Study: Overall Golfer Performance By Handicap
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Study: Overall Golfer Performance By Handicap

Study: Overall Golfer Performance By Handicap

How Do You Measure Up?

What separates players from pretenders?  Where does the average golfer really struggle? How much difference could one more par per round make?

Today we’re going to try to answer all of those questions and more as we take a closer look at golfer performance by handicap. Along the way we’ll show you how golfers of varying ability levels compare across several metrics, and provide you with some clues that help to explain why golf products are marketed the way they are.

To bring you this information, we’ve partnered with TheGrint, a Golf GPS and Handicap/Stat Tracker. TheGrint’s massive database provides absolutely incredible insight into the makeup of the golfing population as a whole.

How Data was Mined

Data was captured from TheGrint App and Website.

We used a total sample of 15,000 golfers who:

  • Are part of a USGA Compliant Golf Club
  • Have uploaded at least 5 scores to TheGrint

Abnormal scores (scores with handicap differentials lower than -10 or higher than 45) were removed from an initial sample of over 300,000. While it should be obvious enough, it’s worth mentioning that our data is limited to golfers who track their handicap. It’s also reasonable to assume that data from TheGrint skews towards a more tech-savvy golfer, and that could also suggest a demographic that is, on average, younger than that of the total golfing population as a whole.

With that said, let’s look at what we found out.

Distribution by Handicap

This graph shows the distribution of handicaps among golfers who track their scores with theGrint. This provides the foundation data that helps us to define the average golfer (based on ability level).

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Insights:

  • The highest percentage of golfers who track their scores is found in the 11-15 group.
  • A comparatively small percentage of golfers with handicaps of 20+ track their scores. This could indicate that the majority of that group doesn’t keep a handicap, and may not even keep score.

What would be interesting to better understand is what motivates a golfer to keep score? Do we reach a certain ability level and decide it’s time? Are we driven to better understand our games, or do most of us simply need to be tournament legal?

Scoring Percentiles

This graph illustrates the cumulative percentage of golfers who break 80, 90, and 100 on a regular basis. If you’re looking for a reason why it doesn’t make financial sense for a golf company to cater exclusively to better players, the answer lies in this data.

unnamed (9)

Insights:

  • Only 10% of golfers who track their handicap break 80 on a regular basis. Let me say that again. Only 10% of golfers break 80 on a regular basis.
  • 49% of golfers break 90 on a regular basis.
  • 86% of golfers break 100.

Where would you spend your marketing dollars? Success hinges on the average golfer.

Of course, there are things the data doesn’t tell us. How long does it takes the average golfer to break 100? How much harder is it to break 90…and then 80. We’re going to need more data.

Birdies, Pars, and Bogeys

While the following graph looks scary, it’s not nearly as complex as it look. It is interesting, however; as it shows how many birdies, pars, bogeys,etc. each handicap bracket makes per round. For example, note that the 11-15 handicap bracket makes .5 birdies per round (1 every 2 rounds) to go along with 5.1 pars and 7.7 bogeys per round.

unnamed (8)

Insights:

  • While many believe better golfers make several birdies per round, the data suggest that eliminating big numbers (double bogey or worse) is actually the key to significantly lowering your scores.
  • The chart provides an excellent guide for what it takes to get to the next level. For example, you can easily see where your game falls short compares to the average of those with similar or better handicaps. Getting to the next level could be as simple as making one more par per round or eliminating a single blow-up hole.

Strokes Over Par

unnamed (7)

This graph shows the average score relative to par for all holes. For example, Handicap 1-10 golfers score 0.65 strokes over par on par 4 (an average of 4.69).

Insights:

  • Very good golfers excel on Par 5’s, but comparatively struggle on Par 3s while less skilled players perform comparatively better on Par 3s, but struggle with Par 5s.

The discrepancy is likely explained by the fact that good golfers are generally longer and more accurate with the driver and often leave themselves with shorter shots into greens. Par 3s for better players tend to be longer (back tees), which often means a long iron is required.

Less accomplished golfers struggle with Par 5s because they present more opportunities to miss (hit bad shots), while Par 3s offer a scoring advantage because they often play 150 yards or less from the forward tees.

Coming Soon

Is there a correlation between age and golfer performance? In our next study powered by TheGrint, we’ll show you what the numbers say.

