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There's no such thing as an "Average Golfer"


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#31 Smash Factors

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 03:55 AM

View PostMedic, on 10 January 2018 - 08:31 PM, said:

If no such thing as an "average golfer" exists then this would also mean, that because this would be the base measure, there is also no such thing as above or below average.

In other words there are just golfers. We are all the same.

That's a really good question. The short answer is no. There is no above or below average people.

Scientists have been trying for many years to figure out a way to define "Average intelligence", but the more they try, the more they are discovering just how unique everyone one of us actually is.

One method they've used is to take a group of people and put each person into an MRI machine to watch their brain activity while doing simple tasks. They would be shown different colors and different numbers one at a time. After a break, they would put them back into the MRI and and show them some numbers and colors all over again. Then, they would ask the person which color or number was shown to them earlier in the day.

The idea was to monitor the brain activity of each person while recalling a specific color or number. The assumption was that each person would use the same neurological pathways to get the answers. If you monitored enough people and had them all do the same tasks, then the MRI results would show that everyones brains are using the same neurological pathways when doing the same tasks.

The MRI images were gathered and a computer was used to create the image of an average brain. The problem is that nobodys individual brain images looked anything like the average. The same question arises: what good is the average when nobody actually is?

As it turns out, there are no common roads when it comes to neurological pathways. In fact, every person has their own unique way of using their mind to perform the same tasks. The reason for this is that our intellectual development is based purely on our own life experiences as we age....which is unique to each of us.

So if you're asking if there's above or below average people, the answer would have to be no, just because we all develop differently and use our minds in our own way to do the same things.

Golf talent is a multi-dimensional phenomena. You can't average it or conclude what's above or below average.

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#32 royourboat

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:06 AM

Chill dude, an average is a tool of the statistics toolbox. It's a technique to try and extract intelligence from data. It's value in each application has its merits and shortcomings. If you don't get intelligence from the application, you can't uniformly blame the application.

Welcome to science, where there is no right answer, just better questions.
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#33 Lincoln_Arcadia

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:38 AM

In fact, I never really have an average game. Often times, I score the same “average score”, but the way I arrived at that score is radically different.

Very consistent players are not that common unless they are just really good. So, averages might not make too much sense until you get to a very high level of play.

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#34 Soloman1

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:17 AM

No right answers in science? Lol.

Average score is a legitimate measure. Above or below that is a legitimate measure.

Average parameters of the body motion during swings (rotations, tilts, angles, timing, pressure balance, etc.,) are invalid. That’s why in the real world we use ranges for those parameters and consider if the values match up, based on parameters that match with successful patterns of motion.

A small example of how things should match would be someone with a very strong trail hand grip (the hand placement under the grip like Dustin Johnson) should have more side tilt toward impact, more core rotation and the trail elbow moving more forward in front of the trail hip.

The tour averages of those parameters are meaningless, but the ranges of values do have meaning. They should be toward one end or other of the range based on the pattern matchup.

The comedy columnist Dave Barry showed how silly averages can be with his observation that everyone thinks that they’re an above-average driver. :)
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#35 Lincoln_Arcadia

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 11:36 AM

View PostSoloman1, on 11 January 2018 - 09:17 AM, said:

No right answers in science? Lol.

Average score is a legitimate measure. Above or below that is a legitimate measure.

Average parameters of the body motion during swings (rotations, tilts, angles, timing, pressure balance, etc.,) are invalid. That’s why in the real world we use ranges for those parameters and consider if the values match up, based on parameters that match with successful patterns of motion.

A small example of how things should match would be someone with a very strong trail hand grip (the hand placement under the grip like Dustin Johnson) should have more side tilt toward impact, more core rotation and the trail elbow moving more forward in front of the trail hip.

The tour averages of those parameters are meaningless, but the ranges of values do have meaning. They should be toward one end or other of the range based on the pattern matchup.

The comedy columnist Dave Barry showed how silly averages can be with his observation that everyone thinks that they’re an above-average driver. :)

The OP suggests that there are no average golfers and a few other posters responded with using statistics to improve their games and measure progress through statistics.

The question boils down to the basic question if statistical analysis on various parameters actually help the typical golfer improve?

My personal perspective given the mistakes I make on the course, and the fact that I don't actually have any tendencies other than a crappy albeit fast swing. Statistics of my mistakes would end up averaging out to zero somewhere and the fitting methods would not produce any meaningful results, and I actually know this because my Arcos GPS tracking results show a wide dispersion about zero on most of my clubs.


Tour players on the other hand are very consistent with their swings and ball striking, and it makes perfect sense to use statistics to track their progress and determine things they could fix based upon statistics.

The same goes for scratch players and low single digit players who have very consistent swings.

Very skilled players can make great use of statistics, but at my skill level or higher handicap it's a push to see any helpful trend.



As far as your Dave Barry joke, nearly all seasoned golfers know exactly how far they hit, that joke probably only applies to beginners and novices. :)


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#36 northgolf

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:12 PM

View PostSmash Factors, on 09 January 2018 - 08:28 PM, said:

It's fairly common on this forum to see people asking about the average golfer when trying to do some type of comparison. Have you ever seen anyone ask how far the average golfer drives the ball? Or, how many putts per round does your average golfer take? What's the up-and-down percentage of your average golfer?

