The great drive for dough putt for show debate thread.

D-S

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The data below.
And just to note that while the discussion has widened into the also interesting topics of accuracy versus distance (rather than putting versus distance), and, into which area a given golfer might find more fruitful for their efforts to improve, the original debate of the thread was whether putting or driving mattered most.
The distance versus handicap correlation is very strong and unarguable at this stage. It governs whether you are a 30 hc or plus 5. Putting, covering a similar handicap range: 25-scratch has a 4 shot difference. So the average 25HI, improving his putting to that of a scratch player, will become a 21. Scratch overall is still oceans away. On accuracy, while a peripheral rather than core discussion see also. Fairways hit is not correlating at all strongly to handicap, the data either noise, or taken at face value, could be argued tells us it is better to be inaccurate and miss more fairways! But from the distance data, we know what is happening is that any loss of accuracy is more than recouped by the distance factor. And with irons, accuracy is almost flat from 36HI down to single fingure. Nobody significantly in that range is shifting their handicap needle by accuracy. Below 10 they are....but only as distance increases (not at all below 125yds), and more so with increasing distance.

Rather than criticise this data (and much similar data telling the same story widely available by our friend google), can anyone actually post any data saying putting is more important than driving ?
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The stat that amazes me in this is the fact that 25 handicappers basically need to get up and down 3 times a round and never 3 putt to attain their putts per round average. I don’t think I’ve ever met one who could do this on a regular basis. Does this include generous gimmees in recreational golf?

Anecdotally,when I refereed a 4BB final, admittedly in rainy, windy conditions with one mid teen handicapper the rest were 20 plus and I don’t think any of them hit a single fairway, not an enjoyable morning.
 

Albo

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These 2 lines could be a misleading, Top Money(dough) lists are skewed by wins and 2 or 3 wins in the big tournaments will put you right up at the top. finishing 10ths instead of 25ths don't make a lot of difference.
Unless you've got the stats to say where he was in the putting stats in the big wins that put him at the top, you can't really read anything into this
He might win when he Drives well and Putts well, and doesn't win when he Drives well and Putts badly
It is literally the season long money list, he is 162 in putting and 1 off the tee. The whole thread is drive for show putt for dough.
Cantlay is 7th on the money list, the highest with zero wins and 47th on the putting list.
 
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It is literally the season long money list, he is 162 in putting and 1 off the tee. The whole thread is drive for show putt for dough.
Cantlay is 7th on the money list, the highest with zero wins and 47th on the putting list.
And on the other side of the coin we've got Maverick McNealy, the best putter on tour according to strokes gained, ranked 121 on the money list. He's ranked 188 in strokes gained off the tee and 174 in tee to green.
 

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It took me a bit of searching but the biggest win for Scheffler last year was the players, where his strikes gained putting was 0.03+ pretty much average for the field.
The best in the field c.Ramey at +2.82 came T27 and even Andrew Putnam missed the cut with a +2.26 putting.
Tom Hoge was T3 losing -0.36 shots to the field on the green

65 people in the field putted better than Scheffler that week and 78 putter the same or worse.
He most definitely did not shoot the lights out putting

Edit to add - His other win he was +1.04 in putting and 15th overall that week too.
Kevin Tway (+2.29) came T32 and was the best putter that week
I have excluded Scott Percy (+2.46) as he withdrew.
 
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Voyager EMH

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The stat that amazes me in this is the fact that 25 handicappers basically need to get up and down 3 times a round and never 3 putt to attain their putts per round average. I don’t think I’ve ever met one who could do this on a regular basis. Does this include generous gimmees in recreational golf?

Anecdotally,when I refereed a 4BB final, admittedly in rainy, windy conditions with one mid teen handicapper the rest were 20 plus and I don’t think any of them hit a single fairway, not an enjoyable morning.
Doesn't the 25 handicapper need to get up and down 5 times, because he is going to 3-putt at least twice? Or am I reading the table wrong?

My putting stats are way off from the typical 5-handicapper on that table, some higher some lower, but I've thought of a few reasons that could explain this,

I'm not average age.
I'm not average length of golfing experience.
I don't play on an average course.
I use a putter that is not average age.
I've played greens that I play most of my rounds on a number of times that is way above average, I would dare to assume.
 

D-S

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Doesn't the 25 handicapper need to get up and down 5 times, because he is going to 3-putt at least twice? Or am I reading the table wrong?
Yes you are right - I just chose to look just at the 33 putts per round figure and thought of it as 15x2 and 3x1 - either way it certainly bears absolutely no relation to any of my observations of performances of 25 handicappers.
 

Voyager EMH

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Rather than criticise this data (and much similar data telling the same story widely available by our friend google), can anyone actually post any data saying putting is more important than driving ?
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My last round at my course.

Number of shots with the driver - 12
Number of shots with the putter - 31

I could not reduce the number of shots with the driver to any benefit. But the putter...

