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Sean Foley and Mark Broadie present Strokes Gained Putting and How ShotLink Can Change Golf


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#1 kemau

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:45 PM

Foley, Broadie present on golf statistics


March 03, 2014

BOSTON -- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is a gathering of the greatest minds in advanced sports statistics. Athletes, team executives, media and analysts gathered in Boston on Feb. 28-March 1 for this year's conference. Among the attendees were noted author Malcolm Gladwell, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Bill James, the father of baseball’s sabermetrics movement. Golf's presence at the conference continues to grow. Famed swing instructor Sean Foley and Columbia University professor Mark Broadie, who invented the strokes gained-putting statistic, lectured on strokes gained and how ShotLink powered by CDW can change golf. Broadie's book on golf statistics, "Every Shot Counts," will be released March 6.

Below is a Q&A with Foley and Broadie from their presentation:

PGATOUR.COM: Mark, you’re best known for your work with strokes gained-putting. Can you explain how it works and how it differs from traditional putting statistics?

MARK BROADIE: Just counting putts isn’t good because a two-putt from 60 feet is a good outcome, and a two-putt from 1 foot is terrible, but they both count as two putts. Counting putts doesn’t take into account where you start. The whole idea behind strokes gained-putting is to take into account the length of the putt, because that is a measure of putt difficulty.

PGA TOUR players average two putts from 33 feet, so a one-putt from 33 feet gains a stroke on the field. The PGA TOUR averages 1.5 putts from 8 feet, so a one-putt from 8 feet gains a half-stroke on the field. That’s all it is. It is subtracting two numbers. It’s not very hard at all.

PGATOUR.COM: You can analyze all aspects of the golf game with your ‘strokes-gained’ method. You have concluded that the long game is more important than the short game. Why is this?

BROADIE: One of the things the ShotLink data and this way of analysis clearly shows, is that the long game is the separator between the best TOUR pros and average TOUR pros. … The long game explains about two-thirds of the scoring differences and the short-game and putting about one-third. This is true for amateurs as well as pros.

Tiger Woods is Tiger Woods because he’s great at everything, but if you had to point to one thing, it’s really his long approach shots that really separates him. It really is the key to Tiger’s success.

Ballstriking separates, in terms of strokes, the better players from the average players more. There’s more of a difference in skill there. I think part of the reason is that if you look at proximity to the hole, and you ask, how much difference does it make to be 27 feet versus 30 feet, it sounds like it makes no difference. You’re probably going to two-putt from 27 feet, you’re going to two-putt from 30 feet, it doesn’t seem that it matters. But it’s not the 27 feet to 30 feet on the green that matters. It’s the shot in the bunker that is in the fringe instead, or the shot that lands on the green instead of the rough, or the 10-footer that becomes a 7-footer, or the 5-footer that becomes a 2-footer. You add up all that and it is a large difference.

SEAN FOLEY: My dad is an 8 handicap. He’s a very good chipper and putter, very good. He can almost, be very close in an up-and-down competition with my players. As soon as they get to 125 yards, he has no chance. At 170 yards, he has less chance. At 250 yards, he doesn’t have a hope. So, when people say to me, ‘What’s the difference between a good college player and a PGA TOUR player?” it’s from about 175 to 320 yards.

PGATOUR.COM: Sean, how did you discover Broadie’s work?

FOLEY: I just saw a stat called strokes gained-putting, and then I looked at that and tried to figure it out, called the PGA TOUR, they told me about Mark, about Lou (Riccio, the ShotLink Intelligence Prize winner). I called Mark one day about two years ago. I mean, I’m trying to make money. I’m going to try to study every single thing possible.

So much of what we believe is handed down through nostalgia and what have you. Using Mark’s work, it gives me a platform to show Justin Rose, who wasn’t happy with his wedge game, that under strokes gained from 100 yards and in, he was No. 1 on the PGA TOUR. What happens to athletes, because they’re always in the thick of it, they start telling themselves stories. This has a very mental aspect to it. (Rose) was so shocked and so surprised to see that he was No. 1.