We live in a world where we are constantly compared to averages. Our education system is designed around the concept of average learners. Were tested and graded, then compared to the average. Our employers review our performance and compare us to an average. Our FICO scores are based upon our deviation to an average.

Because of this, the concept of "averageness" regarding people has filtered it's way into virtually every aspect of our life, including golf. And while it seems like discussing average golfers is a logical thing to be doing, it actually turns out that there is no such thing as an average golfer. Nor is there such thing as an average person. Here is why.

Back in the early 1940's, the US Air Force measured the bodily dimensions of 4000 pilots, 140 different ways. This included shoulder width, arm length, height, waist size, head size and basically every possible thing that could be measured. Their plan was to take the averages of all those measurements and design a fighter plane cockpit that would fit basically all pilots.

Shortly thereafter, a fellah from Harvard came along and discovered how incredibly wrong it is to do such a thing. He discovered that not a single pilot from the group of 4000 met all 140 of the measurements. It begs the question, what good is the average when nobody actually IS average?

He wondered if finding an actual "Average sized person" is even possible. To find out, he measured the pilots again but used only 10 basic measurements this time instead of 140. He crunched the averages and discovered that not a single pilot out of all 4000 possessed all 10 of those average measurements. In short, not a single pilot was actually "Average".

So basically, the Air Force was getting ready to design a cockpit that actually fit nobody.

So instead, they designed a cockpit with an adjustable chair and other adjustable features so that virtually any sized pilot could get comfortable. This was the birth of adjustable seats and steering wheels in the automotive industry.

How does this apply to golf? Well, you could always just use handicap and compare yours to the average. The problem is that handicaps are based upon a singular dimension.....scoring. As we know, golf talent is not based upon a singular dimension. As with football, baseball, basketball or any other sport, golf talent is comprised of many, many things which make it a multi-dimensional phenomena.

So, if you wrongly decided to venture out and determine what an average golfer is, you might create a list of 30 golf shots and see how 4000 people do on each of those shots. Then, find the average performance of each shot and you will have your average golfer, right?

Well, just like the guy from Harvard discovered, there is no average person because not a single golfer from your group of 4000 (Or more) would actually meet all those averages. Nobody is average! If you then tried to create some type of golf instruction program based upon those averages, your program would in fact be designed to accurately instruct nobody.

The reason for this is that golf talent is multi-dimensional being comprised of many, many skill sets, where the depth of each set is more vast than the set itself. You cannot possibly compile them all and come up with an average that actually describes even one person no matter how many people you survey.

The short explanation is that we are all individuals that have our own unique way of not only learning, but also using our mind and body to do things. Golf instruction should probably follow along this guideline. There are no standard moves or standard actions that work for everyone. Because we are all unique, we need to be treated uniquely dependant upon our own tendencies and characteristics.

There are no average golfers, and you certainly are not an average person.

It was the 1950's not the 40's.  This example is used in the "End of Average" by Todd Rose.

https://www.thestar....f-averages.html

I find your insight most extraordinarily average.

Edited by northgolf, 11 January 2018 - 12:14 PM.

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#37 Smash Factors

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:53 PM

View Postnorthgolf, on 11 January 2018 - 12:12 PM, said:


It was the 1950's not the 40's.  This example is used in the "End of Average" by Todd Rose.

https://www.thestar....f-averages.html

I find your insight most extraordinarily average.

Great stuff! Here's a quote from it that shows that even when you extend the average, nobody actually is.

"Using the size data he had gathered from 4,063 pilots, Daniels calculated the average of the 10 physical dimensions believed to be most relevant for design, including height, chest circumference and sleeve length. These formed the dimensions of the “average pilot,” which Daniels generously defined as someone whose measurements were within the middle 30 per cent of the range of values for each dimension. So, for example, even though the precise average height from the data was five foot nine, he defined the height of the “average pilot” as ranging from five-seven to five-11. Next, Daniels compared each individual pilot, one by one, to the average pilot.
Before he crunched his numbers, the consensus among his fellow air force researchers was that the vast majority of pilots would be within the average range on most dimensions. After all, these pilots had already been pre-selected because they appeared to be average sized. (If you were, say, six foot seven, you would never have been recruited in the first place.) The scientists also expected that a sizable number of pilots would be within the average range on all 10 dimensions. But even Daniels was stunned when he tabulated the actual number.

Zero.

Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all 10 dimensions."

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#38 Sean2

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 01:15 PM

Yes, we all know there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I think averages have a place. For example, take a supermarket purchasing frozen pizzas. What do they order the most? Pizza with anchovies or pizza with pepperoni?

Or, auto manufacturers. I am 6'6" with shoes on. There are a lot of vehicles I can't fit in, especially any one with a sun roof. Sure they could make all vehicles in such a way that tall people would fit in, but it would probably cost more, The "average" person can pretty much fit in every car made right now.

Or, clothing stores. I have a difficult time finding the right fit. Why don't stores stock more for the tall person? Because it wouldn't be cost effective. They would probably be left with a lot of inventory.

So in all these examples, the organization has to come up with some kind of "average" that will "fit" the most people to maximize profit.

I agree that in golf "average" might no be as applicable, but I also know a lot of golfers who have standard length and lie and purchase equipment off the shelf.