Therefore I say,
Putting is more important than driving.
But that says nothing about which you need to concern yourself with the most to make lasting improvements, because that is hitting it longer and better.
 

Albo

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So with all the evidence shown, all the statistical information, you declare putting to be more important, based on what happened in your last round.
Glad that’s solved, well done, genuinely we could have saved ourselves 49 pages if you’d have come up with that definitive statement some 990 posts ago
 

Voyager EMH

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Yes you are right - I just chose to look just at the 33 putts per round figure and thought of it as 15x2 and 3x1 - either way it certainly bears absolutely no relation to any of my observations of performances of 25 handicappers.
I was marking the card of a 26-handicapper once upon a time. Our course starts par 4, 3, 4.
On the 4th tee I informed him that he had had more putts than shots.
3 putts for a 7, 4 putts for a 5, 3 putts for a 7.
He was speechless.
He had been playing golf for over 40 years.
 

Albo

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I was marking the card of a 26-handicapper once upon a time. Our course starts par 4, 3, 4.
On the 4th tee I informed him that he had had more putts than shots.
3 putts for a 7, 4 putts for a 5, 3 putts for a 7.
He was speechless.
He had been playing golf for over 40 years.
The weight of evidence grows
 

Voyager EMH

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So with all the evidence shown, all the statistical information, you declare putting to be more important, based on what happened in your last round.
Glad that’s solved, well done, genuinely we could have saved ourselves 49 pages if you’d have come up with that definitive statement some 990 posts ago
No.
I completely refute this.
There was a request for ANY data to SAY that putting is more important than driving.
It did not request that the data should be all-encompassing or all-convincing.
I made no attempt to say that my data would do either of these things.
It did allow me to say that putting was more important than driving for ME in that one round. There was no extrapolation expressed.
In each SINGLE round that I play, putting is more important than driving TO ME on that day.
Putting well is what TO ME turns a good round into a winning round.
 

Albo

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No.
I completely refute this.
There was a request for ANY data to SAY that putting is more important than driving.
It did not request that the data should be all-encompassing or all-convincing.
I made no attempt to say that my data would do either of these things.
It did allow me to say that putting was more important than driving for ME in that one round. There was no extrapolation expressed.
In each SINGLE round that I play, putting is more important than driving TO ME on that day.
Putting well is what TO ME turns a good round into a winning round.
And I cannot argue for one moment with that.
 

Voyager EMH

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If I were to add 12 yards to my average driving distance, I'm sure that my handicap would come down during the period of increasing distance.
If I were to make that improvement over the winter without handing in any scores, then my chances of a prize-winning score in my first few comps would be greatly increased.

The most likely thing to happen as I approach my 64th birthday is that my driving distance and accuracy remains fairly static, as will my handicap, hopefully.
My chances of a prize winning score will most likely be that day of the year that I have a good performance with the putter.
That is what has happened, when I've won stuff, over the years.
Apart from 1976-1977 when I got down from 18 to 5, due to enormous gains in distance. I was already fairly useful with a putter before then.
 

BiMGuy

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My last round at my course.

Number of shots with the driver - 12
Number of shots with the putter - 31

I could not reduce the number of shots with the driver to any benefit. But the putter...

Therefore I say,
Putting is more important than driving.
But that says nothing about which you need to concern yourself with the most to make lasting improvements, because that is hitting it longer and better.
How do you reduce the number of putts significantly to reduce your scores over the longer term?

In isolation, the number of putts hit tells us nothing about how well you putted on any given round.
 

Voyager EMH

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1. How do you reduce the number of putts significantly to reduce your scores over the longer term?

2. In isolation, the number of putts hit tells us nothing about how well you putted on any given round.
1. Did that when I was a nipper - long-term being 2 or 3 years. Did the same with driving distance - over a two year period when I grew a lot taller.
Haven't been able to grow any taller after my 16th birthday.

2. Yep, you would have to be there and see every putt to determine that. Fortunately, I witness all my own putts and can determine whether I've had a good putting day. When that happens it does seem to coincide with 31 putts or fewer.
Hardly ever seem to have 27 putts on a bad-putting day.
 
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Backache

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The data below.
And just to note that while the discussion has widened into the also interesting topics of accuracy versus distance (rather than putting versus distance), and, into which area a given golfer might find more fruitful for their efforts to improve, the original debate of the thread was whether putting or driving mattered most.
The distance versus handicap correlation is very strong and unarguable at this stage. It governs whether you are a 30 hc or plus 5. Putting, covering a similar handicap range: 25-scratch has a 4 shot difference. So the average 25HI, improving his putting to that of a scratch player, will become a 21. Scratch overall is still oceans away. On accuracy, while a peripheral rather than core discussion see also. Fairways hit is not correlating at all strongly to handicap, the data either noise, or taken at face value, could be argued tells us it is better to be inaccurate and miss more fairways! But from the distance data, we know what is happening is that any loss of accuracy is more than recouped by the distance factor. And with irons, accuracy is almost flat from 36HI down to single fingure. Nobody significantly in that range is shifting their handicap needle by accuracy. Below 10 they are....but only as distance increases (not at all below 125yds), and more so with increasing distance.

