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Women’s college golfers (and juniors) are getting significantly better, here are the stats

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Here’s the deal: If you are talking about women’s golf these days, especially at the elite level, you are talking about superstars! These girls are crazy good, and I wanted to take an opportunity to highlight some of the data to help better inform everyone.

Let’s start with a couple key highlights from the first couple of weeks of the 2018-19 season

  • Sierra Brooks fires 65-62 (-17) at College of Charleston
  • Patty Tavatanakit from UCLA shoots 63, including 7 straight birdies
  • Alabama shoots NCAA record -45 at Belmar Golf Club
  • Atthaya Thitikul from Thailand shoots 60 in the final round of the World Junior Golf Championship to finish at 268 (-20)
  • Lucy Li shot 62 in the first round of the U.S. Junior Girls at Poppy Hills
  • Newly D1, California Baptist shoots -6 in the final round at University of South Alabama to finish -4 for the tournament

In 2018, Missouri women’s golf was likely the last team into the regional championship. To earn this right the team needed to average 295; scoring a decade earlier which would have likely made them a contender for being among the elite 10-15 teams in D1 golf! The fact is, in a little over a decade, the game has changed not a little, but a lot. Players from the past would have no chance to compete with today’s teams.

Why? Girls are simply stronger, better coached and more focused on golf. According to Joey Wuertemburger, a teaching professional with 100-plus college players

“The bar is getting raised every day, I’m seeing the next generation of women getting more athletic, which helps with the speed component but also with the ability to make changes quicker in their individual coaching programs.”

One example of the power of women’s golf is Emily Tubert. Emily, a former USGA champion, college golf standout at Arkansas and LPGA player recently hit it 322 yards in a nationally televised event. Emily is not even a complete outlier, look at club head speed data with driver collected by Trackman from the 2018-19 rosters at University of Arkansas

  • Player A: 108 mph
  • Player B: 106 mph
  • Player C: 101 mph
  • Player D: 97 mph
  • Player E: 96 mph
  • Player F: 93 mph
  • Player G: 90 mph

Arkansas is not an outlier either. Troy women’s coach Randy Keck notes two players on his team with club head speeds of 103-ish with the driver and a team average in the upper 90s. This means that players are hitting the ball on average at least 225 in the air. When playing courses of 6,200 yards, this gives them lots of opportunities to have short irons and attack short par 5s.

At the end of last year, according to GolfStat, four women’s teams (Alabama, UCLA, Arkansas, and Duke) had adjusted scoring averages under par, with the University of Alabama leading with 70.93. According to Mic Potter, head women’s coach at the University of Alabama, “Through eleven tournaments in 2017-18, our team was 111 under par. Thirty years ago, if a school averaged 300, or roughly 12 over per round, they were winning tournaments. In 2018 they are more likely to finish last. Student-Athletes are entering college more physically fit, with better technique, and more prepared to play at the highest level. This is reflected in their ability to score.”

The transformation of women’s golf can be seen throughout D1, as well as into other levels. One amazing example is the University of Indianapolis, the 2018 D2 women’s national champions and likely among the best D2 teams ever. According to Golfstat, for the 2017-18 season the adjusted score for the team was 73.45 which helped them win 11 times. Likewise, the women at Savannah College of Art had an amazing year in NAIA women’s golf with an adjusted scoring differential of 75.32.

At the junior level, players are equally impressive. Data collected suggests that the average girl going to play major conference golf has a scoring differential of about minus three for the past three years. This means that they shoot about three shots better than the course rating. That’s impressive until you consider that the best player in ranked in junior golf in the U.S., Lucy Li, has a scoring differential of minus 8.53. That’s almost two shots better than the player ranked second — darn impressive!

Women’s golf is on an excellent trajectory, which includes so much more depth, competition, and superior athletes who are driven to make their mark on the sport. Over the next five to seven years, it will be interesting to see these players develop in their quest to become the best players in the world — I cannot wait to see what happens!

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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

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. MJ Waite

    Oct 15, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Excellent Coaching, Strength training,Positive reinforcement, Focus, Determination, Respect for others, Respect for the Game, Confidence, Never Yield…. it’s all good! WoooPig! ?????????????

  2. Christopher James

    Oct 14, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    As a parent to two daughters who are just getting into golf, this was a great read and exciting to think about the positive changes women golfers are making. Just as important as the stats, there are more positive role models in golf for young women. I cannot also wait to see what happens!

  3. Johnny Penso

    Oct 14, 2018 at 12:34 am

    Sorry but it grinds my gears to read poorly written nonsense. Players from the past would have no chance to compete with today’s teams because girls are stronger is nonsense. Girls aren’t stronger because genetics don’t change in 30 years. What they are is better able to take advantage of today’s knowledge of physical conditioning which has advanced tremendously in the digital age, and far better able to take advantage of club technology and and the club building process.

    • Tiger Noods

      Oct 14, 2018 at 2:27 am

      Actually, girls are stronger. You’ve basically said so yourself. Before Nebraska in the 1950s, football players were DIScouraged from working out because they thought it would slow them down. In recent years, strength and conditioning has shown to provide a scoring advantage in golf – the TW phenomenon. This is the trickle down effect. So they enter Uni stronger *because* the regimens and process has filtered down to every level now.

      Saying they aren’t stronger because of genetics is a false equivalency.

      • Brad

        Oct 14, 2018 at 5:14 am

        I believe you are misconstruing Johny’s statement. Girls are not innately “stronger” today than they were 30 years ago. In fact, there is evidence that humans are in fact less physically adept on average than in the past.

        https://www.voanews.com/a/modern-human-weaker-than-ancestors/1903847.html
        https://phys.org/news/2009-10-modern-men-wimps.html
        https://www.businessinsider.com/olympics-athletics-sports-performance-history-world-records-2016-8?IR=T

        No, players are better today than they were 30 years ago because they are better PREPARED with more scientific training and nutritional regimens as well as better equipment. Coaching has also improved because of the development of launch monitors, which helped to re-write the ball flight laws and dispel many myths about what creates optimal launch conditions, etc.

        So, these female golfers are not better or stronger today because of any inherent improvements that there predecessors were not able to take advantage of. Take most of the good players from 30 years ago and prepare them like golfers are today – and the results would be similar. It is as simple as that.

        • Smith

          Oct 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm

          That’s an argument of semantics.

          What you’re saying is that if I spend 4 hours lifting weight at the gym for the next 6 months, I’ll be just as strong as I am today, but I’ll just be better PREPARED to lift weights?

          When you condition through weights and other gym routines, you become stronger. The girls now are able to take advantage of better training, nutrition etc. and as a result, they are stronger.

          I can’t believe this is even a discussion.

  4. JD

    Oct 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Props to them. These ladies can probably squat and deadlift more than the average golfwrx’er

  5. CrashTestDummy

    Oct 13, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    108 mph. Wow. That is some serious speed and faster than few guys on PGA tour.

  6. Paul Booij

    Oct 13, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    “Here are a bunch of stats of outliers!”

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