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the two most important stats in golf
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shizzyfinn
the two most important stats in golf
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Tuesday July 11, 2017 8:48 PM
Saw this in another forum and thought it might be enjoyed here. I looked at my numbers in Score Tracker, and they are a pretty close match with the predictions below...


By Lucius Riccio, Ph.D.
Golf Digest
May 2006

OF ALL THE STATISTICS IN THE GAME, ONLY TWO really matter when it comes to determining score: greens hit in regulation (example: you hit a par-4 green in two) and putts. Breaking 80 usually goes with reaching certain benchmarks in these areas...

Most golfers think putting is the biggest factor in scoring, but greens in regulation (GIRs) are much more important. So important, you almost don't need to look at anything else to predict your score. The most useful score-analysis tool I've developed, called "Riccio's Rule" and first published in Golf Digest in 1987, predicts score based on GIRs: score = 95 - 2 x GIRs.

The chart below, based on this rule, shows how GIRs relate to score:
GiRs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Score 93 91 89 87 85 83 81 79 77 75 73 71 69

...Compare your results to the chart. I bet you're right at, or very close to, where the chart says you should be. But if you score better than your GIRs would predict-say, you hit four greens but average 83-you probably have an extraordinary short game. You need to focus on hitting more greens. If you score worse than your GIRs would predict-say, you hit seven greens but average 85-then your putting is weak, or you tend to have blowup holes, which throw off any system for predicting score:

THE SECOND PIECE OF THE SCORING PUZZLE IS putting... The chart below, also derived from my number crunching, shows how putting relates to score in a typical round by golfers at various skill levels. statistically, putting is a weaker score predictor than GIRs, but it's useful to see how your stats measure up to average performance levels. Here's a sampling:
Putts 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28
Score 95 92 88 86 83 80 77 74 71 68


HOW TO HIT MORE GREENS
SHORTER MEANS EASIER: Gripping down on the handle (about an inch) is an easy way to improve your accuracy. Sure, it might shorten the distance you hit each club, but not enough to offset the fact that reducing the shaft length makes it easier to square the clubface at impact. That's one reason you hit a wedge straighter than a 6-iron.
REDUCE YOUR MARGIN FOR ERROR: There's no need to take an iron back any farther than you see me doing above. A shorter backswing means less time to get the club into a bad position before hitting the ball. It also gives you the feeling that you need to accelerate to hit the ball with any power. Acceleration is a good thing.
WHY CHANCE IT? If someone could guarantee you would hit 18 greens in regulation before your round started, wouldn't you take it no matter where the ball was? forget about pins and focus on the middle of the green as your target. If you push, pull, fade, whatever, you still have a good chance of landing on the putting surface.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR PUTTING
BEAT THE ODDS: We've found through testing in our schools that 80 percent of putts end up short and on the low side of the hole. To make more putts, play more break and hit the ball harder. That way, even if you roll it past, the ball has a chance of going in. Plus, you get to see how the ball will break on the putt coming back.
KNOW WHERE IT'S GOING: Marking a ball with a straight line and using that line as an alignment aid seems simple enough, but few amateurs do it. Choose a starting line that will feed the ball to the hole (don't forget what I said about short and low), and align the mark so all you have to do is hit the putt in the mark's direction.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? I've heard a lot of amateurs say, "I always miss short putts right," or "I always come up short." it's usually just talk, but those things would be good to know. I suggest charting your putts to see if a consistent miss jumps out. Correcting that one major flaw might turn your putting around.


By Lucius Riccio, Ph.D.
Lucius Riccio, Ph.D., an engineering professor at columbia University, has served on the USGA's handicap Research Team since 1979.
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 Message #84731
kviser
RE: the two most important stats in golf

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Thursday July 13, 2017 8:00 AM
QUOTED  Saw this in another forum and thought it might be enjoyed here. I looked at my numbers in Score Tracker, and they are a pretty close match with the predictions below...

Thanks for sharing. I am going to check this against my ScoreTracker.
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 Message #84779 - This was a reply to message #84731
cencalhack
RE: the two most important stats in golf

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Thursday July 13, 2017 10:01 AM
Often have this debate with the short game is everything people and we have agreed to disagree. There will always be anomalies but I for one have seen the truth to this after using a shot tracking device over the past year and a half-ish.
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SCGolf
RE: the two most important stats in golf

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Thursday July 13, 2017 3:18 PM
with all due respect to Dr. Riccio, hitting greens in reg and 2 putting = THE MOST boring round in golf. I'd rather watch water evaporate out of my pool!!!

Golfers shoot at pins we shouldn't play to. We try to take a little off the corner on a dog-leg. We might be a little more aggressive on a putt for eagle. It's risk vs. reward. And, it's FUN to pull it off. One of the most fun times I had on a course was with my son on a Par 3 course... shot even par 54. 6 birdies, 6 pars and 6 bogies. And, needed to make bogie on 18 with a 17' right breaking (away) putt. Sank it in the middle of the cup.

Know how to hold 'em and know how to fold 'em, fellas.