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Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

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      RANDY LOGUE

      1 year ago

      LIKE TO BE SIGNED UP ..AT 76 LIKE TO SEE THE MATCH UP PLAYING THE SENIOR OR SUPER SENIORS SCORES AND TEES. FIRST TIME WRITER.
      REGARDS,
      RANDY

      Reply

      Howard Jahre

      11 months ago

      Hi Randy,
      I’m 75 and a big proponent of Four Magic Moves by Joe Dante. I read your review on Amazon and decided to reach out. Are you still using his system? How far can you hit your driver using the backward wrist break? No doubt the system works but for me I need to make a full shoulder turn with my back facing the hole to make sure my hips ( and not my arms and hands) initiate the downswing. Learning to keep my arms and hands “ wooden” has been a challenge but no doubt the ball is compressed and goes straight when I execute the shot properly. It’s also been challenging to initiate the backswing with the backward wrist break. Any comments or suggestions would be most appreciated.

      Reply

      Jackson Hawkins

      7 years ago

      Good info.

      Please add me to the mail list.

      ack

      Reply

      Fred Lens

      9 years ago

      49% of the golfers break a 90 on a regular basis. That must amaze you. But hey, wait, 86% of them break 100%. Now we’re talking, pal. It seems the objective of this post is not to give an exact measurement of everything, but to have directional evidence to make hypotheses and to discuss them with other folks.

      Reply

      Bill

      9 years ago

      I found the birdies, pars, bogies, DBL bogies chart to be illuminating. The suggestion that the double bogies contribute more to increased handicaps than birdies reduce it is right on the mark. My handicap went from upper single digits to low teens this year and I tracked all my rounds. Birdie frequency was same as years past, 1-2 a round. But my blow up hole frequency (double bogie or worse) was way up. Pars varied but not greatly..Maddening. Short game and too many penalties off the tee were main contributors but tracking all my scores and penalties really showed where my work needs to be done.

      Reply

      revkev

      9 years ago

      This is a great post – one of the very best among bests. I’m glad to learn that we will have more data to come, things like GIR difference’s between handicaps from 150 and the like. For me that will be useful in trying to lower mine.

      I understand that lots of folks feel a need to poke at the numbers. With the size of this survey I’m thinking they are pretty accurate. Of course they aren’t perfect but they are accurate enough for someone to say, Oh I do this better than folks in my handicap grouping or oh I need to improve that area of my game if I want to avoid others and so on and so forth.

      For me that’s the main point here – not whether the Gint may be off by .01 of a point in a category. Rest assured it is. And rest assured that the information remains incredibly helpful. Thanks for this great project guys!

      Reply

      revkev

      9 years ago

      This is a great post – one of the very best among bests. I’m glad to learn that we will have more data to come, things like GIR difference’s between handicaps from 150 and the like. For me that will be useful in trying to lower mine.

      I understand that lots of folks feel a need to poke at the numbers. With the size of this survey I’m thinking they are pretty accurate. Of course they aren’t perfect but they are accurate enough for someone to say, Oh I do this better than folks in my handicap grouping or oh I need to improve that area of my game if I want to avoid others and so on and so forth.

      For me that’s the main point here – not whether the Gint may be off by .01 of a point in a category. Rest assured it is. And rest assured that the information remains incredibly helpful.

      Reply

      dan

      9 years ago

      This is the first time I heard of The Grint. I’m going to give it a try. Tough here with a phone app; spotty data coverage and all that. About the handicap: my index is currently 13 and I post everything. I even post the scores that GHIN says “are you sure you want to post that?” Anyway, interesting read here!

      Reply

      Kenneth J

      9 years ago

      Lots of good discussion here, and I look forward to the rest of the data. For comparision’s sake, I track all of my rounds using the Nike Golf 360 app and post all of my scores for Hadicap purposes. The latest revision has me at 13.1. Up a few from the year before but I played a lot of more difficult courses this year. Here are the stats I have from this season:

      Avg Score: 88.8
      Best Score: 81
      Driving Accuracy: 40%
      GIR: 35%
      Putts: 34

      The App doesn’t track scoring average for each Par 3, 4, or 5 but that is something I will track along with some other stats for next year. (It seems it can be done pretty easily on the GHIN site if you uses hole-by-hole scoring instead of just posting ESC after each round, which is what I do now). I do know that my par 5 scoring is pretty bad. I have more big numbers on par 5 than any.

      Reply

      joro

      9 years ago

      This is interesting. As a young man my hcp was always under Par. After an accident which broke my back and neck I was a 9 and worked back to a 1. Last year at 74 with a 6 hcp. I had a stroke that affected 50% of my right side and couldn’t play for several months. When I started back I was a 22, the result of a loss of power and Double bogies or more. Now I have worked down to a 16 but although I have some Pars, I also give several strokes back in the form of Doubles and more. The other day was typical, 94 with 10 unnecessary give away stroke. Fat chips, 3 putts, and my biggest, topped and fat woods that was just giving back. That never happened before. One day with one double I shot 81, so I know it is there, just get rid of the give aways. That is what I see with the high hcp players, but is it trying to hit the ball too hard ?, or just a lack of skill, lack of co ordination, or just no skill.