If you look at probability, players can fall into a slump. When they really start to struggle is when they actually believe they are in a slump. A world-class player can have three poor weeks in a row, but if you just help them realize that this is simple math, that it is probability that they will have a poor stretch, you can help them realize that if they just keep putting one foot in front of another they will come out on the other side.

PGATOUR.COM: Is the biggest benefit to the new statistics that you can better measure different aspects of a player’s game, so you have a better idea of what players’ strengths and weaknesses are?

BROADIE: I think that’s No. 1. If you have a stat that just counts fairways, greens, putts, it just doesn’t tell you much. A 100-yard pop-up in the fairway is still a fairway hit. Hitting it 300 yards down the middle is so much better, but they both count as one fairway hit. It’s much harder when you just look at fairways, greens and putts to figure out where somebody is strong, and where somebody is weak.

Also, it’s hard for a player to compare himself to all the other guys on the TOUR when you don’t see all their other shots. You see some of their shots, but you don’t see them all.

PGATOUR.COM: How much can “strokes gained” statistics impact players’ course management?

BROADIE: Occassionally, I will get requests to analyze a hole, like the 10th at Riviera or another where there is an interesting shot choice to make. Those are fun because a lot of the holes are pretty generic and there’s maybe not such a big question about whether I should drive the green or lay up. That’s harder because there’s a lot more detailed analysis you have to do with pin positions, etc.

FOLEY: I think, if you look at the analytics, I don’t think players’ course management is high enough in risk and reward. At the U.S. Open, I get it. You hit it in that stuff and you can’t advance it. In most weeks, the guy from 150 in the rough has more of an advantage than the player from 205 in the fairway. It’s quite an advantage. But it’s all the faux pas we’ve heard. I don’t think people play poker enough on the golf course.

BROADIE: If you hit it longer, and you don’t hit too many more wild shots, you can gain a lot versus laying back and hitting more fairways, but there are a lot of variables you have to take into account. Hitting it into the water, or out of bounds, if you do that a couple more times in 100 shots than somebody else, that would negate the advantage of the few extra yards of driving distance.

PGATOUR.COM: How has the reception been to some of your counter-intuitive findings?

BROADIE: I am waiting to see if people say, “Oh, that’s obvious,” or “No, that’s wrong.” I know there are a lot of people out there who will not believe the results. It’s hard to convince someone who has spent their life thinking a certain way. I’m waiting to see what the reaction the book gets.

PGATOUR.COM: Did you always have a feeling that ballstriking would be more important or were you surprised when you learned that?

BROADIE: I was surprised. My first question was, what is the difference between an 80 golfer and a 90 golfer? I didn’t have a good idea. Now that I have done the analysis for so long and in so many different ways, now it is very, very intuitive. I can see 20 different reasons why it makes sense. But going into it, I didn’t have any preconceived notions.

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#2 golfdude300

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:07 PM

BROADIE: One of the things the ShotLink data and this way of analysis clearly shows, is that the long game is the separator between the best TOUR pros and average TOUR pros. … The long game explains about two-thirds of the scoring differences and the short-game and putting about one-third. This is true for amateurs as well as pros.

So this was/is news. Got it. Can anyone else provide more details as to why anyone should go buy this book?
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#3 kemau

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:47 PM

View Postgolfdude300, on 03 March 2014 - 08:07 PM, said:

BROADIE: One of the things the ShotLink data and this way of analysis clearly shows, is that the long game is the separator between the best TOUR pros and average TOUR pros. … The long game explains about two-thirds of the scoring differences and the short-game and putting about one-third. This is true for amateurs as well as pros.

So this was/is news. Got it. Can anyone else provide more details as to why anyone should go buy this book?

with such quick analysis off of one selected quote, we can tell your knowledge far surpasses his....so give us those cliff notes for all of his other research as well.  the media mentions show quite a bit of distrust in his work too

Mark Broadie: Golf research


1) Are the Official World Golf Rankings Biased?