FIGHT ON!!!
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michaelko
RE: the two most important stats in golf
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Thursday July 13, 2017 3:49 PM
he's not wrong, but he's not right... simple answer is: depends on the golfer

if i can 2 putt every hole, but miss half my fairways, and hit 100% of my greens from the fairway, but 0% from the rough, then obviously, hitting the fairway is the most important thing.

and obviously skill level matters.. i think he is using breaking 80 as the benchmark.. breaking 90 or breaking 70 are probably 2 different problems and solutions.
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Rat-Patrol
RE: the two most important stats in golf
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Thursday July 13, 2017 4:21 PM
Most important stat for me is how did my round rate on the relaxation and fun scales, but that's just me.
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noeldaof
RE: the two most important stats in golf

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Thursday July 13, 2017 5:18 PM
Right. You take the risk for your anticipated reward and you gain a stroke if it doesn't happen the way you intended. That makes it exciting and fun- now you are gaming the course or an opponent.

But then, not everyone has the same skill level or strength for that matter, let alone the attitude and discipline. One may think about cutting a corner, but if length isn't in the bag, I'll just have to forget about it. Some of us with the lesser talent(s) and skill(s) may just be trying to keep it in the fairway and hitting the middle of the greens in regs. That in itself is already fun enough for some of us to be able to do.. and then go from there.. 2 or maybe 1 putt. ...or an "unlucky" three putts (yikes).

But, the problem with that perspective is the discipline to stay committed throughout the round. Boring, yes, but not for someone who is struggling to just shoot in the 80s or even high 70s. That's when we (at least me) try and attempt to cut corners of the fairway to get closer or maybe make a little stronger putt pace and minimize a braking putt to steal a stroke given the correct time and opportunity.

I guess I'm just saying that it all depends on the golfer's attitude/discipline, skill level, and strength. All those put together might compose what a player would typically do or shoot a certain number for that matter.

BTW, that was a cool save putt your son made. Knowing where you stand and deciding on what needed to be done makes it a game- a good game.
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Play from a position!
 Message #84798 - This was a reply to message #84794
lotrgolfer48
RE: the two most important stats in golf

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Thursday July 13, 2017 5:24 PM
Some fun with correlations:

Using my scores since the beginning of 2016

Score vs. Fairways hit %: r=0.0117
Score vs. Total putts: r=0.1874
Score vs. GIR: r=0.3577

I can't disagree with the professor with those numbers.
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dethman
RE: the two most important stats in golf
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Thursday July 13, 2017 8:48 PM
i thought that it was common knowledge that GIR more than any other stat correlates most closely with total score for amateurs.

unless you have a short game like the pros (you don't) this formula will hold true.
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SCGolf
RE: the two most important stats in golf

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Friday July 14, 2017 12:48 PM
not every golfer has been a low-handicapper but, EVERY golfer has been a high-handicapper. Maybe there's been a golfer that picked up a set and first time out shot 79. Doubt it. Tiger didn't. Phil didn't. Jack, Arnie etc. etc.

Naturally, when a player's able to hit fairways, there's a better opportunity to score. Not only when a ball finishes in the fairway but, also when a ball lands in the fairway. That first bounce is important. A ball bouncing through a rough loses energy. A ball bouncing in the fairway generally loses less energy (less friction). An equally struck ball going through the rough will be shorter than a ball bouncing down a fairway. Sneaky long drivers are using the fairways as runways. Corey Pavin is a good example. Most low handicappers understand this concept of playing a ball in the most playable position. How penal is landing a ball in the rough and finishing in the fairway? Generally between 2-4 clubs... 20-40 yards. 30 yards for 18 holes = 540 yards

In 2005 at Chicago Golf Club, our Walker Cup player ran into Gary Wolstenholme. Not very many golfers in the US know much about him. A driver of the ball of maybe 220 yards. BUT, he would knock down his FW to 6 feet on EVERY SINGLE occasion!!! For him, it's where his scoring opportunity zone existed. The late Paul "Little Poison" Runyan had 37 PGATour wins to his credit. Not a long hitter by any means. Didn't hit greens either but, his short game was so good, the PGATour changed the size of the hole for a few years. A friend of mine taking an on course lesson from Paul; Paul purposely missed 17 greens and made 13 birdies!!! Both of these guys are freaks... the point is they both played to their inherent strengths.

I used this analogy of passing a golf ball around the course like a basketball team would on the hard court. A pass below a players knees should not cause a turnover but, it wouldn't be a usable ball either. The receiver would need to "work" to do something positive. Naturally, a pass out of bounds would be penal (turnover). In golf, we're trying to position a ball in a playable position. I'm trying to put my wedges in play. If I hit it in the rough, it'll bring my mid-irons into play. The strongest club in my bag is the putter. He's clutch... the sooner I can put him the he game, the better off I am as a game manager. In any sport, if you're making errors, turning the ball over, overly penalized, your opportunity to succeed is drastically diminished.

A better statistical measurement is Scoring Opportunities. Do I possess scoring opportunities outta the box? Do I have scoring opportunities approaching? And, am I converting those opportunities?

FIGHT ON!!!
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