We are a race that makes comparisons. Most of us are constantly comparing ourselves to others, be it on the golf course, in the classroom, in the office, or what have you. If not, why do some people feel it necessary to brag, tout their achievements, and what not...or even make up Internet personas that have no basis in truth?

No, "averages" aren't infallible, but they give one some direction, some guidance.

In the Air Force example, I would have been surprised had anyone met all the criteria, but it helps the Air Force to know a general rule of thumb, so they have something to work with.
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#39 northgolf

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:51 PM

Averages have their place.  They are less useful with bimodal and multimodal distributions as the average will tend not to be where the modes peak.
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#40 Smash Factors

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:58 PM

View PostSean2, on 11 January 2018 - 01:15 PM, said:

Yes, we all know there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I think averages have a place. For example, take a supermarket purchasing frozen pizzas. What do they order the most? Pizza with anchovies or pizza with pepperoni?

Or, auto manufacturers. I am 6'6" with shoes on. There are a lot of vehicles I can't fit in, especially any one with a sun roof. Sure they could make all vehicles in such a way that tall people would fit in, but it would probably cost more, The "average" person can pretty much fit in every car made right now.

Or, clothing stores. I have a difficult time finding the right fit. Why don't stores stock more for the tall person? Because it wouldn't be cost effective. They would probably be left with a lot of inventory.

So in all these examples, the organization has to come up with some kind of "average" that will "fit" the most people to maximize profit.


Averages are very useful, but it depends on how we attempt to use them. It's a mistake to generalize people with averages. You can however use averages to generalize the THINGS people do.....such as buying pizza. Pizza is a singular item, so you could figure out on the average, which pizza sells the most. What you cannot do is figure out what pizza the average person likes. You would have to define what an average person is. Were just to complex for that.

If you owned a clothing store, you could figure out which size suit sells the most per month on average. What you couldn't figure out is what size suit fits the average person.

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#41 Hit 'Em Straight

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 05:45 PM

View PostLincoln_Arcadia, on 11 January 2018 - 11:36 AM, said:

View PostSoloman1, on 11 January 2018 - 09:17 AM, said:

The comedy columnist Dave Barry showed how silly averages can be with his observation that everyone thinks that they’re an above-average driver. :)
As far as your Dave Barry joke, nearly all seasoned golfers know exactly how far they hit, that joke probably only applies to beginners and novices. :)

So you mean to tell me I'm neither Mario Andretti nor Dustin Johnson?  So much for my above-average driving.

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#42 ChipNRun

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:53 PM

View PostSmash Factors, on 10 January 2018 - 04:06 PM, said:

View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

You are mixing up two topics, namely what good is average and the need to customize golf instruction to the individual. This intermingling is confusing.

I don't see what's so confusing about this.

Recent university studies have shown that when you design an educational environment around instructing people based upon their own individual needs, nearly everyone in the class scores at the top of the grading scale.

One university study took a group of 30 people and taught them a subject they knew nothing about in a traditional classroom environment just like the one you and I had when we went to high school.

They also took a separate group of 30 people and taught them the same subject in a classroom environment where each student was allowed as much time as they needed on any part of the instruction. It was catered to their own individual needs.

The total time for both courses was the same (30 days I think), but the 2nd group was allowed to use that time as they pleased.

At the end of the course, roughly 25% of the students in the first group scored above 85% on the final exam.

In the 2nd group, 90% of the students scored above 85% on the same test.

The reason this happens is because the traditional educational environment is based upon how an "Average" person learns. Only now are scientists learning that few people actually learn within these average parameters.

ChipNRun reply: Averages (mean, median and mode) give one starting points for addressing the needs of a given group, assuming population parameters accurately reflect the characteristics of this group. When I took Managerial Economics, a new professor assumed for two weeks that all MBA students had taken calculus. Most of us hadn't, so were below average in quantitative skills compared to where he came from. This, knowledge of averages gives you information on what level to start your teaching.

View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

In golf, the industry uses averages to determine the concentration of players with different swing and physical characteristics. My brother got fitted for clubs recently, and the fitter told him he was made for golf: a 34" sleeve length, and 5-foot-9 tall. For most companies, their average lie and length clubs fit a lot of people from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-1 tall.

A lot of people?

Average loft, lie and length is a good place to start, but few people actually require those standard dimensions. I'd like to hear from a club fitter as to how many people he's fit over the years that actually needed standard clubs. I assume that most, if not all people have had some type of modification to standard clubs.

ChipNRun response:  If a golf manufacturer produces a new model of irons, it will produce millions of sets. A lot of those sets for males will be pegged for people 5-9 to 6-1 tall. And you are correct, some type of modification will have to be made to the clubs after fitting. But these are tweaks; a change in lie angle on short irons, or a longer shaft, or selecting one of three stock shafts. But the OEM will not come down to the club fitter with eight molds, and cast the iron heads on the spot and tweak the hot metal to get a lie angle for Joe. Club manufacturers make the shafts, heads and grips by the millions, and then tweak them according to fitting instructions. Some people can use an off-the-rack iron set with minimal tweaking. Others must order custom from the factory to get the specs they need.

Most golf fittings yield a semi-custom set, just as students can ask for specific help on  lesson points they don't understand from stock instruction.