      Bottom line is that I never knew what high hcprs. go thru, it is frustrating. I think in my case I have to accept that I will never get back to what I was and have to come to a realization and go do what I can. Get rid of the bad shots!!!!!

      The rest of this article should be good.

      Reply

      Dean

      9 years ago

      I have been reading all the follow ups to this article. I am 62 years of age started playing at the age of 48. When I first started playing I knew for the first time this game could be difficult to. prefect. After playing for a few years I gave up on trying to be a low handicap player. Challenges of a typical course has become to difficult because of the added distant over the years. So now I play without keeping score I have no clue as to what my handicap is and don’t care. I am enjoying the game more this way. My new attitude is golf doesn’t pay me to play I pay to play so all the rules go out the door its a game of fun to me now because I am giving myself a chance for the first time. A fellow once told me I was cheating myself. I said no I am being honest in what I am doing and I do not play competitive golf with others. I just enjoy the game my way.

      Reply

      USRGA.org

      9 years ago

      Dean – Good for you! Don’t feel like you are in the minority – the minority of golfers are the golfers with a handicap. 85% of golfers do not have a handicap. They, like you, play for the fun of it. The facts are: 75% of golfers have never read the USGA Rules of Golf, 73% of golfers admit to taking Mulligans, using foot wedges, etc., 63% of golfers will play nonconforming equipment if it provides a performance advantage, less than 15% of golfers have a real handicap, the majority of golfers agree on the rules on the first tee.
      Recreational Golf is a GAME, where the purpose of playing is not solely to win or to record a score. Serious Tournament Golf is not a game, it is COMPETITION, where the sole purpose is to win according to the rules.

      Reply

      Jeannie Uss

      9 years ago

      It shows manufacturers need to provide as much help as they can for the majority of golfers. And course set-ups need to be looked at also — too often pins are placed in extremely difficult positions and par 3’s are too long. If there are 4 par 3’s on your normal golf course then they should be different yardages and spread between 100 to 170….for the ‘average Joe’. As for Rules of golf — the move to simplify these for social play is the right idea.

      Reply

      USRGA.org

      9 years ago

      There is an alternative set of rules that actually reflect how 80% of golfers play golf. check out http://www.usrga.org
      The USGA rules were never meant for recreational golfers – they are ONLY meant for serious tournament golf (read them and you will understand why this is a true statement). The USGA’s jurisdiction is only USGA sanctioned tournaments and those tournaments where the participants agree to play by the USGA Rules. The whole idea that all golfers have to play by the USGA rules is ridiculous. It is like making all softball players play by National League Rules. Golf is a game – enjoy the time you spend with friends, the challenge, the beauty of the course, the traditions, the etiquette,… and most of all HAVE FUN. If you aspire to be an amateur champion or tour professional, by all means play by the USGA rules (it is required), but do not hold everyone else to a standard that is not applicable and is a primary reason why most newcomers find the game intimidating.

      Reply

      Regis

      9 years ago

      Yeah but intrinsic in maintaining a handicap is the presumption that you post your score pretty much in accordance with the USGA rules. Forgetting USGA tournaments or even club tournaments, its an assumption one makes when he gets paired up with that lying, sandbagging thief who will be my partner or adversary in the 50 cent Nassau we’re about to play.

      Paul b

      9 years ago

      in the last 5 years , whenever the starter paired me up with a golfer, I asked what he shot. About 50 players said mid 80s, high 80s , low or middle 90s. Only ONE out of these 50 golfers ever broke 100!!!!!!!! . I would bet less than 5 % of all golfers ever break 100. That’s the reason why one golf course closes every 48 hours in America. The game is just brutally tough.

      Reply

      Tillman

      9 years ago

      Paul b makes a good point… my experience with other players (limited) is similar. Most “had a bad day” that day.

      I started playing at age 70 with my father-in-law (a genuine scratch golfer as a young man). He would not let me go on the course unit I had at least some ball-striking ability. I’ve now been at it for 2.5 years and just now can confidently break 100. This game is very challenging; I am fortunate he taught me how to putt because that is what saves me!

      Lessons, lessons… practice, practice.

      Reply

      Paul

      9 years ago

      This just makes me more confused about where i stand. Finished the golf season shooting around 80-85 and then start Virtual Golf over the winter (shooting 80-85). Took a lessons and hit a lot of balls into a net in my cold garage, and now breaking par and shooting 71-75. No official handicap yet. Damn winter, need spring bad to see if golf skills make it to the course.

      Reply

      gdog97

      9 years ago

      This was some really cool data and I’m looking forward to the second part of what else the data is telling us.

