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What % of golfers can break 100/90/80/70


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#1 glauser

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:31 PM

I overheard on Golf Channel that 1% of golfers can break par, and I anecdotally remember hearing 20% can break 100 but that seems awfully low.  What numbers have you seen/heard as percentages that can break 100/90/80/70?


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#2 JP101

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:35 PM

View Postglauser, on 20 September 2011 - 03:31 PM, said:

I overheard on Golf Channel that 1% of golfers can break par, and I anecdotally remember hearing 20% can break 100 but that seems awfully low.  What numbers have you seen/heard as percentages that can break 100/90/80/70?

I would consider the ones that can break par is much lower than 1%. Theres an anecdote somewhere that goes like 1 out of every 10 golfers will break 100. 1 out of those 10 will break 90. 1 out of those 10 will break 80... and so on. Not sure what it exactly is though.

#3 stryper

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:47 PM

Not exactly the what you were looking for, but this is from the USGA.
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#4 raynorfan1

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:49 PM

View Postglauser, on 20 September 2011 - 03:31 PM, said:

I overheard on Golf Channel that 1% of golfers can break par, and I anecdotally remember hearing 20% can break 100 but that seems awfully low.  What numbers have you seen/heard as percentages that can break 100/90/80/70?

I play a fair amount of muni golf, and 20% of people are not breaking 100 (if they strictly played by the RoG).

When you see somebody good out there, they're often shooting low 90's.

#5 finalist

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:55 PM

I'd like to see those numbers adjusted and eliminate people who play less than 6 times per year.  I bet the percentages get a lot higher for those who can shoot around 90.

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#6 Sawgrass

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:04 PM

View Poststryper, on 20 September 2011 - 03:47 PM, said:

Not exactly the what you were looking for, but this is from the USGA.
Interesting data, implying you have to be about a 14 index to be "average".

Of course this data is only based on men who actually have handicap indexes, which I'd bet are far, far less than half of all male golfers.  And I'd also assume that people who do have indexes are on average much better golfers than those who don't.

IMO less than 20% of men would break 100 from white tees on regulation courses if they played by the rules.  But I don't think we'll ever know, because hardly anyone who shoots around 100 plays strictly by the rules to begin with -- even many (possibly most) who play in amateur tourrnaments.

#7 darkhelmet

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:16 PM

View Poststryper, on 20 September 2011 - 03:47 PM, said:

Not exactly the what you were looking for, but this is from the USGA.


that's probably the best information out there.  Handicap is essentially an indication of how many shots over the course rating a person is capable of shooting.  An average par 72 course probably has a rating anywhere between 70 and 73.  So, anyone with up to a 9 handicap has the potential to break 80, depending on the course and which tees he plays.

According to this chart, about 20% of US golfers have a handicap 9.0 or better, so I would bet that somewhere between 15% and 20% of golfers actually have broken 80 at least once.

#8 Funderpants

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:31 PM

View Postdarkhelmet, on 20 September 2011 - 04:16 PM, said:

View Poststryper, on 20 September 2011 - 03:47 PM, said:

Not exactly the what you were looking for, but this is from the USGA.


that's probably the best information out there.  Handicap is essentially an indication of how many shots over the course rating a person is capable of shooting.  An average par 72 course probably has a rating anywhere between 70 and 73.  So, anyone with up to a 9 handicap has the potential to break 80, depending on the course and which tees he plays.

According to this chart, about 20% of US golfers have a handicap 9.0 or better, so I would bet that somewhere between 15% and 20% of golfers actually have broken 80 at least once.

Those numbers are probably high, It's tough to gauge since a lot of people don't even carry a handicap. One group I play with, about 20 guys, are all about a 7-10, none have an official handicap. Every guy I've played with that is shooting consistently 100+ doesn't have a handicap.

If I didn't need a handicap to play St. Andrews next year I probably wouldn't bother either.

