “recovery” is worse than finishing in the rough. The result is that the strokes gained of the drive is reduced and the strokes gained of the recovery shot is increased (relative to a shot from the rough). So we are in agreement: The tee shot into the woods should be penalized (and so have a lower strokes gained) relative to a tee shot in to the rough. -Mark

      Reply
  53. Andrew

    I really enjoyed the simulation analysis in the book and academic papers of factors such as hole size, no trees, best ball etc.

    Has the impact of hole location been simulated? For example, what would the difference in scoring be for the easiest possible location versus the hardest? For pros? For amateurs?

    Reply
  54. Luke

    Mark,

    First of all I thoroughly enjoyed the book – the kind of analysis is right up my street. Reading through the comments here answer my one question (why no amateur strokes gained data); however, my other questions relates to within 20 yards: I have kept track of my rough distances and measured my SG vs the pro’s, unfortunately no data is given for within 20 yards in Table 5.2. Is there a reason for this? I have only read the book once and then skimmed over some parts as a refresh so it is highly likely I’ve missed something out.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. MarkB Post author

      Hi Luke, Just not enough space for more detailed tables. For pros at 10 yards, the average strokes to hole out is approximately: 2.14 fairway, 2.31 rough and 2.45 sand. -Mark

      Reply
      1. Luke

        Thanks for the reply, Mark. I have another query: Figure 7.12 and Figure 7.13 highlight poorly struck putts and poorly read putts respectively, furthermore, the overriding notion is “green reading dominates the gravity effect and causes downhill putts to be more difficult than uphill putts”. However, I am wondering why this is the case as, surely, the putts in Fig. 7.12 could equally have been caused by a poor read; conversely, the putts in Fig. 7.13 could’ve been caused by a poorly struck putt – it just depends how you label it, surely?!

        From the Figures and data presented I think of it as: mishit and/or misread putts which lie DIRECTLY on the fall line will end up closer to the hole when the putt is downhill vs when it is downhill. Similarly, putts played with too much break will end up closer to the hole when the putt is downhill (but not directly on the fall line); conversely, putts played with too little break will end up closer to the hole when the putt is uphill (again, when not directly on the fall line). My thoughts are based off the assumptions and comparisons in the book, e.g., Opposing putts are played an equal amount of cups outside the edge of the hole – which is how you compare uphill and downhill putts in the book.

        Are my thoughts correct?

        Kind regards,

        Luke

        Reply

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