The great drive for dough putt for show debate thread.

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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.
This is the best and most informative post in the entire thread 👍
 

Backsticks

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This is the best and most informative post in the entire thread 👍
It might be, but it sinks in its first sentence which is countering a supposed contention about the best avenue for improvement being length. That is not the nub of this thread, which is that length matters more than putting in golfing level and success. That post counters a follow -on point that if length is paramount, then the best way to improve is to drive it further. This does not necessarily follow.

And as an aside, on the 220yd elderly scratch players, mentioned now three times I think, the conclusion drawn is 8 correct. The over 70s playing off scratch is a very limited subset of those who play off, or have ever played off scratch. Only a small number of ever scratch players, will hold onto their scratch level as they get to that age. A minority highly skilled subset. Most drift out as they age...and get shorter. Nobody is contending that there are no cases if scratch player who only drive it 220. It can ve done. But is clearly much more easily done if you drive it 250-300. Hence average scratch player drives in 270.
 

Albo

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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.
I think… though not sure as you’re not the only one suffering flu at the moment, that strokes gained actually tries to cover what you’re suggesting.
Strokes gained looks at the outcome of each individual shot and gives it a value based on things that include both direction and distance, but also include things like rough, trees, hazard, OB as well. These values are derived by how people at a certain handicap level perform, to make it easier to understand I’ll reference PGA tour stats but this is applicable to all handicap players.
If the average handicap layer was n hole 1 hits his drive 290 and it’s landing in the first cut on the right, it has an open shot to the green it is given a value of 0. If a player then hits say 300 into the same right rough with the same line open to the green, that shot will be given a value of +0.1, effectively that player has gained 0.1 of a shot on the field from the outcome of that shot.
Not if player 3 hits the same 290 but pulls it into the left first cut which happens to be behind a tree, his shot will be given a value of say -0.6 so he loses 0.6 shots on average on the field. Someone pumps it OB they lose -2 or someone hits 290 but further right the may lose -0.3 as they are in a worse spot. Someone who hits 284 in the fairway may also have a value of 0, at the advantage of being in the fairway is offset against the 6 yard loss of distance and being in the first cut, for example.
 

Albo

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It might be, but it sinks in its first sentence which is countering a supposed contention about the best avenue for improvement being length. That is not the nub of this thread, which is that length matters more than putting in golfing level and success. That post counters a follow -on point that if length is paramount, then the best way to improve is to drive it further. This does not necessarily follow.

And as an aside, on the 220yd elderly scratch players, mentioned now three times I think, the conclusion drawn is 8 correct. The over 70s playing off scratch is a very limited subset of those who play off, or have ever played off scratch. Only a small number of ever scratch players, will hold onto their scratch level as they get to that age. A minority highly skilled subset. Most drift out as they age...and get shorter. Nobody is contending that there are no cases if scratch player who only drive it 220. It can ve done. But is clearly much more easily done if you drive it 250-300. Hence average scratch player drives in 270.
Exactly this, outliers are there in every set of data, that does not make the a barometer against a much larger set of data points.
If over 70s scratch players make up 1% of all scratch players then holding that small percentage up as proof of your point isn’t really stacking up.
Is it possible, yes of course it is, is it likely, well 99% of your data points say no.
And I have no idea what percentage of scratch players are 70 or only drive the ball 220, I used 1% to illustrate my point, if the statistics shows that number to be significantly higher then my point will not stand
 

Voyager EMH

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The 2022 Open - and what the players' views are

2022 Open Rory.jpg

And Cam Smith's thoughts on his 5 birdies in a row on the final nine holes and his par-saving putt on the 17th.

2022 Open Cam Smith.jpg

2022 Year Cam Smith.jpg

Of course, putting well like this can never be a fixed thing throughout a whole year like the ability to maintain a particular driving distance.
Putting performance varies round by round. It seems to come and go a bit.
Driving distance can be anticipated by a player as he approaches the first tee, but putting performance can not be anticipated in quite the same way.

I think Steve Wilkes summed this up best yesterday,

"He might win when he Drives well and Putts well, and doesn't win when he Drives well and Putts badly"

And the "he" in that sentence could be any of us. It seems to have applied to me for a very long time.
 

Albo

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The 2022 Open - and what the players' views are

View attachment 50612

And Cam Smith's thoughts on his 5 birdies in a row on the final nine holes and his par-saving putt on the 17th.