#9 John3Daly

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:33 PM

I'd like to see the numbers of golfers who shoot in the 70's that actually play by the rules.  I've met numerous people that shoot in the 70's with a mulligan off the first tee and every 3 footer is good, not to mention they roll the ball at least a club length everywhere.  I'd also like to see how well they do on a 7K+ course.  Kinda narrows the field.

#10 grizzlyblades

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 05:04 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 20 September 2011 - 03:49 PM, said:

View Postglauser, on 20 September 2011 - 03:31 PM, said:

I overheard on Golf Channel that 1% of golfers can break par, and I anecdotally remember hearing 20% can break 100 but that seems awfully low.  What numbers have you seen/heard as percentages that can break 100/90/80/70?

I play a fair amount of muni golf, and 20% of people are not breaking 100 (if they strictly played by the RoG).

When you see somebody good out there, they're often shooting low 90's.

EXACTLY! i'd be hard pressed to believe most guys who claim they are scratch that they can hit most greens in regulation or their short game is so precise to have every ball they missed in GIR to come close to the pin with their chip shot to par. but then again so many people claim they hit 300 drives.
i've been playing this game for 30 yrs and my LOWEST score was a 78. on average i'm averaging a bogey player when I don't cheat. when I cheat i'm a scratch. LOL


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#11 BMDUB

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 05:14 PM

No kidding.  There have been many times I wanted to count the 2 foot put that lips out but I dont.

#12 Golf Dawg

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:18 PM

If this is accurate, I feel so much better about my golf game.  I guess it makes sense, though.  When I play at the local muni, or worse, the local par 3, I feel that I'm always the best golfer on the course that day.  And I'm just an 80s to 90s guy.  Most people out there playing golf really are just hacking away...

Its hard not to get the feeling, after reading this forum a lot though, that it isn't the complete other way around.  

While the handicap information is good, I don't think you can take that data and extrapolate it to the entire golfing community.  Odds are, only the people who take golf a lot more seriously are going to have a handicap.  And if you take something seriously, more often than not, you're above average at it.  So if you take all of the golfing population into the equation, that distribution its going to be WAY more negatively skewed.

#13 glauser

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:38 PM

View PostGolf Dawg, on 20 September 2011 - 06:18 PM, said:

While the handicap information is good, I don't think you can take that data and extrapolate it to the entire golfing community.  Odds are, only the people who take golf a lot more seriously are going to have a handicap.  And if you take something seriously, more often than not, you're above average at it.  So if you take all of the golfing population into the equation, that distribution its going to be WAY more negatively skewed.

I agree.  I think most, if not all, golfers who have an official handicap probably take the game pretty seriously, which would take most of the weekend warriors out of the equation.  These handicap numbers are very very good information, but probably make the golfing population as a whole look better than we are.

#14 Cwing

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:43 PM

Most do not play it down and break many rules.
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#15 ben w

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 04:44 PM

View Postdarkhelmet, on 20 September 2011 - 04:16 PM, said:

View Poststryper, on 20 September 2011 - 03:47 PM, said:

Not exactly the what you were looking for, but this is from the USGA.


that's probably the best information out there.  Handicap is essentially an indication of how many shots over the course rating a person is capable of shooting.  An average par 72 course probably has a rating anywhere between 70 and 73.  So, anyone with up to a 9 handicap has the potential to break 80, depending on the course and which tees he plays.

According to this chart, about 20% of US golfers have a handicap 9.0 or better, so I would bet that somewhere between 15% and 20% of golfers actually have broken 80 at least once.

the problem is, not everyone maintains a handicap. I'd venture a guess to say that aside from country clubs or private clubs who do it for you as part of your dues, most muni players don't cough up for GHIN access and walk back to the Windows 95 computer near the locker room to record their scores each time they play.

I would guess that most players who have an active maintained handicap are going to be your 0-20 handicappers. However... most golfers are above this range. That makes your 15%-20% statistic more like 5-10% max (in my opinion). if you only counted 0-20 handicappers, your statistic is probably accurate.