2) Putts Gained: Measuring Putting on the PGA TOUR

3) Assessing Golfer Performance on the PGA TOUR

4) Assessing Golfer Performance Using Golfmetrics


Media mentions

1) EdTech magazine: Rise in Analytics Attracts Students to Sports Business, by Wylie Wong, April 30, 2012

2) GolfWorld magazine: An Outside the Box Proposal, by Mike Stachura, April 30, 2012

3) Wall Street Journal: Why Scientists Love to Study Golf, by John Paul Newport, March 23, 2012

4) ESPN: Driving, not putting, key for Tiger, by Farrell Evans, March 28, 2012
What turns the tables for victory, by Farrell Evans, January 4, 2012

5) Golf magazine: Where It All Went Wrong: A groundbreaking new statistic reveals which parts of Tiger's game cost him the most shots during his winless 2010 season (April 2011, p.120)
- No.1 Instruction Myth: You Putt for Dough, by Connell Barrett, September 4, 2010 (October issue)
- How to grade your ball-striking this weekend, by Connell Barrett, August 20, 2010
- Grade your ball-striking, part 2!, by Connell Barrett, August 26, 2010

6) Slate: The Return of the King: The stats show that Tiger Woods is getting his game back, by Michael Agger, April 6, 2011
Bad Lies: Why most golf statistics whiff and how to fix them, by Michael Agger, August 12, 2010

7) New York Times: The Long and Short of Which Shots Need Help, by Bill Pennington, July 21, 2008
Avoiding One Mistake After Another, by Bill Pennington, July 22, 2010

8) Golf magazine: 2009 Survey of the American Golfer, by Connell Barrett, November 23, 2009
Tiger,Angelina and the biggest secret in golf: why you're better off with Tiger's driving than putting, by Connell Barrett, October 18, 2009

9) Slate: Moneygolf: What Can Stat Geeks Tell Us About What it Takes to Win on the Links?, by Michael Agger, June 18, 2009

10) Wall Street Journal: Tiger's Grand Slam Dream: Don't Bet On It, by Tim Marchman, March 3, 2009

11) Why shots fall short: See the March 2003 issue of Golf Digest.

12) Where's the Hot Spot?
Where should the ball be hit on this driver's clubface so that the ball travels the maximum distance? In other words, where is the club's hot spot? Which model drivers are the most forgiving? Mark Broadie, Lou Riccio, and Frank Thomas estimated statistical models using a large dataset of shots hit by a golf machine to answer these and other related questions. Their research formed the basis for the Where's Your Hot Spot? articles featured in the December 2003 and October 2001 issues of Golf Digest magazine.

but you did ask why should one go buy this book....continue reading for yourself and come back to enlighten us more

Golf Digest, February 14th
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#4 502 to Right

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:08 PM

I love me some Bill James.  Smartest baseball mind I've ever come across.

#5 monkeynaut

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:32 PM

View Postgolfdude300, on 03 March 2014 - 08:07 PM, said:

BROADIE: One of the things the ShotLink data and this way of analysis clearly shows, is that the long game is the separator between the best TOUR pros and average TOUR pros. The long game explains about two-thirds of the scoring differences and the short-game and putting about one-third. This is true for amateurs as well as pros.

So this was/is news. Got it. Can anyone else provide more details as to why anyone should go buy this book?
No. But I can tell why "Green Eggs and Ham" is good.

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#6 golfdude300

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:24 AM

Thanks for the smerky reply and the link! The readers digest version will suffice.

http://www.columbia....earch_golf.html

Please feel free to enlighten us more. Thanks!
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#7 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:41 PM

Am I the only geek around here really stoked to get my hands on the Brodie book come Thursday?

#8 kemau

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 04:13 PM

View PostFourmyle of Ceres, on 04 March 2014 - 03:41 PM, said:

Am I the only geek around here really stoked to get my hands on the Brodie book come Thursday?

first i've heard of him but after checking out his background and the analysis he's taken on certainly has me interested to find out more....i'm with you! ;)
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#9 MadGolfer76

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 04:26 PM

Having actually organized college conferences like this one, I might point out that the key words here are: "Golf's presence at the conference continues to grow."
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#10 drewtaylor21

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 04:29 PM

View PostFourmyle of Ceres, on 04 March 2014 - 03:41 PM, said:

Am I the only geek around here really stoked to get my hands on the Brodie book come Thursday?

