Bringing Strokes Gained statistics to all golfers.

Beating “the pro” – Using strokes gained for individual shots to establish targets and measure shot quality

Strokes gained stats such as strokes gained putting are generally calculated and presented on a per round basis.  In other words, statistics are generated by adding up the strokes gained values of all individual shots that fall within the defined category during a single round.  Once the per round values are established, they can be combined or averaged to produce other stats reflecting performance over a range of time, such as a season or year.   Strokes gained putting stats are generated by adding the cumulative strokes gained values of all shots taken from the green over the course of a round, and then averaging those results over time.  Strokes gained driving stats are generated by adding the cumulative strokes gained values of all shots taken from the tee on par 4’s and par 5’s.  Calculating strokes gained stats on a per round basis proves valuable in analyzing player peformance and skill, and the PGA tour uses these per round values as the basis for all strokes gained analysis.

However, it is important to recognize that all statistics are initially generated by evaluating individual shots.  Every shot performed on a golf course is given a specific strokes gained value based on the lie type and distance-to hole of every ball at rest from the tee to the hole.  In other words, every individual shot is judged for quality in relation to the benchmark,  Once each shot is given a value, a huge variety of statistics can be generated by simply grouping those individual shots into categories.  While the PGA Tour currently only presents strokes gained putting and strokes gained tee to green, it is very easy to calculate a whole host of other useful stats using strokes gained methodology.

Why the PGA Tour is not developing and presenting more stats more quickly is a great question that deserves its own blog post.  Suffice it to say that the Tour right now has the ability to produce a ton of extremely illuminating strokes gained stats that could accurately measure the quality of each player’s game in nearly any aspect.  We could and should already have strokes gained driving, strokes for greenside bunkers, strokes gained out of the rough, strokes gained for any distance range, etc.  All that is required is simply defining which shots will be included in a given category, and then cumulatively added to produce a strokes gained total for each round played.

While it is very useful to “bundle” shots on a per round basis, there is also a lot of value to creating stats per shot.  Strokes Gained Golf  sees great value in generating stats on both a per round and per shot basis.  Not bundling shots on a per round basis opens up a different and very useful method of analysis.

Perhaps the most interesting result is the ability to generate targets for each shot during a round.

The basic idea of targets is that every shot performed during a round of golf can be viewed as an opportunity to “better” the benchmark.  Literally before every shot a golfer can know where he needs to put the ball to improve upon the PGA Tour average.  For example, a golfer hitting a shot from 140 yards in the fairway would need to hit the ball to within 23 feet of the pin to beat the PGA Tour average.  A golfer hitting a ball from a bunker 15 yards from the pin would need to hit the ball within 8 feet of the pin to better the pros.  A golfer on the tee 420 yards to the pin would have to hit the ball in the fairway closer than 180 yards to the pin to better the pros.  This type of “target” analysis can be done for any position on the golf course.

Even more interesting is that we don’t have to be limited to PGA Tour benchmarks for our basis of comparison.  While the pro benchmarks are fun to know and it is thrilling to occasionally “beat the pro”, it can be a frustrating goal.  Fortunately, good strokes gained systems such as those found on this site are not limited to those high-end comparisons.  It is very simple to create benchmarks for each shot that reflect your own average, or the average of 10 handicappers, or the average of a friend, etc.  So in essence, before playing any shot during a round, a golfer has the ability to identify multiple targets, each reflecting a distinct level of quality.  Furthermore, AFTER performing a shot, a golfer has the ability to know exactly the quality level of that shot.  This is an extremely powerful tool that is fun, fascinating and useful.  With strokes gained, a golfer can know exactly the level of each shot, knowing whether it was pro level, scratch level, 7 handicap level, 30 handicap level, etc.

These per shot benchmarks are established by creating strokes gained values per shot in various categories.  For example, after recording a few rounds a golfer will have a per shot strokes gained putting value.  Let’s say that value is -.123, which means for every putt, the golfer averages .123 strokes below the pro benchmark.  This allows us to establish a per shot benchmark for the golfer, reflecting their own average result on all putts.  This process can be used in other categories as well.  Now the golfer not only can know the pro target for each shot, but also a target reflecting their own expected results.  Expanding upon this idea, the golfer will also be able to know the expected result for any handicap level for each shot.

Of course, to make this level of analysis possible, a golfer must have access to this type of instant analysis during a round, without the process impeding the flow of their round of golf. That is why Strokes Gained Golf has been hard at work over the last couple of years. Knowing the value of such tools, and also knowing that we don’t want to be burdened during a round of golf. we have been diligently working to bring these ideas to all golfers in the most trouble-free way possible.  By using our app on the course, all of this analysis will be available to you.  Eventually, GPS and laser functionality will make the process even smoother.  Utilizing GPS and/or laser to automatically determine distances-to-hole, combined with a simple on-course scorecard interface will be the future of strokes gained.  We have a patent pending for that process.

So yes, this ability to identify targets before a shot is within your reach.  The ability to immediately understand the quality of a shot after it has been performed is within your reach.  By using our app, you will have access to all your strokes gained stats, in any category, both on a per round and a per shot basis.  Plus this is all recorded and tracked over time, so it will be easy to see improvement or regression.  We have carefully designed graphs that we believe present all of this information in a clear and flexible fashion.



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