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#16 99andaflake

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 10:03 PM

Interesting question!
For what it's worth I had a quick browse around the New Zealand golf website(NZ golf) - this records the scores of everyone who has a membership at a NZ golf club.

My scores are shown (haven't been playing too well lately - haha!), and it shows how I compare to the rest of the  NZ golfing population. You could search through the rankings for any club, or search for random names if you have time to waste.

Anyway, all the data is there to see how many people have ever recorded a score below each of the levels (100,90,80, par) but I can't extract and analyse it.

However here are my really rough estimates:

  • The biggest variable would be the difficulty of the course - I've assumed mine is representative (it's actually a par 71 but it's pretty hard).
  • To  Break a 100 ocassionally you need an index of 22ish (in the top 60% of NZ)
  • To Break 90 you need an index of 18ish (top 40%)
  • To break 80 you need an index of 10ish (10%)
  • To break par you need an inded of 3ish (top 1.5%)

These numbers feel about right to me.

Edited by 99andaflake, 21 September 2011 - 10:23 PM.


#17 bobilishious2

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:26 AM

View PostJP101, on 20 September 2011 - 03:35 PM, said:

View Postglauser, on 20 September 2011 - 03:31 PM, said:

I overheard on Golf Channel that 1% of golfers can break par, and I anecdotally remember hearing 20% can break 100 but that seems awfully low.  What numbers have you seen/heard as percentages that can break 100/90/80/70?

I would consider the ones that can break par is much lower than 1%. Theres an anecdote somewhere that goes like 1 out of every 10 golfers will break 100. 1 out of those 10 will break 90. 1 out of those 10 will break 80... and so on. Not sure what it exactly is though.

My club has around 800 members and I think i know around 9 or 10 players who have broken par (myself included) so 1% is probably a pretty reasonable estimate.

20% breaking 100 is pretty low though. I'd say at least 1/3 can break 100.

#18 schlyer

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:38 AM

Tonight on golf channel, someone said 22% can break 90.  5% of the 22% are professionals (so about 1%), and 5% of the pros are touring pros.

Think it came from Chamblee, so take your grain of salt with it.

#19 mozgolf

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 07:06 AM

View Post99andaflake, on 21 September 2011 - 10:03 PM, said:

Interesting question!
For what it's worth I had a quick browse around the New Zealand golf website(NZ golf) - this records the scores of everyone who has a membership at a NZ golf club.

My scores are shown (haven't been playing too well lately - haha!), and it shows how I compare to the rest of the  NZ golfing population. You could search through the rankings for any club, or search for random names if you have time to waste.

Anyway, all the data is there to see how many people have ever recorded a score below each of the levels (100,90,80, par) but I can't extract and analyse it.

However here are my really rough estimates:

  • The biggest variable would be the difficulty of the course - I've assumed mine is representative (it's actually a par 71 but it's pretty hard).
  • To  Break a 100 ocassionally you need an index of 22ish (in the top 60% of NZ)
  • To Break 90 you need an index of 18ish (top 40%)
  • To break 80 you need an index of 10ish (10%)
  • To break par you need an inded of 3ish (top 1.5%)

These numbers feel about right to me.

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#20 justaman5

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 07:17 AM

You have to be aware, I am a baby boomer.  I played golf when you played with wood drivers, and fairways, balata balls, blades, and one wedge, a sand wedge.

In 1986 or 87 Golf Digest, published this little math thing.

IF: only 1000 golfers ever played golf (to help round the percentage, and you figure out where you fit)

Then of the 1000, 900 of them will never break 90.

Of the 100 left, 90 of them will never break 80.

Of the 10 left, only 1 of them will break 70.

Of the one that can break 70, then a very small percentage of that will be a professional golfer.


So you figure out what category this puts you in.


I had a subscription to Golf Digest, Golf, and Golf Illustrated for about 15 year. It finally got to be a fire hazard in my basement for all the magazines I had.  I gave them to something for my sons school back in the early 2000's.