Rather than criticise this data (and much similar data telling the same story widely available by our friend google), can anyone actually post any data saying putting is more important than driving ?
View attachment 50596View attachment 50597View attachment 50598View attachment 50599

View attachment 50600
Your data shows that there is a correlation between length and handicap it certainly does not show that the scope for improvement is greater with improving length than with anything else including improved dispersion.
The data for fairways hit is to put it mildly an awful proxy for accuracy. Degrees off line is more standard . Fairways hit does not tell you where your misses go and it does not correct for length.

USGA stats suggest that the average male golfer with a handicap hits the ball approximately 220 yds with a handicap of 14 whereas a scratch golfer will hit the ball on average around 260 yds. The average golfer over 70 who is off scratch will also hit the ball 220 yds so clearly there is an awful lot of improvement in dispersion and accuracy available to the average golfer.

How much of the improvement is due to length and how much is due to to other factors?

The only evidence I have seen is Lou Stagners review on Arccos of golfers increasing and decreasing driving distance. He associated an increased driving distance of over 10 yds with an improvement in score of 1.8 stokes per round whereas a loss of over 10 yds was associated with a loss of 0.8 strokes per round. suggesting that all of the gain was not due to a gain in distance. even if it was and let us say the average gain in distance was 14 yds that means for every 10 yds you gain a little less than 1.3 strokes per round. So for the difference between the average golfer at around 14 handicap and the scratch golfer hitting it 30-40 yds longer the length accounts for a maximum of 5 strokes and around 9-10strokes are accounted for by other improvements.

Now we have to look at the practicalities of increasing length and improving accuracy and other factors. I would suggest that up till your early and mid twenties impoving length is relatively easy and is largely a result of maturity.

After that it is fairly difficult to make significant increases in length if you don't have it. It is to quite a significant degree related to genes age and general conditioning.
The first two you can do nothing about the latter you certainly can, but how much increased length is realistic for the average golfer? I don't know, I have seen no figures, I suspect much over 30-40 yds is pushing it a lot and that for many golfers would be difficult. Taking the figure of 1,3 strokes per 10 yds would mean that the most you can gain through increased length is 5 strokes, I know an awful lot of golfers including myself who have gained more than that with no increase in distance in fact with a decrease in distance. I would suggeest that whereas increasing distance is undoubtedly useful it is not necessarily the most important factor of improving score and other combined factors are more likely to reduce the average golfers score if they are prepared to work at them.
 

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I must have said a dozen times. This thread is about the benefits of distance over putting and the fact old stats don’t ring true anymore.
On this particular question and relating to the thread title, in the appendix of Broadies book he calculates the strokes gained for the winners of PGA tournaments compared with the field. For driving the winner gained 0.7 strokes per round and for putting 1.3 strokes per round on average.
 

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But in the example above if you hit a ball a certain distance at a certain on a certain directional path, then it will end up a certain distance from its intended original target,

I know, I’m just finding it interesting to think through. They’re all representations of position. (Sorry to come back to this and bear with me, I've got a fevery flu and this might get nuts.) As another example, to change a ball’s position a golfer affects its velocity. Velocity is vector of direction and speed, which is interchangeable as angle and distance. Velocities, vectors, polar coordinates, angles, distance are all different representations of the same thing: position in a geometric space. It's irrelevant what we call them they all have 2 components. A golf stroke is a vector of direction and distance.

The stats that are constantly being referenced are a one dimensional analysis of strokes. It's one dimensional because the vector of direction and distance has been stored in the value of 1 stroke on the number line of score. The only other measure of direction we have is accumulated binary values like "fairways missed", "greens hit". All that directional information has been collapsed to true or false based on a secondary grouping. We simply do not have a good observational measure of the directional component of a golf stroke, only its distance component because that is easily measurable. So because it's realistically impossible to measure direction maybe we should ask if there are other methods?

Another method. Golfers of all abilities are just an elliptical function we call dispersion. A shape representing varying gradients of probabilities of ball position. To a reasonable resolution golfers could be simulated by this function in brute force for every possible ball position compared against every other possible ball position. It might be less computationally expensive than predicting next week’s weather. And i would expect the result would tell us that both distance and direction are significant because (of course it is) it's a two dimensional geometry of probabilities of a ball's position.

If we analyse strokes as a one dimensional geometry, like the number line of our recorded scores, we will only ever see one dimension as significant.
If we could analyse strokes as a two dimensional geometry, we would be able to see how both direction and distance are signifcant.

Maybe more research is possbile. As it stands our observation and analysis is limited.

I maintain that because the position of a ball and a stroke has to be described by both direction and distance they are equally important.
 
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