      As someone who didn’t take up golf until he was 30, I have been on a mission the last six years to get as fast as I can as quick as I can. To me most of this data is useful for marketing to others. In my opinion, a serious golfer (even us weekend warriors that only play 25 rounds a year) should know the strengths and weaknesses of their own game.

      I don’t need any system to tell me that over my last four rounds of the year I shot a combined 357 with 171 putts, for an average round of 89 with 43 putts. (Yes, you read that correctly)

      I got a little comfort knowing that less than half the guys I play with will break 90 consistently, which I often do, but i have never broken 80. In fact, I’ve never shot better than 81 thus far in six summers.

      Again, I’m really looking forward to the next piece of this data.

      Reply

      Donald Sweet

      9 years ago

      I am 74 and play once a week and sometimes twice.

      My GHIN is 19.1 for December. I keep a separate scorecard on every round I play. I do keep track of par/bogie/double.

      This way I know what I need to practice. That would be helpful if I actually got out and did some practice.

      I realize that if I could improve me chipping I could actually get down to middle 80’s (which is my goal.

      Wish me luck

      Don

      Reply

      Steve Almo

      9 years ago

      And one other thought….this 15″ B.S. concerning cup size. What difference does it make if the cup size is 36 inches….this type player is still going to be putting for Double or Triple Bogey!

      Reply

      Steve Almo

      9 years ago

      .Actually most mid to high handicappers just don’t understand the playing strategy of the game within their skill level. We know if a player is a 20 hndicapper he is going to make on average 16 Bogeys and 2 Double Bogeys for the plain simple reason their eyes are on the green rather than thinking the best way to get to the green. If I could walk or ride with this type player and tell him what shot to make and what club to use…he would shoot 5 shots less at minimum then he currently does. You have to make shots and placement you are capable of making…they don’t. It’s the Arnold Palmer syndrome…it’s go for broke on every shot…without the talent or skills to do so….

      http://www.geekgolf.com

      Reply

      Kenny B

      9 years ago

      I would qualify that statement… Actually most mid to high handicappers that have been playing less than 10 years and under the age of 40 don’t understand… You described my wife; 20 HCP but she is nearly 60 and has been playing for 50 years. I wouldn’t say that golfers who have been playing for a long time don’t understand. There are other factors to consider. You are thinking of the young guys in this range. Older accomplished golfers, including women, have different issues. They hit the ball fairly straight, but can’t reach many par 4’s, and certainly not par 5’s, in two. This probably accounts for 12-14 extra shots per round. The remaining 6-8 shots per round are most likely extra shots around the green; i.e., in bunkers, chips and 3-putts.

      I would like to see data like what revkev mentioned for driving distance, as well as Age and Gender. You can’t throw the hormonal males in with old people. I used to be the former and now I am the latter. I play the game differently than I used to, and my HCP is half what it used to be.

      Reply

      Steve Almo

      9 years ago

      Kenny…Of coure there are other aspects of the game that that causes one to not play better. Mostly they don’t work on their game for many reasons…Time consuming, away from family and friends, they just don’t enjoy practicing and other various reasons.. And, quite frankly, the above statement I made was directed at all ages and experience in the mid to high handicap range. Most just don’t understand the layout and the best way to get around the course in the least number of strokes. And it’s not just the short game. Quite a few just scrap the ball around the course with no thought of placement to set up the next shot..

      http://www.geekgolf.com

      Kenny B

      9 years ago

      Steve, I really feel like you are missing the point. People like my wife are good players, they know the game and how to play it, and practice more than you think. She doesn’t scrap it around the course. Every shot is pretty much straight. If she can’t carry a hazard or bunker, she bails to a safe place if it’s available. If the courses we play were shorter (and we travel all over to play), she would be a single digit HCP. As we age, we guys can move up a tee box. I moved up about 5 years ago because it’s more fun to hit irons into greens instead of woods, although I still have to do that on some courses. I can’t move up any more, because I would be with my wife on the forward tees! But where do women go when they don’t hit it as far as they used to? Nowhere, and the HCP just goes up.

      So to say that mid to high caps don’t understand the game and just scrap it around is an insult to many of those players. That will be you someday, it’s inevitable.

      Steve Almo

      9 years ago

      Kenny…I am 66. I picked up the gane when I was in the military. I loved it so much…at 1630 hours…I was on the course or on the practice area. Everyday. Today, I can’t play at all because of nerve damage. Kenny…do not take anything I say personally…I speak in general terms.. You have to put in the work to become a good player. Also, I never minded slow play as it gave me a chance to study what the course designer had in mind. Why they put a tree here, or a trap there, etc. etc. etc. Especially on a good or great course. That is understanding the game.

      Bottmline Kenny…most give up shots simply because they try to do something they can’t. And if they hit a lousy shot they always try and recover rather than play for the Bogey they deserve…that is why they make Double and/or Trip[le.or worse.