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#21 bobilishious2

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 09:43 AM

View PostJohn3Daly, on 20 September 2011 - 04:33 PM, said:

I'd like to see the numbers of golfers who shoot in the 70's that actually play by the rules.  I've met numerous people that shoot in the 70's with a mulligan off the first tee and every 3 footer is good, not to mention they roll the ball at least a club length everywhere.  I'd also like to see how well they do on a 7K+ course.  Kinda narrows the field.

I think this is one instance where the UK handicapping system is a little fairer in that only tournament and competition scores count towards your handicap (i.e. someone else is always marking your card on a measured course under tournament rules and of course you have to hole everything out).

#22 glauser

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 01:05 PM

View Post99andaflake, on 21 September 2011 - 10:03 PM, said:

Interesting question!
For what it's worth I had a quick browse around the New Zealand golf website(NZ golf) - this records the scores of everyone who has a membership at a NZ golf club.

My scores are shown (haven't been playing too well lately - haha!), and it shows how I compare to the rest of the  NZ golfing population. You could search through the rankings for any club, or search for random names if you have time to waste.

Anyway, all the data is there to see how many people have ever recorded a score below each of the levels (100,90,80, par) but I can't extract and analyse it.

However here are my really rough estimates:

  • The biggest variable would be the difficulty of the course - I've assumed mine is representative (it's actually a par 71 but it's pretty hard).
  • To  Break a 100 ocassionally you need an index of 22ish (in the top 60% of NZ)
  • To Break 90 you need an index of 18ish (top 40%)
  • To break 80 you need an index of 10ish (10%)
  • To break par you need an inded of 3ish (top 1.5%)

These numbers feel about right to me.

Very cool that NZGolf does this.  Wish I'd known about it when I lived in Auckland and maybe I'd have joined a club instead of just playing public tracks.  Very, very cool.  BTW, Top 8% in NZ?  Nice!

#23 greglarson2

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 03:44 PM

USGA posts Handicap index numbers Here

Quick breakdown % of average handicap scores based on Par 72:
<100 - 95%
<90 - 71%
<80 - 20%
<70 - .13%

Again this is only USGA GHIN scores. So you have to take into account that a lot of people don't carry a handicap (which means I think means that would be more people shooting higher scores) ALSO that a some people that carry handicap are straight up Sandbaggers, only posting high scores to carry higher league and tournament handicaps so they can win money. IMO

#24 Llanonite

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 02:11 AM

View Postgreglarson2, on 22 September 2011 - 03:44 PM, said:

USGA posts Handicap index numbers Here


I find it interesting that the group from 10.0 to 19.9 makes up just over 50% of the entire group.

Edited by Llanonite, 23 September 2011 - 02:12 AM.


#25 jjj912

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 09:52 AM

View Postgreglarson2, on 22 September 2011 - 03:44 PM, said:

USGA posts Handicap index numbers Here

Quick breakdown % of average handicap scores based on Par 72:
<100 - 95%
<90 - 71%
<80 - 20%
<70 - .13%

Again this is only USGA GHIN scores. So you have to take into account that a lot of people don't carry a handicap (which means I think means that would be more people shooting higher scores) ALSO that a some people that carry handicap are straight up Sandbaggers, only posting high scores to carry higher league and tournament handicaps so they can win money. IMO

If these are the average scores used to calcuated the handicap index, then that means that ESC has been applied.  The actual scores shot by the golfers would higher.

As was alluded to in an earlier post, I think the USGA numbers have a selection bias in that the players more likely to maintain a handicap are also the players who are more likely to be of higher skill.


#26 tngolf22

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:29 AM

My goal was to always reach a true 0 (scratch) index so I could say I was once as good as my father who was a scratch.  We went on a golf trip to Pinehurst and when we played #2 we used caddies.  My caddie was pretty good in helping me with my game and he was also a good player.  I said "how good are you?".  He said, "I'm a 2."  I said, "Wow that's pretty good."  He points a finger at the green and says, "Yep, I can play the game!".  So years later when I got my hcp down to "2" I told myself, "I CAN PLAY THE GAME!"  So I still haven't reached scratch yet but I can play the game lol.