View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

Now Smash maintains that There are no standard moves or standard actions that work for everyone. I tend to disagree. Again, different golf instruction methods have general principles they work with, and then offer tweaks so individuals can adjust these concepts to their own physique and swing.

I agree. That's a good way of putting it. That being said, you don't lay down a blueprint for instruction and teach everyone in the same way. We need to be taught according to our own tendencies.

If you are teaching people a skill, you start out with an overview of the activity and general principles all should know. In golf, a person needs to know the basics of grip, alignment, stance, and keeping one's balance during the swing. These are things you might cover in a golf clinic, or, in academic terms, Principles of Golf. Once the player advances, you start tweaking the person's swing to account for individual physical characteristics and bodily strengths and weaknesses. This would be individualized lessons, or in academic terms, Golf Practicum.

Another point you might find interesting: I'm not sure golf instructors take into account individual learning style preferences. Education research shows that most people prefer one of three styles: verbal, or auditory, or tactile (hands-on).  Psychologists have screening assessments to determine learning preferences, but golf instructors don't seem to know what I'm talking about.
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#43 ChipNRun

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:55 PM

View Postbigfatant, on 10 January 2018 - 07:26 PM, said:

View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

As an example, let's use something closer to home: the results of the Hero World Challenge.

You do realise you've used the averages and mean of players who played the best for the year?

Yes I do, and i have no problem with your question. I selected the HWC results because it only had 17 players, and could clearly illustrate examples of mean, median and mode.

We would need to be careful in extrapolation, which is extending the results to other tournaments with less elite, everyday fields.
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#44 PowderedToastMan

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:35 PM

View PostChipNRun, on 11 January 2018 - 06:53 PM, said:

View PostSmash Factors, on 10 January 2018 - 04:06 PM, said:

View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

You are mixing up two topics, namely what good is average and the need to customize golf instruction to the individual. This intermingling is confusing.

I don't see what's so confusing about this.

Recent university studies have shown that when you design an educational environment around instructing people based upon their own individual needs, nearly everyone in the class scores at the top of the grading scale.

One university study took a group of 30 people and taught them a subject they knew nothing about in a traditional classroom environment just like the one you and I had when we went to high school.

They also took a separate group of 30 people and taught them the same subject in a classroom environment where each student was allowed as much time as they needed on any part of the instruction. It was catered to their own individual needs.

The total time for both courses was the same (30 days I think), but the 2nd group was allowed to use that time as they pleased.

At the end of the course, roughly 25% of the students in the first group scored above 85% on the final exam.

In the 2nd group, 90% of the students scored above 85% on the same test.

The reason this happens is because the traditional educational environment is based upon how an "Average" person learns. Only now are scientists learning that few people actually learn within these average parameters.

ChipNRun reply: Averages (mean, median and mode) give one starting points for addressing the needs of a given group, assuming population parameters accurately reflect the characteristics of this group. When I took Managerial Economics, a new professor assumed for two weeks that all MBA students had taken calculus. Most of us hadn't, so were below average in quantitative skills compared to where he came from. This, knowledge of averages gives you information on what level to start your teaching.

View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

In golf, the industry uses averages to determine the concentration of players with different swing and physical characteristics. My brother got fitted for clubs recently, and the fitter told him he was made for golf: a 34" sleeve length, and 5-foot-9 tall. For most companies, their average lie and length clubs fit a lot of people from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-1 tall.

A lot of people?

Average loft, lie and length is a good place to start, but few people actually require those standard dimensions. I'd like to hear from a club fitter as to how many people he's fit over the years that actually needed standard clubs. I assume that most, if not all people have had some type of modification to standard clubs.

ChipNRun response:  If a golf manufacturer produces a new model of irons, it will produce millions of sets. A lot of those sets for males will be pegged for people 5-9 to 6-1 tall. And you are correct, some type of modification will have to be made to the clubs after fitting. But these are tweaks; a change in lie angle on short irons, or a longer shaft, or selecting one of three stock shafts. But the OEM will not come down to the club fitter with eight molds, and cast the iron heads on the spot and tweak the hot metal to get a lie angle for Joe. Club manufacturers make the shafts, heads and grips by the millions, and then tweak them according to fitting instructions. Some people can use an off-the-rack iron set with minimal tweaking. Others must order custom from the factory to get the specs they need.

Most golf fittings yield a semi-custom set, just as students can ask for specific help on  lesson points they don't understand from stock instruction.


View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

Now Smash maintains that There are no standard moves or standard actions that work for everyone. I tend to disagree. Again, different golf instruction methods have general principles they work with, and then offer tweaks so individuals can adjust these concepts to their own physique and swing.

I agree. That's a good way of putting it. That being said, you don't lay down a blueprint for instruction and teach everyone in the same way. We need to be taught according to our own tendencies.

If you are teaching people a skill, you start out with an overview of the activity and general principles all should know. In golf, a person needs to know the basics of grip, alignment, stance, and keeping one's balance during the swing. These are things you might cover in a golf clinic, or, in academic terms, Principles of Golf. Once the player advances, you start tweaking the person's swing to account for individual physical characteristics and bodily strengths and weaknesses. This would be individualized lessons, or in academic terms, Golf Practicum.