Nope! I've been looking forward to it since I read his article in GolfWorld a few months ago!


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#11 gwlee7

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:01 PM

Got a shipping notice that I should have it Thursday.

#12 Apex93

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:51 PM

View Postdrewtaylor21, on 04 March 2014 - 04:29 PM, said:

View PostFourmyle of Ceres, on 04 March 2014 - 03:41 PM, said:

Am I the only geek around here really stoked to get my hands on the Brodie book come Thursday?

Nope! I've been looking forward to it since I read his article in GolfWorld a few months ago!

Same.  I'm embarrassed how long ago I pre-ordered this book!
Golf is so hard to quantify/analyze.  I'm looking forward to reading someone much smarter than me's take on it.

#13 Doc420

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:35 AM

I can't see how this info is going to help the average golfer. I don't see any shotlink devices at any of the courses I play. It will be interesting to see how they write this book, just about the pro game or actually help the other 99.5 percent of the golfing world.

#14 4pillars

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:41 AM

Waiting for the Kindle version - given up on hard copy

#15 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:32 AM

Kindle and hardcover versions will both be out tomorrow.


#16 gwlee7

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:05 AM

View PostDoc420, on 05 March 2014 - 02:35 AM, said:

I can't see how this info is going to help the average golfer. I don't see any shotlink devices at any of the courses I play. It will be interesting to see how they write this book, just about the pro game or actually help the other 99.5 percent of the golfing world.

I believe a lot of his research involves studies of the orher 99.5 percent of the golfing world.

#17 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:34 AM

Judging from the table of contents and the excerpts I've seen, the book is probably 60% Tour oriented and 40% oriented to "80 shooters", "90 shooters" and "100 shooters". And of the Tour portions it's maybe 60/40 ShotLink versus other types of data and analysis. It's a pretty comprehensive attempt to look at a wide variety of issues for a wide variety of golfers, although the ShotLink derived stuff is the jumping off point of course.

I think Broadie and some of his collaborators were working Monte Carlo type simulation studies even before the ShotLink data became available. The ShotLink data just lets them validate and really nail down precisely how things play out on the Tour. Obviously the data available for amateurs is less fine-grained but it looks to me like their methodology is quite sound across the board. Having one fairly bulletproof source of data, even if for just a highly select subset of the population, lets you really check your work and have some confidence the modeling and simulation results have validity (or fail to have validity and need to be reworked).

#18 Sooner1

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:12 PM

I also preorderd this book long ago.  so long ago I had actually forgotten about it.  I'm fired up to read it.  I work in finance and deal with numbers and stats all day.  I can't wait to see what their research shows.

#19 8thehardway

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:48 PM

I've always thought that being out driven by 40 yards put me at a disadvantage.

#20 Apex93

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:53 PM

View Post4pillars, on 05 March 2014 - 02:41 AM, said:

Waiting for the Kindle version - given up on hard copy


Just got my hardcover delivered today.  Note to people (and 4pillars) - you probably don't want to order the kindle version of this book.  Lots of charts in there and my kindle never handles those well.....


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#21 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 08:17 PM

Yeah, I skipped the Kindle version for that reason.

Having browse through it for 90 minures or so, I'd say there's plenty of excellent insights he has to share. A fair bit of rather anecdotal filler, too. Reminds me of some of Dave Pelz's and Bob Rotella's shaggy dog stories in and between the meat of the content. But that's fine.

He definitely lays everything out where almost anyone will understand the basic ideas behind his approaches and the conclusions will be placed in context.

My biggest quibble so far is the actual printing, typography, layout and physical book-ness is pretty much el cheapo. But probably typical of $25-$30 trade hardbacks nowadays. Not exactly archival paper and beautiful production. But that's not why I bought it!

More comments after I read it over the weekend thoroughly. I also am looking forward to discussing it with my teaching-pro buddy who I believe has a copy as well...