#27 jkim23

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:18 PM

I read somewhere that 50% of all golfers cannot break 100, and 90% of golfers cannot break 90. I know that not having a source to cite is a huge problem, but based on my personal anecdotal experience, I feel that those stats are within reason.

Think about it, to shoot 90 you would have to average +1 stroke over par for every hole. Most golfers that I have played with are not consistent enough to shoot bogey on every hole. So let's say you have one blowup hole per side and you take triple bogey on two holes. To makes up for those four strokes that you lost on those two holes, you would have to score four pars (or 2 birdies) in addition to all the pars you would need to cancel out the double bogeys for your round.

I have only been playing for 16 months, and I play 4 rounds per month. I can honestly say that I have only seen someone break 90 playing by the RoG a handful of times. Even the very best players I have played with who hit a high percentage of GIR and putt 2x or less per hole do not break 90 with ease.

And almost everyone who claimed they have a sub-18 handicap has shot over 100 when we actually played and then stated that "it was a bad day." If you look up the percentage chances of a sub-18 cap shooting over 100, it is minute.

I'd love to see what everyone really scores when they take penalties for OB, penalties for water hazards, playing the balls as it lies, and putting everything out. Those 2-3 footers aren't so easy when you have to put it in the hole. Oh, and counting every stroke (I love it when people don't count their flubs).

#28 cb24

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:56 PM

View Postbobilishious2, on 22 September 2011 - 05:26 AM, said:

View PostJP101, on 20 September 2011 - 03:35 PM, said:

View Postglauser, on 20 September 2011 - 03:31 PM, said:

I overheard on Golf Channel that 1% of golfers can break par, and I anecdotally remember hearing 20% can break 100 but that seems awfully low.  What numbers have you seen/heard as percentages that can break 100/90/80/70?

I would consider the ones that can break par is much lower than 1%. Theres an anecdote somewhere that goes like 1 out of every 10 golfers will break 100. 1 out of those 10 will break 90. 1 out of those 10 will break 80... and so on. Not sure what it exactly is though.

My club has around 800 members and I think i know around 9 or 10 players who have broken par (myself included) so 1% is probably a pretty reasonable estimate.

20% breaking 100 is pretty low though. I'd say at least 1/3 can break 100.

that sounds about right to me as well.  Most of the times I play at least one person in the group (besides me) can break 100 with relative ease.  The thing that always blows me away are the gimmes that people do.  Maybe I am just too competitive or maybe i just like to play by the rules but gimmes are ridiculous.

#29 raynorfan1

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:52 PM

View Postjkim23, on 09 November 2011 - 12:18 PM, said:

And almost everyone who claimed they have a sub-18 handicap has shot over 100 when we actually played and then stated that "it was a bad day." If you look up the percentage chances of a sub-18 cap shooting over 100, it is minute.

That's not even close to correct. If you scored a 100 on a course with a rating of 72 and a slope of 130, your index differential would be 23.3.

Considering that your handicap is the average of your lowest 10 out of last 20, I would be very surprised if you didn't have more than one differential in the 23 to 25 range. Handicaps reflect your ability to score well, and are biased such that scoring much below your handicap is significantly less common than scoring above your handicap. The way to think about handicap (especially for higher handicap players) is that if you shoot a score consistent with your handicap (say, a 90 for an 18 'cap), your round was almost certainly one of the 5 best of your last 20.

#30 mihi4

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 03:27 AM

View Postjkim23, on 09 November 2011 - 12:18 PM, said:

I read somewhere that 50% of all golfers cannot break 100, and 90% of golfers cannot break 90.
The part about breaking 90 could be true.
According to our national golf statistics, with my hcp of 17.3 I'm within the 13.000 best players out of nearly 100.000.
That would be 13%, which is quite close to the 10% able to break 90.

greetings
michi


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