Another point you might find interesting: I'm not sure golf instructors take into account individual learning style preferences. Education research shows that most people prefer one of three styles: verbal, or auditory, or tactile (hands-on).  Psychologists have screening assessments to determine learning preferences, but golf instructors don't seem to know what I'm talking about.
Individual learning style preferences is like the first thing you learn about in any Professional Golf Management program, or any coaching certification program. I’ve always thought learning style preference was overemphasized though. If you’re predominantly a visual learner, are you going to ignore auditory or kinaesthetic learning? Of course not. A good instructor will say “this is what right looks like, feels like, and sounds like”. They all work together.

As someone who’s actually taught golf for a living, I can tell you that people who are “visual learners” or “auditory learners” often get their aha moments in learning styles different than their apparent predominate style. The key is to mix things up until you find a feel or though or cue that works.

I remember learning about “learning styles” in one of my first university psych courses. They start by telling you it’s crucial, then you get to advanced courses and eventually grad level PSYC and eventually you learn the brain is complicated and we actually learn from all stimuli.

Edited by PowderedToastMan, 11 January 2018 - 08:37 PM.

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#45 thug the bunny

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:11 PM

Average is not a meaningless statistic, especially if the frequency distribution is normal. If it is not normal (gaussian), then the median or a metric called skew can add more detail about the distribution concerning any particular variable. Of course there is very rarely an individual that exactly matches the mean of any sample population. If you measure the height of 1000 people and get an average of 5 ft 10.267 inches, you probably will still not have one single person in that population that is exactly 5 ft 10.267 inches. That simply means that the highest occurrence (frequency) of individuals is clustered near that average height.

Then when  you add another 20 variables (measurements), as the Air Force did, of course not going to find any one individual that possesses the average results of all those measurements. What is a lot more useful for something like designing a cockpit is to produce histograms, or frequency distributions, of each variable. Due to the exacting nature of their work, the Air Force has always been very knowledgeable about statistics (I know because their protocols dictate much of the testing work I have done), and I highly doubt that they would simply look to the mean for a project such as this. I suspect that there was some "colloquializing" and misinterpreting from whatever source that the OP used.

Edited by thug the bunny, 11 January 2018 - 09:23 PM.

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#46 thug the bunny

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:20 PM

View PostSmash Factors, on 11 January 2018 - 12:53 PM, said:

View Postnorthgolf, on 11 January 2018 - 12:12 PM, said:

It was the 1950's not the 40's.  This example is used in the "End of Average" by Todd Rose.

https://www.thestar....f-averages.html

I find your insight most extraordinarily average.

Great stuff! Here's a quote from it that shows that even when you extend the average, nobody actually is.

"Using the size data he had gathered from 4,063 pilots, Daniels calculated the average of the 10 physical dimensions believed to be most relevant for design, including height, chest circumference and sleeve length. These formed the dimensions of the “average pilot,” which Daniels generously defined as someone whose measurements were within the middle 30 per cent of the range of values for each dimension. So, for example, even though the precise average height from the data was five foot nine, he defined the height of the “average pilot” as ranging from five-seven to five-11. Next, Daniels compared each individual pilot, one by one, to the average pilot.
Before he crunched his numbers, the consensus among his fellow air force researchers was that the vast majority of pilots would be within the average range on most dimensions. After all, these pilots had already been pre-selected because they appeared to be average sized. (If you were, say, six foot seven, you would never have been recruited in the first place.) The scientists also expected that a sizable number of pilots would be within the average range on all 10 dimensions. But even Daniels was stunned when he tabulated the actual number.
Zero.
Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all 10 dimensions."

There is no such metric as "average range" within some value. There is only variance or variability, which is usually expressed as standard deviation, or some multiple thereof. And if you are looking for one individual to fall within one SD of all 10 separate variables, of course the chances are pretty low.
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#47 Sean2

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:04 PM

View PostSmash Factors, on 11 January 2018 - 04:58 PM, said:

View PostSean2, on 11 January 2018 - 01:15 PM, said:

Yes, we all know there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I think averages have a place. For example, take a supermarket purchasing frozen pizzas. What do they order the most? Pizza with anchovies or pizza with pepperoni?

Or, auto manufacturers. I am 6'6" with shoes on. There are a lot of vehicles I can't fit in, especially any one with a sun roof. Sure they could make all vehicles in such a way that tall people would fit in, but it would probably cost more, The "average" person can pretty much fit in every car made right now.

Or, clothing stores. I have a difficult time finding the right fit. Why don't stores stock more for the tall person? Because it wouldn't be cost effective. They would probably be left with a lot of inventory.

So in all these examples, the organization has to come up with some kind of "average" that will "fit" the most people to maximize profit.


Averages are very useful, but it depends on how we attempt to use them. It's a mistake to generalize people with averages. You can however use averages to generalize the THINGS people do.....such as buying pizza. Pizza is a singular item, so you could figure out on the average, which pizza sells the most. What you cannot do is figure out what pizza the average person likes. You would have to define what an average person is. Were just to complex for that.

If you owned a clothing store, you could figure out which size suit sells the most per month on average. What you couldn't figure out is what size suit fits the average person.

I don't disagree with anything you said. The point I was trying to make is that using averages isn't a complete exercise in futility, but has its place.
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#48 thug the bunny

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:20 PM

View PostSean2, on 11 January 2018 - 10:04 PM, said:

View PostSmash Factors, on 11 January 2018 - 04:58 PM, said:

View PostSean2, on 11 January 2018 - 01:15 PM, said:

Yes, we all know there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I think averages have a place. For example, take a supermarket purchasing frozen pizzas. What do they order the most? Pizza with anchovies or pizza with pepperoni?