#22 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:49 PM

I just happened to have detailed scorecards from 5-1/2 rounds (five full rounds plus a 9-hole one) about six months ago. It was a period where I was playing just about as well as I ever play so it's probably a fairly representative dataset for my game when I'm not particularly struggling with some specific scorecard killer or another. You know, my "usual game" that I play for about 2 months a year if I'm lucky.

So I used the strokes gained baseline tables from the new Broadie book to compute some overall summary numbers over those 99 holes. I'm probably about what Broadie would term a "90 golfer" even though my scores for those rounds averaged 85. I was playing pretty decently and I do play from the up tees, well under 6,000 yards on my home course.

In an average round I lost 4-1/2 strokes relative to a Tour player in putting.

In an average round I lost 6-1/2 strokes to a Tour player off the tee (combination of very short distance and the occasional penalty stroke or chip-out).

In an average round I lost 1 stroke to a Tour player on bunker shots (fairway bunkers and greenside bunkers combined).

Overall I was about 20 strokes higher than a Tour pro would have been playing from the same tee distances on a course of average difficulty. The 8 or so strokes per round not accounted for off the tee, putting or in bunker play was a combination of approach shots and short game. I've yet to do distance breakdowns on that dataset so can't say how much of each just yet.

That's all PER ROUND. But on a PER STROKE basis the patterns are interesting. I am about 0.13 strokes worse than Tour baseline for each putt which works out to about 1/4 stroke per green. The interesting part is that on shots from the tee, from the rough and from the sand I seem very consistently to be giving up 0.36 stroke to Tour baseline.

Shots from the fairway are slightly better at 0.22 strokes per shot but this is undoubtedly because shots inside 100 yards are mixed in with full-swing fairway shots. If I look at shots of 100 or longer from the fairway it goes up to 0.41 strokes which is right in line with the tee, rough and sand averages.

Thinking of it in strokes-gained terms, it means when I make a full swing I tend to hit the ball into a little more than 1/3 of a stroke "worse" position than a Tour player would do. And it doesn't matter much if it's tee, fairway or other starting position. Relative to a Tour player I'm a bad ball-striker in all situations to a similar extent.

#23 The Pearl

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 02:54 PM

Just downloaded the book, however, I won't get to it for a while do to some other tasks.  I am curious as if Broadie makes any recommendations on how to improve.  As a middle-aged, 7 hdcp, I am not going to suddenly gain 30 or 40 yds off the tees.  Absent moving up a tee box, I am still going to have plenty of approach shots between 150-180 and a couple of longish par 3's per round.

Anecdotally in my own game, I agree with Broadie.  The difference between 77 and 84, for me, is almost exclusively approach shots from distance.

#24 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 03:02 PM

There's some stuff I haven't read yet about various putting games and the like. Sort of like what you'd see in Pelz or Rotella. Maybe some other things as well, I have not read that far.

But other than some very thought-provoking course management tips (somewhat customized to 80, 90, 100 shooters, etc.) it's more descriptive than prescriptive.

He acknowledges a couple places in the book what I've always known to be true. Even if "long approaches" are costing you three or four times as many strokes as "short game" it may well be ten times or a hundred times more difficult to improve your ballstriking-from-180-yards skills. In which case it's a pleasant and thought provoking analysis but tells you nothing you didn't already know about your prospects.

Speaking as a 16-index 53-year-old weekend golfer, there is nothing I could do up to and including quitting my job and moving in with my golf teacher that's going to change the fact that I am giving up about 1/3 of a stroke to a Tour pro every time I make a full swing. Could I reduce that from 0.38 strokes to 0.34 strokes for my mid-iron shots from the fairway? Maybe so. But it would be a drop in the bucket.

So I think we're still back to managing your mistakes (which I could definitely improve at) and playing into your strengths.

#25 Apex93

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 03:39 PM

View PostFourmyle of Ceres, on 07 March 2014 - 12:49 PM, said:

I just happened to have detailed scorecards from 5-1/2 rounds (five full rounds plus a 9-hole one) about six months ago. It was a period where I was playing just about as well as I ever play so it's probably a fairly representative dataset for my game when I'm not particularly struggling with some specific scorecard killer or another. You know, my "usual game" that I play for about 2 months a year if I'm lucky.