      Have a great Holiday my friend.

      Mike

      7 years ago

      Steve, Couldn’t agree more. As an avid average golfer (15.2) my best rounds (low mid 80’s) have always come while playing within my capabilities. I don’t hit many greens from 175+. The smart scoring play for me is to lay up and play for the 1 putt. Which barring the dreaded 3 putt results in bogey at worst more often than not.

      Anyone that plays regularly knows most struggle to break 100 regardless of what they tell you on the first tee. Statistics clearly back that up. And as you stated most (especially 20+ handicappers) attempt shots regularly they’ll execute maybe 10-15% of the time. Which of course gets them in trouble they didn’t need to be in.

      I was advised years ago to look at the club in your hands. Then look at what trouble that club could find with a bad swing. If there isn’t a 75% chance of avoiding trouble with that club pick one that does. It’s not negative thinking. It’s not un-manly. It’s realistic. We all make bad swings. But bad swings can have “good misses” more often than not when playing to your strengths as opposed to your weaknesses.

      Regis

      9 years ago

      I know I’m not breaking new ground here but as far as statistics , my observations:
      Probably upwards of 90% of golfers who play private tracts or play in a league keep a handicap. Less than 30% who play at public courses do. That is not necessarily a reflection of their ability.
      Most players who keep a handicap “cheat” , and I don’t intend that derogatorily.. How many play a breakfast ball, give themselves a short putt to “speed up play” ? Not to mention the real offenders : players that play to a vanity handicap or those that are “sandbaggers” (either because they gamble or like hardware)
      The handicap system we use is perfect for its purposes but only is based on the lowest 10 scores of the last 20 and uses Equitable Stroke Distribution which means , for example , that the most a 10-19 handicapper can take on a par 5 is a 7 (double bogey).
      Again I think the handicap system is perfect, I’ve had one for 30 years but we should be careful when using it for purposes other than intended. Hell I know a guy who plays to a 15 who is probably a 5 tee to green. He just can’t putt and he has tried everything including hypnosis.

      Reply

      Bluch

      9 years ago

      I agree with your analogy to a certain extent. In order to speed up play I am inclined to take a “gimee” put within 18 -24 inches. I only do this since a former friend of mine insisted on dropping all putts including those within 6 inches. It took time. One time I dropped about 6 balls within 3 feet and made all just to show that you can be to technical when there is really no time to be that way. Bear in mind the rules for stroke play are different than those for match play. In stroke play you must play out; in match play you can concede. The handicap rules for maximum strokes on any hole are intended to speed up play. In a tournament if your out of the hole it’s recommended you pick up to speed up play. My point is this if your handicap is honest and you can live with it fine. Should anyone be cheating in order to win, they know it as well as everyone else. Cheaters never win!!!

      Reply

      proside

      9 years ago

      well said but I thought the Equitable Stroke Distribution was brought about in part at least to curtail sand bagging.

      Reply

      Bluch

      9 years ago

      The reason people track their scores is to know where there level of play is going. Scores are needed to establish a handicap. Level of play tells you how you will play within your own handicap group and with players at a higher level of play. A handicap is required in most tournament play. With respect to those who shave strokes for various minor infractions on the course in order to qualify for a lower handicap they have problems. When I play with people with low handicaps, and you are playing off their handicap, and they constantly complain that they have never played this bad before I wonder why – maybe it’s because they are unable to violate the rules in tournament play and are under surveillance by others.

      Reply

      Dave

      9 years ago

      Great stuff. Especially the comment by one reader who mentioned that the majority of rounds are not posted.

      I think this point is key for everybody who takes the game serious but I know a lot of golfers don’t because the game already is expensive enough.

      It’s too bad there isn’t an easier score posting system that isn’t cost prohibitive. ( I know the free sites where you can post etc. – I think if scores aren’t posted 30 minutes after a round they usually don’t get posted.)

      Reply

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      Well try TheGrint. It is free and easy to post.

      And if you are into tracking your scores on a Scorecard and Pencil, with TheGrint you simply snap a picture of the Scorecard, upload it and the Scores are transcribed for you. That simple.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply

      Lou

      9 years ago

      I use a golf app on my phone called Golf Frontier. It is a great app. It has a GPS on it and I can keep track of all my scores on this app. It also has a game analysis which I am currently comparing with your numbers. Very cool article indeed…

      Reply

      Andy W

      9 years ago

      But still safe to say that regardless of skill level, golfers still own what they see used on TV.

      Reply

      Todd Williams

      9 years ago

      Very interesting. Makes you think. I’m squarely int he 11-15 hdcp range and the numbers look like you took a peek at my scorecard.

      Reply

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      We have looked at this data in many different ways and also on a golfer to golfer basis.

