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Data Study: Does climate matter for young golfers looking to reach top levels of golf?

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Let me ask you a question: When considering college, what’s the most important thing to you? Based on data collected on thousands of junior golfers, the top 3 answers are: academics, the coach and weather.

Since I love data, I thought it would be interesting to see how much weather actually matters for the development of golfers. I examined the weather for junior golf homes of top 20 male professional golfers, current top 20 amateurs in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and the last 20 individual NCAA National Champions. When gathering the data, I categorized each player on the list based on data from weather.com into 3 categories:

  1. 300+ days of golf per year with weather of at least 60 degrees
  2. 225+ days of golf per year with weather of at least 60 degrees
  3. 150 or so days of golf per year with weather of at least 60 degrees

Examples of 1’s are Florida, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and California, examples of 2’s are Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and examples of 3 are South Korea, Northern Ireland, Wisconsin, Canada and the Dakota’s.

Please note: while players might be from the same country, the regions have very different climates. Since the climates are different, the players ended in dissimilar categories.

The top 20 Players in the World

Category 1

Dustin Johnston (South Carolina), Brooks Keopka (Florida), Jordan Spieth (Texas), Rickie Fowler (California), Jason Day (Australia), Patrick Reed (Texas), Bubba Watson (Florida), Phil Mickelson (California), Marc Leishman (Australia), Sergio (Spain)

Total = 10

Category 2

Justin Thomas (Kentucky), John Rahm (Spain), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Franscesco Molinari (Italy)

Total = 4

Category 3

Justin Rose (England), Rory McIlroy (N. Ireland), Tommy Fleetwood (England), Paul Casey (England), Alex Noren (Sweden), Henrik Stenson (Sweden)

Total = 6

Top 20 Players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking

Category 1

Braden Thornberry (Mississippi), Justin Suh (California), Collin Morikawa (California), Min Woo Lee (Australia), Chandler Phillips (Texas, Fredrik Nilehn (Texas), Sadom Kaewkanjana (Thailand), Andy Zhang (Florida), Matthew Wolff (California / Oklahoma), Angel Hidalgo Portillo (Spain), Shintaro Ban (Nevada)

Total = 11

Category 2

Zach Bauchou (Oklahoma/Virginia)

Total = 1

Category 3

Victor Hovland (Oklahoma/Norway), Matthew Jordan (England), Oliver Gillbery (Sweden), Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark), Robin Dawson (Ireland), Todd Clements (England), , David Micheluzzi (Australia), Stewart Hagestad (New York)

Total = 8

The last 20 Individual NCAA Champions

Category 1

Braden Thornberry (Mississippi), Aaron Wise (Cape Town, SA / Live in California), Max Homa (California), John Peterson (Texas), Kevin Chappell (California), Jamie Lovemark (California), Jonathan Moore (California), Alejandro Canizares (Spain), Troy Matteson (Florida), Charles Howell (Georgia) and James Mclean (Australia)

Total = 11

Category 2

James Lepp (Canada)

Total = 1

Category 3

Broc Everett (Iowa), Cameron Wilson (Connecticut), Thomas Pieters (Belgium), Scott Langley (Illinois), Matt Hill (Canada), Ryan Moore (Washington), Nick Gilliam (Wisconsin), Luke Donald (England)

Total = 8

Conclusion

Based on the data, 53 percent (32/60) came from category 1 climates, 10 percent (6/60) came from category 2 climates and 37 percent (22/60) came from category 3 climates. Surprised? While more research is needed to fully understand the nuances, environment is certainly tied to the individuals learning. Based on this, here are some takeaways for players from different climates.

Ideal Climates: While you have the best opportunity based on the weather and course conditions to shoot a good score, it is important to invest in developing different shot shapes and trajectories, as well as learning to play in the rain / wind when it comes; next time it’s raining in Southern California run to the first tee and get in 9 holes. When the weather is idea, consider playing different games to sharpen your skills. For example, play with just irons, or ever other iron, or the rough out of bounds or play where your competitor names the shot shape you need to hit each shot.