So I used the strokes gained baseline tables from the new Broadie book to compute some overall summary numbers over those 99 holes. I'm probably about what Broadie would term a "90 golfer" even though my scores for those rounds averaged 85. I was playing pretty decently and I do play from the up tees, well under 6,000 yards on my home course.

In an average round I lost 4-1/2 strokes relative to a Tour player in putting.

In an average round I lost 6-1/2 strokes to a Tour player off the tee (combination of very short distance and the occasional penalty stroke or chip-out).

In an average round I lost 1 stroke to a Tour player on bunker shots (fairway bunkers and greenside bunkers combined).

Overall I was about 20 strokes higher than a Tour pro would have been playing from the same tee distances on a course of average difficulty. The 8 or so strokes per round not accounted for off the tee, putting or in bunker play was a combination of approach shots and short game. I've yet to do distance breakdowns on that dataset so can't say how much of each just yet.

That's all PER ROUND. But on a PER STROKE basis the patterns are interesting. I am about 0.13 strokes worse than Tour baseline for each putt which works out to about 1/4 stroke per green. The interesting part is that on shots from the tee, from the rough and from the sand I seem very consistently to be giving up 0.36 stroke to Tour baseline.

Shots from the fairway are slightly better at 0.22 strokes per shot but this is undoubtedly because shots inside 100 yards are mixed in with full-swing fairway shots. If I look at shots of 100 or longer from the fairway it goes up to 0.41 strokes which is right in line with the tee, rough and sand averages.

Thinking of it in strokes-gained terms, it means when I make a full swing I tend to hit the ball into a little more than 1/3 of a stroke "worse" position than a Tour player would do. And it doesn't matter much if it's tee, fairway or other starting position. Relative to a Tour player I'm a bad ball-striker in all situations to a similar extent.

Great post and glad to hear someone analyzing their game so thoroughly - hope it helps you improve.  Question for you - I'm only a few pages into the book, but was the "detailed scorecard" info you kept similar to Broadie's original charting methods?  I ask because I started keeping more detailed stats myself, but not in a quant way ("missed fairway right" vs. "255 yd drive, missed fairway right by 6 yds, 165 left to hole").  My way gives broad understanding of the distribution of shots (30% missed left, 60% hit, 10% right), but not in a strokes-gained format.

...Or should I just read the book and have him tell me how to track this info?!


#26 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 04:08 PM

I was only tracking enough information to do a "strokes gained" type calculation. So on my scorecard, for nine holes, you might see nine lines like this:

340t   160r   20s   15   2

Which would be 340 yards from the tee, 160 yards from the rough, 20 yards from the sand, 15 foot putt, 2 foot putt.

I used mostly the numbers from his table on pg. 85 for the calculations. So you need to capture the distance of each shot (round off to 20 yard increments) along with "t", "f", "r", "s", "o" (tee, fairway, rough, sand, obstructed) and putts. I'm fortunate his tabulated categories matched up with the categories I chose to collect last fall for those 5-1/2 rounds.

#27 kemau

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 04:35 PM

View PostFourmyle of Ceres, on 07 March 2014 - 03:02 PM, said:

There's some stuff I haven't read yet about various putting games and the like. Sort of like what you'd see in Pelz or Rotella. Maybe some other things as well, I have not read that far.

But other than some very thought-provoking course management tips (somewhat customized to 80, 90, 100 shooters, etc.) it's more descriptive than prescriptive.

He acknowledges a couple places in the book what I've always known to be true. Even if "long approaches" are costing you three or four times as many strokes as "short game" it may well be ten times or a hundred times more difficult to improve your ballstriking-from-180-yards skills. In which case it's a pleasant and thought provoking analysis but tells you nothing you didn't already know about your prospects.

Speaking as a 16-index 53-year-old weekend golfer, there is nothing I could do up to and including quitting my job and moving in with my golf teacher that's going to change the fact that I am giving up about 1/3 of a stroke to a Tour pro every time I make a full swing. Could I reduce that from 0.38 strokes to 0.34 strokes for my mid-iron shots from the fairway? Maybe so. But it would be a drop in the bucket.