View attachment 50613

View attachment 50614

Of course, putting well like this can never be a fixed thing throughout a whole year like the ability to maintain a particular driving distance.
Putting performance varies round by round. It seems to come and go a bit.
Driving distance can be anticipated by a player as he approaches the first tee, but putting performance can not be anticipated in quite the same way.

I think Steve Wilkes summed this up best yesterday,

"He might win when he Drives well and Putts well, and doesn't win when he Drives well and Putts badly"

And the "he" in that sentence could be any of us. It seems to have applied to me for a very long time.
Yet I posted up his stats for both his wins and neither of them did he putt massively well.
Choosing a quote to prove your point is…well…pointless really
 

Voyager EMH

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Yet I posted up his stats for both his wins and neither of them did he putt massively well.
Choosing a quote to prove your point is…well…pointless really
The two quotes from Mr McIlroy and Mr Smith describe how they felt their game went on the final day of the open in 2022.
The point the quotes prove is: that is the way they view their attempts to win on the final day.

I don't believe they were trying to prove anything about the way I view the importance of putting to win on a day or a round. Neither has ever met me to discuss this.
Whether their comments go any way towards proving any point that I am making here is something I'm not certain of either. I'm not certain what point you think that is.

When I'm putting for a birdie on the 17th hole on a day that looks like a good or winning score is possible, I'm going to be thinking that if I hole this putt it improves my chances of winning the comp massively. I'm not going to be thinking that the putt matters far less than the drive on the next hole.
The shots that got me onto the green in regulation will have been played with thoughts of accuracy rather than thoughts of maximising length.
I could 4-putt or I could hit the next drive out of bounds, but I'm just not going to be thinking about that. I'm going to be thinking about turning a good score into a winning score.

I won my club championship in 2019 by putting really well over the final 9 holes. Only 12 putts.
I'm not in the top ten in the club in exact handicap order, my driving distance is way down on my fellow competitors who are all younger, but this year I came runner-up.
I even had a 3-off-the-tee in the morning round. It was another really good putting day, though.
I was way behind the +1 chap who won. So the three-off-the-tee made no difference to my finishing position. But it was the good putting that secured 2nd place.
I just can't help the way I feel and think about putting to win on the day - its just what I do when I'm on the course lining up those putts - they seem really important to me.
 

Albo

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The two quotes from Mr McIlroy and Mr Smith describe how they felt their game went on the final day of the open in 2022.
The point the quotes prove is: that is the way they view their attempts to win on the final day.

I don't believe they were trying to prove anything about the way I view the importance of putting to win on a day or a round. Neither has ever met me to discuss this.
Whether their comments go any way towards proving any point that I am making here is something I'm not certain of either. I'm not certain what point you think that is.

When I'm putting for a birdie on the 17th hole on a day that looks like a good or winning score is possible, I'm going to be thinking that if I hole this putt it improves my chances of winning the comp massively. I'm not going to be thinking that the putt matters far less than the drive on the next hole.
The shots that got me onto the green in regulation will have been played with thoughts of accuracy rather than thoughts of maximising length.
I could 4-putt or I could hit the next drive out of bounds, but I'm just not going to be thinking about that. I'm going to be thinking about turning a good score into a winning score.

I won my club championship in 2019 by putting really well over the final 9 holes. Only 12 putts.
I'm not in the top ten in the club in exact handicap order, my driving distance is way down on my fellow competitors who are all younger, but this year I came runner-up.
I even had a 3-off-the-tee in the morning round. It was another really good putting day, though.
I was way behind the +1 chap who won. So the three-off-the-tee made no difference to my finishing position. But it was the good putting that secured 2nd place.
I just can't help the way I feel and think about putting to win on the day - its just what I do when I'm on the course lining up those putts - they seem really important to me.
You have already said this in post 995. There is no need to repeat that
 

HomerJSimpson

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Won the Sunday roll up yesterday averaging 191.4 yards and losing 2.2 shots on my driving. Short game as 3.1 ahead of my handicap and putting was 2.2. Coincidence? I am short off the tee anyway and so suffer even more in Winter. With a bad back I have to be careful with practice and so speed training not really something I fancy taking on. I have worked so hard on my putting and short game, especially when the back prohibited me playing on the course and reaping some reward now. I am also managing each hole much better and so accept in winter anything over 390+ is out of range unless down wind but usually get shots so put it into the 70-100 yard range and trust my wedges and putter.