      There are some people that fit exactly with the averages and some others that are very different. In my case I am like you, the data shows exactly my behavior.

      Having said that, that is another reason why I believe tracking your data and stats is so important. That way you know where you fall, what you do better than others in your bracket, or worse than others in your bracket. That’s how you find improvement opportunities.

      Reply

      Gary

      9 years ago

      The one point that isn’t even mentioned is the fact that most golfers (including those that keep track of scores and turn in for handicap) do not play by the rules ALL THE TIME. That means not touching the ball from tee to putting green, NO “gimme” putts, plus a complete and thorough knowledge of rules. So these numbers actually mean nothing. As Mark Twain said, “there are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

      Reply

      Adam F

      9 years ago

      Exactly. While the data above provides some information on POSSIBLE trends, there are too many extra variables that could skew the data on which to base any statistically significant conclusions.

      Reply

      ofosho

      9 years ago

      A “gimme” putt is totally legal under a USGA handicap. And most golfers that keep a handicap are going to use it to play others. Others that will keep them honest. The data is legit, your comment is meaningless. “Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt”

      Reply

      Gary

      9 years ago

      ofosho: Sorry you feel my comment is “meaningless.” As for “totally legal under a USGA Handicap”, I suggest that you might want to attend a golf rules seminar so that you might become more educated about the actual rules of the game. As for your last remark, it’s funny but I was thinking the same thing about you.

      Bluch

      9 years ago

      Gary. I agree with you. Purchasing a copy of the “Decisions on the Rules of Golf” would be helpful, and the decisions are updated so anyone interested can become acquainted those decisions.This forum I believe is not intended to see who is smarter than the other, I believe it’s intended to allow us to network and share our opinions with Golf Spy. If it’s to “remove all doubt” then I really don’t belong here.

      Gary

      9 years ago

      Amen

      ofosho

      9 years ago

      Gary: I’m so happy you refused to go quietly into the night. Here is your rule:

      http://www.usga.org/Content.aspx?id=25471

      Bluch, I see you too, you are also a moron. Bow down losers.

      “most likely score”

      Bluch

      9 years ago

      An interesting perspective from an individual with obvious self esteem concerns. I will have you know young man that I am 82 years old and started to caddy at the tender age of 12 in July 1944. I have been off and on the course for over 70 years. I am both a Korean and Vietnam Veteran with over 20 years of military service. I completely understand people like you and will have you know I bow down to no one except our Lord and that ain’t you. Grow up and engage in an intelligent discussion or just go away. No one likes a “smart ass”.

      Gary

      9 years ago

      ofosho: First, in this forum there is no need for name calling or bullying.

      Second, the “rule” you referred to is NOT a rule. According to the USGA, the Equitable Stroke Control is a procedure for setting a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player’s course handicap.

      Nowhere on that page is the word “gimme.”

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      First, let me agree with Gary on the name-calling thing. You’re an assumed grown-up having a reasonably minor difference of opinion over something that in the grand scheme of the universe hardly matters at all. We should be a long way away from insults.

      That said, here’s the line I pulled from the link that I believe opens the door for gimmes:

      “On the second hole, Woodstock picked up his ball two feet from the hole lying 5. His most likely score would have been 6. Woodstock jotted down an X-6; 6 is obviously less than 8, so he used 6 when posting his score for handicap purposes.”

      Yes, ESC applies to maximum strokes, but in the example, it references taking a 6 instead of an 8 after an assumed putt, so even though it’s in the ESC section it doesn’t appear to be talking about ESC directly. If that was the case, shouldn’t it say something along the lines of putting out and take your actual score or an 8, whichever is lower.

      At best it’s a contradiction.

      For me it raises the question of boundaries between stroke play, match play, and just out playing with my buddies (while keeping score). I think we all know what that means, and we all know we’re obligated to putt out in a stroke play tournament, but outside of a tournament…

      The reality is that majority of golf played in the US is match play. Gimmes, conceded strokes, whatever you want to call them, are permissible in match play. That brings me to USGA Decision 5-1c/1 which states:

      “Scores in both match play and stroke play must be posted for handicap purposes. This includes scores made in match play, in multi-ball, or in team competitions in which players have not completed one or more holes or in which players are requested to pick up when out of contention on a hole.”

      So we have a USGA rule that says gimmes are permissible in match play coupled with a USGA decision that says match play scores must be posted for handicap purposes.

      To me that suggests that not only is my Saturday morning round, which likely includes a handful of gimmes, perfectly within the rules as far as posted scores for handicapping purposes are concerned, I’m technically obligated to post that match play score for handicap purposes.