Or, auto manufacturers. I am 6'6" with shoes on. There are a lot of vehicles I can't fit in, especially any one with a sun roof. Sure they could make all vehicles in such a way that tall people would fit in, but it would probably cost more, The "average" person can pretty much fit in every car made right now.

Or, clothing stores. I have a difficult time finding the right fit. Why don't stores stock more for the tall person? Because it wouldn't be cost effective. They would probably be left with a lot of inventory.

So in all these examples, the organization has to come up with some kind of "average" that will "fit" the most people to maximize profit.


Averages are very useful, but it depends on how we attempt to use them. It's a mistake to generalize people with averages. You can however use averages to generalize the THINGS people do.....such as buying pizza. Pizza is a singular item, so you could figure out on the average, which pizza sells the most. What you cannot do is figure out what pizza the average person likes. You would have to define what an average person is. Were just to complex for that.

If you owned a clothing store, you could figure out which size suit sells the most per month on average. What you couldn't figure out is what size suit fits the average person.

I don't disagree with anything you said. The point I was trying to make is that using averages isn't a complete exercise in futility, but has its place.

No, you could figure out what size suit fits 'the average person', because suit size is composed of definite metrics, even though you might have a hard time finding individuals that exactly fit all of those metrics. However finding the most favorite pizza of the 'average person' is the wrong question because you have no measurable metrics to define the 'average person'. But, if you have a large enough sample population of pizzas purchased across all demographics (economic status, age, ethnicity, gender, etc) and across locations and across time, then the most popular pizza is by definition the pizza that the average person likes. Vagueness in statistics is always sharpened by increasing sample population and including as many variables in population as possible.
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#49 Medic

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:33 PM

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 January 2018 - 10:20 PM, said:

View PostSean2, on 11 January 2018 - 10:04 PM, said:

View PostSmash Factors, on 11 January 2018 - 04:58 PM, said:

View PostSean2, on 11 January 2018 - 01:15 PM, said:

Yes, we all know there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I think averages have a place. For example, take a supermarket purchasing frozen pizzas. What do they order the most? Pizza with anchovies or pizza with pepperoni?

Or, auto manufacturers. I am 6'6" with shoes on. There are a lot of vehicles I can't fit in, especially any one with a sun roof. Sure they could make all vehicles in such a way that tall people would fit in, but it would probably cost more, The "average" person can pretty much fit in every car made right now.

Or, clothing stores. I have a difficult time finding the right fit. Why don't stores stock more for the tall person? Because it wouldn't be cost effective. They would probably be left with a lot of inventory.

So in all these examples, the organization has to come up with some kind of "average" that will "fit" the most people to maximize profit.


Averages are very useful, but it depends on how we attempt to use them. It's a mistake to generalize people with averages. You can however use averages to generalize the THINGS people do.....such as buying pizza. Pizza is a singular item, so you could figure out on the average, which pizza sells the most. What you cannot do is figure out what pizza the average person likes. You would have to define what an average person is. Were just to complex for that.

If you owned a clothing store, you could figure out which size suit sells the most per month on average. What you couldn't figure out is what size suit fits the average person.

I don't disagree with anything you said. The point I was trying to make is that using averages isn't a complete exercise in futility, but has its place.

No, you could figure out what size suit fits 'the average person', because suit size is composed of definite metrics, even though you might have a hard time finding individuals that exactly fit all of those metrics. However finding the most favorite pizza of the 'average person' is the wrong question because you have no measurable metrics to define the 'average person'. But, if you have a large enough sample population of pizzas purchased across all demographics (economic status, age, ethnicity, gender, etc) and across locations and across time, then the most popular pizza is by definition the pizza that the average person likes. Vagueness in statistics is always sharpened by increasing sample population and including as many variables in population as possible.

This is the single most simple explanation in this thread. And the most effective in my humble.
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#50 thug the bunny

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 11:08 PM

Y'all shouldn't have got me going (I'm bored). Consider this:

If you had a block of wood exactly 10" long and asked 1000 people to measure it using a ruler with only 1" markings, you would get 1000 measurements of 10".

Then, if you repeated the experiment using a ruler with 0.1" markings, you would start to see some variability in the measurements. 10.1, 9. 8, etc.

Then if you gave them a ruler with 0.01" markings, you would start to see even more deviations from the 'true' measurement of 10.00". Even using a highly accurate measurement device like a laser, you will still find variability. This is called indeterminate error or variability, because it cannot be determined where this variation comes from.

Thus this raises the question, who determined that this block was 10" to start with, and how did they determine that? Statistics shows that the universe is fuzzy, and there are no exacts. In anything. Even when Plank determined his Plank's constant, there is still a +/- associated with it. Everything is an estimation, and that's where simple statistics like mean and median and frequency distribution come in to play and allow engineers and scientists (esp psychologists) to at least get a handle on data.

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#51 Lincoln_Arcadia

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:53 AM

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 January 2018 - 11:08 PM, said:

Y'all shouldn't have got me going (I'm bored). Consider this:

If you had a block of wood exactly 10" long and asked 1000 people to measure it using a ruler with only 1" markings, you would get 1000 measurements of 10".