Less than Ideal Climates: While you have less opportunity to shoot low scores in perfect weather and conditions, you have great opportunities to invest in skills that will serve you in the long run. In my experience the best players from these climates use cold months very carefully to refine technical skills through lots of block practice. They are also diligent about the time they have on the course, keeping careful stats and making sure nice days are spent at the course engaged in competition. When the weather is not ideal, don’t be afraid to play from a much shorter yardage to ensure you can still shoot good scores.

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Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. 2Putt

    Oct 4, 2018 at 9:32 am

    I thought Texas was category 2…?

  2. Polar Bear

    Oct 4, 2018 at 4:07 am

    Fredrik Nilehn is from Gothenburg in Sweden but goes to Texas Tech

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Opinion & Analysis

A trip down Magnolia Memory Lane: 1970s Masters fashion

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Recently, we covered some of the best fans outfits from the 1991 Masters Tournament won by Ian Woosnam (Patron Fashion at the ’91 Masters). Now, it’s time to look back on what many call the height of all golf fashion: the 1970s.

This era in sport, not just golf, was pre-large-scale commercialization. Certainly, sponsorships were a part of golf but not in the way it is today. Each break in the action or reply wasn’t brought to you by “brand X” and clothing, and fashion followed a similar minimalistic trend. There was no scripting, there were no special edition brand activations, and shirts were mostly devoid of sponsors unlike there are today—most players didn’t even wear hats.

These are some of the greatest final round outfits from ’70s Master’s final rounds.

1974

Dave Stockton wore a beautiful yellow ensemble, which included matching white belt and shoes. If you’re going to go full yellow – this is the way to do it. Take note, 2006 Hoylake Sergio Garcia.

You don’t need the graphic to recognize the full head of hear belonging to two-time Masters champ Ben Crenshaw. His patterned polo went along very nicely with a pair of matching solid-colored pants.

Tom Weiskopf never won a green jacket, but as far as the Masters is concerned, he could easily go down as one of the best dressed throughout his career. These pants alone belong in the hall of fame.

Green always looks good on the grounds of Augusta National, and Jim Colbert showcases one of the finest ways to work the pallet. Extra points for the bucket hat.

Jack Nicklaus is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game, and if we only take into account Green Jackets, then he’s number 1. Jack also ranks very high as far as outfits go, and always looked classy while strolling the rolling hills of Augusta, almost always in a signature thin horizontal striped shirt.

1975

Johnny Miller is another man that never won the Masters, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of close calls. He came second in 1975 but his outfit could have been considered the clubhouse leader, thanks to a well-fit solid blue stiff-collar polo that also went well with his flowing blonde locks. Now I know I said I would leave the patrons alone for this, but I have to ask “what the heck is that pink thing on that woman’s head behind Miller on the tee box?” I’m extremely thankful this was broadcast in color.

Thanks to the signature glasses, Hale Irwin is easy to spot, and as mentioned already, green also looks good inside the ropes at Augusta. The long button closure was a telltale sign of the times and few pulled this look off as well as Hale. Also, one more patron to point out: the man in the full yellow pants, jacket, and hat (this is the outfit of the guy she told you not to worry about).

Tom Weiskopf, a towering man from Ohio, made clothing look good. His 1975 final round lilac sweater would have fit very nicely under a green jacket along with the high collar white shirt. This look was as classic then, as it is today.

1976

Raymond Floyd won the green jacket this year and the collar on his shirt could be considered a premonition for the culminating events. Raymond’s pants were also well-tailored to show off his brown and white saddle shoes.

Ben Crenshaw once again made color look good in 1976 with a striped yellow and red shirt to go along with a red belt, and yellow pants. This Texas Longhorn even coordinated his glove for the occasion.

 

*Featured image courtesy of Masters.com, and yes, that’s current ANGC chair and then amateur sensation Fred Ridley strolling the fairway with Jack Nicklaus. 

 

 

 

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The Gear Dive

The Gear Dive: TrackMan’s Lance Vinson Part 2

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