      I’m perfectly willing to do something basically unheard of on the internet – defer to somebody who might very well know more about this than I do, but the rules of golf as I understand them, coupled with the decision referenced above suggest that gimmes within theGrint (and anywhere else), are perfectly legal within the context of a match play score entered into GHIN or whatever else you may use to keep your handicap.

      proside

      9 years ago

      I agree with you but with the point that I believe golfers of all levels take rule liberties proportional in some ways to their scores. So in the end it’s like the 50/50 of whether golfers record their best or worst scores to suit their cap desires.
      I get given gimmies even though I know that I can miss those plenty easy and I tell my partners as much. They still give them even if I prove it so what am I to do but be social and keep the game moving as is expected of me.
      The pros don’t even know the rules thoroughly, I certainly wouldn’t expect weekend golfers to know them so it’s even on that account too.
      I also don’t believe a single digit player counts strokes if the ball more than oscillates if a twig is moved or the clob touches the ball at address.
      This data is about the big picture, not lawyerly righteousness.

      Gary

      9 years ago

      Tony: I agree with your assessment about parts of the ESC being a contradiction (shouldn’t Woodstock at least try to make the 2-footer and if he does he puts 6 down and if he misses it’s a 7…still less than the mandatory 8).

      Before I used the word “gimme” I made mention of another rules violation (touching the ball between tee and green (and yes, I know there are instances for id your own ball when you can touch it). Back in the late 1990’s I attended the PGA Expo in Las Vegas and the USGA had a booth there. I stopped at the booth and asked the USGA officials if there had ever been a study done about the number of rules the “average” golfer violates in 18 holes. All 6 people in the booth began laughing hysterically, but when they stopped laughing, the senior official said that yes, a study had been done sometime in the mid 1980’s and it was determined that the average golfer had 18 rule violations in 18 holes of golf!

      Having said all that, I did find your study very interesting. And as we all know, golfers over analyze just about everything concerning their golf game, their friends game and the equipment they use.

      Thank you Tony Covey

      Regis

      9 years ago

      Tony, I understand the nuances of the handicap system but my only point is that a player’s handicap is not necessarily a valid indicator of the type of equipment he/she should play. I mean you see all the time recommendations like If you’re above a 12 handicap you should carry 3 wedges and bench the 3 wood. There are just too many articles and opinions that base their premise on an assumption that a player of “X” handicap has no business……….

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      I think it is an excellent comment to make. When we look at data we always have to understand where the data is coming from.

      In this case the objective of this was not to give you an exact measurement of everything, but to have directional evidence to make hypothesis and to discuss them with you guys.

      Nice comment

      Reply

      drjacko

      9 years ago

      I figure that if I made bogey every hole and nor more than that, that’s a 90 for a par 72.

      Take it further and ask what is the big number maker.

      Is it the driver? Do I have a driver alternative?
      Is it the reason why I have a blowup hole because of dreaded OB or lost ball?
      Is it three putts? Is it time to work on green reading, taking due care with length?
      Is it approaches? Do I have that silly wasted shot?
      Is it management?
      My best rounds saw decent control of tee off and a hot approach game with clutch putts. Everything clicked. Any wayward shot was met with rhe thought ‘bogey or better’

      Reply

      revkev

      9 years ago

      Actually I’m really hoping that these matters get parsed out later in the study. What’s the average driving distance per handicap, penalty strokes off the tee per handicap, greens hit from 150 per handicap, those sorts of things will proove most interesting.

      Will we get them at some point?

      Reply

      ofosho

      9 years ago

      Great point! I am not sure that the Grint is going to have enough data for that though.

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      Revkev – great to know what you are interested in seeing. As we prepare the next issues we are considering you guys feedback.

      Definitely expect, Driving Accuracy stuff, Irons Accuracy (greens hit from 150, but also other yardages 100-600), and others.

      proside

      9 years ago

      Game Golf would have all that sort of information. Sounds like collaboration time.

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      Hi DrJacko –

      We have actually done this analysis you suggest with many golfers individually (with their permission) and what we have found is that it is different for every golfer. And each of the causes you point out can be a factor.

      However, what you mention is the definitely the most important part. Identifying what brings the big number into play, and fixing it is what takes a player to the next level.

      I always tell people, track your stats and you will start seeing things that you didn’t know about. Do you track your Stats? I am curious to know what is the area that brings the big numbers for you?

      Reply

      drjacko

      9 years ago

      At any one time, it was a case of pick one or any of the points I outlined.
      So armed with Pelz and determined to putt well, I put in the effort.
      The result was great. Par saves shot up. Bogeys happened when I wasted that ONE shot: duff or otherwise. (Saves happened with pitch/chip close and clutch part). But I could not legislate for OBs and lost balls. This would be a symptom of meltdown on a section of the course. The magical 80 barrier was elusive because of this. It does not help that my course has a giant par 4 to start and then a very guarded short par 4 which throws off flow- and that’s where I think management.
      My dream is to achieve a conducive state of mind real quick and just think about playing each shot well.