Then, if you repeated the experiment using a ruler with 0.1" markings, you would start to see some variability in the measurements. 10.1, 9. 8, etc.

Then if you gave them a ruler with 0.01" markings, you would start to see even more deviations from the 'true' measurement of 10.00". Even using a highly accurate measurement device like a laser, you will still find variability. This is called indeterminate error or variability, because it cannot be determined where this variation comes from.

Thus this raises the question, who determined that this block was 10" to start with, and how did they determine that? Statistics shows that the universe is fuzzy, and there are no exacts. In anything. Even when Plank determined his Plank's constant, there is still a +/- associated with it. Everything is an estimation, and that's where simple statistics like mean and median and frequency distribution come in to play and allow engineers and scientists (esp psychologists) to at least get a handle on data.

What most people don't realize is that all the statistics in the world won't help their games unless they know how to identify and fix the root problem(s).

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#52 oikos1

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:59 AM

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 January 2018 - 11:08 PM, said:

Y'all shouldn't have got me going (I'm bored). Consider this:

If you had a block of wood exactly 10" long and asked 1000 people to measure it using a ruler with only 1" markings, you would get 1000 measurements of 10".

Then, if you repeated the experiment using a ruler with 0.1" markings, you would start to see some variability in the measurements. 10.1, 9. 8, etc.

Then if you gave them a ruler with 0.01" markings, you would start to see even more deviations from the 'true' measurement of 10.00". Even using a highly accurate measurement device like a laser, you will still find variability. This is called indeterminate error or variability, because it cannot be determined where this variation comes from.

Thus this raises the question, who determined that this block was 10" to start with, and how did they determine that? Statistics shows that the universe is fuzzy, and there are no exacts. In anything. Even when Plank determined his Plank's constant, there is still a +/- associated with it. Everything is an estimation, and that's where simple statistics like mean and median and frequency distribution come in to play and allow engineers and scientists (esp psychologists) to at least get a handle on data.
Outstanding perspective. Who doesn't like a little fuzzy in their life?

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#53 ChipNRun

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:39 PM

View PostSmash Factors, on 11 January 2018 - 03:55 AM, said:

View PostMedic, on 10 January 2018 - 08:31 PM, said:

If no such thing as an "average golfer" exists then this would also mean, that because this would be the base measure, there is also no such thing as above or below average.

In other words there are just golfers. We are all the same.

That's a really good question. The short answer is no. There is no above or below average people.

Scientists have been trying for many years to figure out a way to define "Average intelligence", but the more they try, the more they are discovering just how unique everyone one of us actually is.

One method they've used is to take a group of people and put each person into an MRI machine to watch their brain activity while doing simple tasks. ...

... The MRI images were gathered and a computer was used to create the image of an average brain. The problem is that nobodys individual brain images looked anything like the average. The same question arises: what good is the average when nobody actually is?

As it turns out, there are no common roads when it comes to neurological pathways. In fact, every person has their own unique way of using their mind to perform the same tasks. The reason for this is that our intellectual development is based purely on our own life experiences as we age....which is unique to each of us. ...

Golf talent is a multi-dimensional phenomena. You can't average it or conclude what's above or below average.

Yikes! Smash Factor, I missed your Post #31, with parts shown above. This gives good detail on the process of learning. I was addressing it primarily from the standpoint of input-output. You really know your stuff in the process area.
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#54 ChipNRun

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:51 PM

View PostPowderedToastMan, on 11 January 2018 - 08:35 PM, said:

View PostChipNRun, on 10 January 2018 - 12:21 PM, said:

... Another point you might find interesting: I'm not sure golf instructors take into account individual learning style preferences. Education research shows that most people prefer one of three styles: verbal, or auditory, or tactile (hands-on).  Psychologists have screening assessments to determine learning preferences, but golf instructors don't seem to know what I'm talking about.

Individual learning style preferences is like the first thing you learn about in any Professional Golf Management program, or any coaching certification program. I've always thought learning style preference was overemphasized though. If you're predominantly a visual learner, are you going to ignore auditory or kinaesthetic learning? Of course not. A good instructor will say "this is what right looks like, feels like, and sounds like". They all work together.

As someone who's actually taught golf for a living, I can tell you that people who are "visual learners" or "auditory learners" often get their aha moments in learning styles different than their apparent predominate style. The key is to mix things up until you find a feel or though or cue that works.

I remember learning about "learning styles" in one of my first university psych courses. They start by telling you it's crucial, then you get to advanced courses and eventually grad level PSYC and eventually you learn the brain is complicated and we actually learn from all stimuli.

Good to know about PGM instruction training. Your point about the need to "mix things up" may explain the problem in traditional education of a class that uses predominantly mass lecture. Not much of a chance to ask questions, or do anything "hands on."

Smash Factor alluded to this in his example of the classroom that had predominantly lecture, and the parallel classroom where students got coaching and the chance to ask questions all along the way.

