Are you a great putter because of the brand you use? Or do better putters simply tend to use certain manufacturers more often?
It’s a classic chicken/egg scenario that might take us back to the first time a teacher broached the concept of causal and correlative relationships.
Correlation can create a powerful association, even in the absence of a clear causal relationship. For example, smoking causes lung cancer. However, external weather and people’s clothing choice are strongly correlated.
DATA FROM THEGRINT
Quick refresher: TheGrint is an app-based handicap tracker with a multitude of on-course and community features. In addition, TheGrint’s platform interfaces directly with the USGA handicap system.
That aside, we took a closer look at TheGrint’s database to see what, if any, relationship existed between golfers, handicap ranges and putter brand of choice.
BEST OF THE BEST
This isn’t particularly surprising given the reputation of Scotty Cameron putters on professional tours and the mystique surrounding its “Circle T” line.
The “Other” category (11%) is higher than PING, Bettinardi, Cleveland, Nike, Evnroll and PXG.
For golfers with a handicap between 5 and 15, brand preference is similar, though not quite as skewed toward Scotty Cameron. Cameron’s usage dips to 28 percent while Odyssey’s increased five percentage points to 23. TaylorMade remained at 16 and PING increased slightly (+2%).
MEAT OF THE MARKET
For golfers with a handicap between 15 and 25, Odyssey (27%) supplants Scotty Cameron (16%) as the most-used brand. TaylorMade (16%), PING (13%), and “Other” (15%) are the only other brands with a greater than 10-percent usage rate.
SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE
For golfers with a handicap between 25 and 35, Odyssey (27%) remains at the top, followed by “Other” at 22 percent. Scotty Cameron ranks fifth just a shade under 10 percent.
For golfers with a handicap between 35 and 45, the most common brand preference isn’t any mainstream manufacturer. Therefore, it’s reasonable to opine that most golfers in this category opt for the “whatever putter they can find” methodology.
CORRELATION OR CAUSATION?
Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade, Odyssey and PING are the four most prominently used putter brands across all handicap ranges. Additionally, a regression analysis of average putts by brand shows that the brand of putter has minimal impact on the number of putts per round.
What we don’t know is whether these golfers were fitted for the putter they use, recently switched models or how the picture might change if we assessed performance using a strokes-gained methodology. As such, it’s a relatively basic picture that lends itself to further discussion. That said, the primary question remains – Is it the putter, or the putt-er?
As always, tell us what you think!
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