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

      FLOGGERPHIL

      9 years ago

      Management is indeed the answer.
      No blow-up holes … if because of a poor shot a par is impractical, settle for a bogie.
      No screw ups on the greens … for all lengthy putts focus on distance over break.
      There you have it: no doubles and no 3-jacks.

      Reply

      Quite The Chap

      9 years ago

      This is great stuff. I can now see how this type of data determines what type of products a company is going to launch and who they’re going to cater to.

      Reply

      DaveF

      9 years ago

      Interesting data, especially the relative scores for par 3, 4 and 5 holes as a function of golfer ability. The par 5 data really underscores the importance of keeping the ball in the fairway. It would be interesting to see the playing time also for par 3, 4 and 5 vs player ability. I bet the less accomplished players are taking 2-4 times as much time to play a part 5 than the better players. Anything to help them keep the ball in the fairway (including using equipment that is allowed by the USRGA.org rules) would help everyone have a better day.

      Reply

      Adam F.

      9 years ago

      Something else to consider regarding this data: we also have to keep in mind the number of ‘average’ golfers who maintain a handicap but only report their best rounds.

      While that may seem counterproductive and downright dishonest, I’d venture a guess that many people fall into that bucket. Many golfers track their handicap for the sole purpose of bragging rights, meaning they will only post scores that will bring their number down.

      However, the opposite is also true (especially at country clubs). Some golfers who play in handicap-based tournaments (i.e. sandbaggers) will only post scores that will raise their handicap. That trend will also skew the data.

      Unfortunately, with a game like golf that requires honest self-reporting, we may never know what truly makes an ‘average’ golf score.

      Reply

      revkev

      9 years ago

      I appreciate this concern but don’t you suppose there are an equal number of folks who post only their higher scores? I think it’s a wash.

      Reply

      Rick

      9 years ago

      Totally agree with your point. I think there are far more golfers who sandbag their handicaps than report honest scoring each round. I don’t think they are technologically gifted either.

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      Very interesting point. I don’t think we have a definite answer to this, but here are some thoughts to consider.

      In the case of TheGrint, our golfers are usually sharing the scores they post with all their friends within TheGrint. So the bragging comes very much into play.

      However, because TheGrint handicaps are complaint and issued by USGA registered clubs, our golfers also take it seriously. Because they use their handicaps to compete and bet (formally or informally).

      We have discussed this topic in focus groups we have done and quite frankly its 50/50.

      I would love to hear what people think here. Where do you land?

      proside

      9 years ago

      I list all of mine. Not because I’m honest but because I want to know what I’m doing. HC 14.4. and it oddly feels worse than that a lot of rounds. Best round this season 10 over, worst 22.
      I know of sand baggers and wanna be’s and neither are welcomed pairings to my knowledge.

      Fozcycle

      9 years ago

      I fall into the 16-20 Hcap bracket but lately, I struggle on the Par 3’s and usually get the Par 5’s…..just the opposite of what was stated in the review….

      “….less skilled players perform comparatively better on Par 3s, but struggle with Par 5s.”

      Reply

      drjacko

      9 years ago

      Are you trying to bust a gut for distance in your drive and/or second shot?

      Or is it the layout of par five holes in your course?

      Reply

      TheGrinter

      9 years ago

      It’s an excellent point to make. The data shows tendencies and what most golfers in that bracket generally do, however there are always exceptions, like yourself in this case.

      Additionally, the variability of the data becomes more important in the middle. So for 11-15, 16-20, 21-25 you don’t find that tendency so delineated.

      Hope that helps

      Reply

      Jonny B.

      9 years ago

      This is an interesting project you undertook, and made for some good reading this morning. I’m happy to see myself in the top 10% of golfers with my 7 handicap, thanks for the confidence boost!

      Although it should be pointed out, and I think you did attempt to point out, that the average golfer who actually tracks a handicap is not your “average” golfer. I’d venture to guess that there are a lot more golfers who don’t keep a handicap than those who do, and that those who do probably play to a lesser handicap than those that don’t.

      Reply

      Dave S

      9 years ago

      Yes, this data is not very useful in determining where you stand in the pantheon of golfers (%) b/c as you note, those who track their scores will tend to be the be the better players. Part of the reason I think the very best players aren’t as represented here is that most of them probably use plain ole scorecards which are signed at the end of rounds and not this specific app. They know they’re good, and are probably “above” this type of tech.

      However, the data that’s broken out by handicap IS useful, b/c it has effectively eliminated the bias noted above and can show you where you stand vs. players of similar or different skill levels.

      Reply

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