So I think we're still back to managing your mistakes (which I could definitely improve at) and playing into your strengths.

the key to it all IMO....you hear the pros say time and time again something similar to "i'm managing my misses really well" where they still leave themselves in good shape to get up and down even though a shot might fly off track a bit.  regarding playing into your strengths, knowing your club distances so you'll hopefully be in a position where you can use them to do so makes a difference.  with both of those more than likely you're taking a lot of pressure off of your long or short game to "comfortably" execute

Edited by kemau, 07 March 2014 - 10:08 PM.

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#28 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 04:39 PM

I wish I could imitate the country accent of one of the guys I play with but he says, "Unless your handicap starts with a plus, with them long clubs you're just tryin' not to screw up too bad".

#29 brtnsbs

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 06:49 PM

Downloaded the kindle version and read through it in a day. It could get a little dry at times and I felt like he repeated the strokes gained concept over and over again for putting, driving, approach, short game. I was most excited for some of his drills/practice to give you an idea of what area of the game to work on. I have more time to practice than most and as a 5 handicap I'm looking for the last push towards scratch. Excited for the thaw to set in up here in Boston to get to the course/range to see which area of my game is the weakest. Clearly I'm going to give up a ton to tour pros, but having an idea which area is the worst and focusing on that portion should help me see gains in my overall score quicker.

I would say if you are looking for improvement yourself you really can skip to the back 3rd of the book and read the 1st 2/3 as needed, basically the 1st 2/3 is about who is the best on tour in each category (Driving, putting, approach, short game).

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 09:44 PM

View PostFourmyle of Ceres, on 07 March 2014 - 03:02 PM, said:

There's some stuff I haven't read yet about various putting games and the like. Sort of like what you'd see in Pelz or Rotella. Maybe some other things as well, I have not read that far.

But other than some very thought-provoking course management tips (somewhat customized to 80, 90, 100 shooters, etc.) it's more descriptive than prescriptive.

He acknowledges a couple places in the book what I've always known to be true. Even if "long approaches" are costing you three or four times as many strokes as "short game" it may well be ten times or a hundred times more difficult to improve your ballstriking-from-180-yards skills. In which case it's a pleasant and thought provoking analysis but tells you nothing you didn't already know about your prospects.

Speaking as a 16-index 53-year-old weekend golfer, there is nothing I could do up to and including quitting my job and moving in with my golf teacher that's going to change the fact that I am giving up about 1/3 of a stroke to a Tour pro every time I make a full swing. Could I reduce that from 0.38 strokes to 0.34 strokes for my mid-iron shots from the fairway? Maybe so. But it would be a drop in the bucket.

So I think we're still back to managing your mistakes (which I could definitely improve at) and playing into your strengths.

Thanks, this is very well thought out.   I shot a 79 the other day on my home course. It was windy, probably a shot a side more difficult.  My low score is a 75.  I holed out from a bunker, but missed about a 3 footer for biridie, so these two shots cancelled themselves out in my opinion.  I had no penalty strokes or three putts.   I had about 6 to 8 "easy" up and downs as a result of just barely missing the green in the right places.  This would reinforce Broadie's work.  My three worse bogeys came from two poor drives and a poorly executed hybrid approach.  I have gone from about a 13 hdcp to as low as a 6 during a hot streak last summer and now back to just under 8.  I don't practice my short game, ever.

A couple of thoughts inspired by Broadie as applicable to my game.

1.  We have a tendency to overvalue putting.  How many times do you miss a 6 footer for par and blame it on bad putting, when in fact it is almost always a poor shot along the way.
2.  As a short hitter, any really mis-hit drive, even in the fairway is almost always a guaranteed bogey.
3.  Long par 3's are score killers
4.  Can't bogey and short par 4 or par 5 that I have a 6 iron or less into.
5.  Putting, other than something on the unbelievable side, where you drain 3 or 4 putts of distance, for me is virtually irrelevant.

One final thought, is their an unusual strategy one could employ using tactical layups to safe areas, particularly on long par 4's and long par 3's?


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