If I am in trouble off the tee, I hit it back via the shortest route and if I am still out of range accept I need a chip and putt for a net par but even a point can help and better that than playing yourself out of the hole and not scoring at all. I had 42 points yesterday (off 14) and didn't score on the 4th having hit it against a tree and having to come out sideways. I then proceeded to hit it fat and right into a bunker and despite playing a good bunker shot off frozen sand to 8 feet missed the putt.

I know where my strengths and weaknesses are thanks to Arcoss and so know what I need to work on. Driving has always been an issue and with long term back injuries is not something that will improve and will only get worse over time but I know if I can get good with my 8 iron down to the wedges I can still be competitive as the £85 in my back pocket testified
 

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Shows the value of practicing all areas of the game, and you have pushed it very well to maximise your limited driving distance. And also that its hard to make much progress against the master governor that is distance.

And, anyone who has an honest handicap is competitive! That is golf level independent !
 

Orikoru

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25 handicaps aren't hitting 50% of fairways. Calling BS on that stat.
It's surprising but I don't doubt it actually - maybe 40-45% I'd find believable. I regularly play with a 26 handicap mate, and his driving is a bit hit and miss, but he can still hit a fairway with a bad one - his most frequent dodgy drive is a sort of 160-170 yard topspinny hooky low one, but as he's normally aimed up the right this can still catch the left side of the fairway. Likewise if he tops one 120 it can still be on the fairway.

I know crazy to think how unimportant hitting fairways are
Yeah. This sums it up really. Hitting the fairway doesn't mean you've hit a great shot in position A.
 
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It's surprising but I don't doubt it actually - maybe 40-45% I'd find believable. I regularly play with a 26 handicap mate, and his driving is a bit hit and miss, but he can still hit a fairway with a bad one - his most frequent dodgy drive is a sort of 160-170 yard topspinny hooky low one, but as he's normally aimed up the right this can still catch the left side of the fairway. Likewise if he tops one 120 it can still be on the fairway.


Yeah. This sums it up really. Hitting the fairway doesn't mean you've hit a great shot in position A.
If your bad drives go 120 to 160 then you're never likely to be too far from the fairway.
 

Imurg

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This, for me, is an issue I've always had with the fairways hit stat.....on it's own it doesn't mean much.
If the fairway starts 100 yards from the tee I can get a wedge out and hit it ✅
The fact that the green is now 300 yards away....so you've ticked a FiR.....Good luck making par.
On the reverse I could be 250 yards from the tee and 1 inch off the fairway in a perfect lie.....
I know which I'd rather have...
In a way it's similar with GiR....
Hit the green but you're 70 feet away = 3 putt most of the time
Miss the green( on the fringe) 10 feet away......
Stats without context don't always mean much....
 

RichA

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This, for me, is an issue I've always had with the fairways hit stat.....on it's own it doesn't mean much.
If the fairway starts 100 yards from the tee I can get a wedge out and hit it ✅
The fact that the green is now 300 yards away....so you've ticked a FiR.....Good luck making par.
On the reverse I could be 250 yards from the tee and 1 inch off the fairway in a perfect lie.....
I know which I'd rather have...
In a way it's similar with GiR....
Hit the green but you're 70 feet away = 3 putt most of the time
Miss the green( on the fringe) 10 feet away......
Stats without context don't always mean much....
Yep. 250 yards from the tee and 10 yards from the fairway is also a miss.
At our place that most likely leaves you in 6 inch deep cabbage or behind a tree without a hope of putting your second shot near the green.
At another nearby course to us the rough is barely longer than the fairway, so you're probably in good shape.
The other x million Arccos and Shotscope users edited stats are less important than knowing what works for the individual golfer on the course they're playing.
 

Backsticks

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This, for me, is an issue I've always had with the fairways hit stat.....on it's own it doesn't mean much.
If the fairway starts 100 yards from the tee I can get a wedge out and hit it ✅
The fact that the green is now 300 yards away....so you've ticked a FiR.....Good luck making par.
On the reverse I could be 250 yards from the tee and 1 inch off the fairway in a perfect lie.....
I know which I'd rather have...
In a way it's similar with GiR....
Hit the green but you're 70 feet away = 3 putt most of the time
Miss the green( on the fringe) 10 feet away......
Stats without context don't always mean much....
Thats why we have to look at strokes gained.
The takeaway from the fairways hit stat is that pretty much, it doesnt change with golf level. But thats just an observation rather than anything to read too much into other than shorter doesnt meaningfully mean more accurate.
 
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