Well done, Smash and Powdered Toast!
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#55 Smash Factors

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:21 PM

View PostMedic, on 11 January 2018 - 10:33 PM, said:

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 January 2018 - 10:20 PM, said:


No, you could figure out what size suit fits 'the average person', because suit size is composed of definite metrics, even though you might have a hard time finding individuals that exactly fit all of those metrics. However finding the most favorite pizza of the 'average person' is the wrong question because you have no measurable metrics to define the 'average person'. But, if you have a large enough sample population of pizzas purchased across all demographics (economic status, age, ethnicity, gender, etc) and across locations and across time, then the most popular pizza is by definition the pizza that the average person likes. Vagueness in statistics is always sharpened by increasing sample population and including as many variables in population as possible.

This is the single most simple explanation in this thread. And the most effective in my humble.

The problem is that the suit doesn't fit anyone. It comes close, but still, it's not a great fit.

I however can get all MY bodily dimensions measured and have a suit made that fits me perfectly in every way. What thug the bunny isn't acknowledging is that no matter how definite the metrics are, there is no averaged sized person. You can have average bodily measurements, but you will not find anyone who possess that average body. So you cannot design a suit of average measurements that will fit a range of people. It will actually not fit anyone.

If averages are so important when making generalizations about people, then there really should be at least ONE person who's average. There just isn't.

Adolphe Quetelet measured the bodily dimensions of over 1000 soldiers to determine the average sized man. Who better to use as an example than a soldier? He found his averages but never discovered that none of the soldiers in his group met those average dimensions.

He then decided that the further away your own bodily dimensions are from the average, is a representation of error in your own personal development. The idea was that the closer you are to average, the more ideal you are, and in turn the more successful you will be in life. To him, average sized people (Of which there were none, unbeknownst to him) were optimum and to be outside of it was a flaw. It took many years for scientists to figure out just how ridiculous it was to assume that a person is flawed for having bodily dimensions outside of an average that doesn't actually exist.

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 January 2018 - 10:20 PM, said:

But, if you have a large enough sample population of pizzas purchased across all demographics (economic status, age, ethnicity, gender, etc) and across locations and across time, then the most popular pizza is by definition the pizza that the average person likes. Vagueness in statistics is always sharpened by increasing sample population and including as many variables in population as possible.

It would be wrong to assume that demographics is all it takes to define an average person. It's just not that simple. That would be like trying to determine the value of a mans estate just by looking at the outside of his house. You'd have to go inside and discover everything that he has. The vastness of our own individuality is far too complex for it to be averaged.

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#56 bogeypro

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:38 PM

The whole premise of this discussion is wrong.  Average is a calculation.  I can take 3 numbers... 1, 4, and 10.  The average (mean) is 5, but none of the numbers are 5.

Median is the actual middle number... 4 in this case.

Edited by bogeypro, 12 January 2018 - 01:43 PM.

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#57 SomedayScratch

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:42 PM

It all depends on what you classify as a golfer. If you consider anyone who has ever golfed to be a golfer, then I can guarantee that if you are on this site, you are an above average golfer. If you consider a "golfer" to be someone who consistently plays and cares about the game and how they do, I would put average golfer shooting right around low 90s on average.

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#58 Medic

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:19 PM

View PostLincoln_Arcadia, on 12 January 2018 - 11:53 AM, said:

View Postthug the bunny, on 11 January 2018 - 11:08 PM, said:

Y'all shouldn't have got me going (I'm bored). Consider this:

If you had a block of wood exactly 10" long and asked 1000 people to measure it using a ruler with only 1" markings, you would get 1000 measurements of 10".

Then, if you repeated the experiment using a ruler with 0.1" markings, you would start to see some variability in the measurements. 10.1, 9. 8, etc.

Then if you gave them a ruler with 0.01" markings, you would start to see even more deviations from the 'true' measurement of 10.00". Even using a highly accurate measurement device like a laser, you will still find variability. This is called indeterminate error or variability, because it cannot be determined where this variation comes from.

Thus this raises the question, who determined that this block was 10" to start with, and how did they determine that? Statistics shows that the universe is fuzzy, and there are no exacts. In anything. Even when Plank determined his Plank's constant, there is still a +/- associated with it. Everything is an estimation, and that's where simple statistics like mean and median and frequency distribution come in to play and allow engineers and scientists (esp psychologists) to at least get a handle on data.

What most people don't realize is that all the statistics in the world won't help their games unless they know how to identify and fix the root problem(s).

Dead on.

You can take some pain meds to get rid of that nagging belly pain. Or you can actually go to a doc and find out what's wrong - and actually get the root of the pain addressed.

And every single problem is unique.
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#59 Smash Factors

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:28 PM

View Postbogeypro, on 12 January 2018 - 01:38 PM, said:

The whole premise of this discussion is wrong.  Average is a calculation.  I can take 3 numbers... 1, 4, and 10.  The average (mean) is 5, but none of the numbers are 5.

Median is the actual middle number... 4 in this case.

That's exactly the point. Nobody is average, yet our society is structured around the assumption that average people are everywhere. It comes from the work of Adolphe Quetelet who made a bunch of poor assumptions about people and averages, but nobody from his era really understood why. His work was eventually modified a bit by Taylor, who gave birth to what's known as Taylorism. The work of Taylor was adopted and modified by Thorndike who basically designed the foundation of our educational system around the idea of averages.
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#60 oikos1

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:43 PM

So going back to your original post, it sounds like you are saying any golf instruction program designed for more than one person is fraudulent based on the idea that we are all unique and said program could really only help one person.


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