Pros vs. Joes: What You Can Learn From Strokes Gained Analysis of Tour Players Compared To Recreational Golfers

We all know that tour players are light years better than recreational golfers at every part of the game. But for a long time, it was hard to quantify the differences in performance when it came to tee shots, approach shots, wedge play-act and putting. With the advent of strokes gained analysis and plenty of data collected by shot tracking companies at the amateur level, we are currently have plenty of reference points to make this comparison.

This article will share some data from Shot Scope reveal what parts of the game tour musicians truly separate themselves from weekend warriors. While it’s fun to see this comparison, I also crave you to learn more about what it takes to lower your ratings and what you can do to track your progress along the way effectively. Likewise, abide tuned for a special offer.

Why Strokes Gained Is More Informative Than Traditional Stats

Before we get into the” Pros vs. Joes” comparing, I soon want to summarize why traditional golf stats are less prescriptive in telling musicians where they need to improve their game versus strokes gained analysis. This can be a complex topic, and I plan to go into greater detail in a separate post, but here is a quick summary for those who are not too familiar with the concept.

Where Traditional Statistics Fall Short

Tracking your fairways reached, dark-greens in regulation, putts per round, and clambering percentage has appreciate. But these statistics do not paint the complete picture of your concert. Especially when you are looking at which parts of your play need the most work relative to golfers at the scoring degree you are looking to achieve.

Typically, I pick on fairways made as one of the most misleading statistics( putts per round is up there too ).

Let’s take two golfers who median 50% fairways each round. At face value, one could assume they have similar ability off the tee. While that is possible, it is not enough detail to truly know which golfer is performing better. Here is a theoretical context to illustrate how that is possible.

Golfer A averages 230 gardens per drive, whereas Golfer B medians 275 yards per drive. Additionally, when musician A misses fairways, they typically end up in 3-4 recovery situations( i.e ., in the trees) or incur penalty shots per round. Conversely, Golfer B seldom intention up in a penalty area off the tee and merely aims up in the trees 1-2 occasions per round.

Player B is a far superior driver of the golf projectile because they made it farther and avoid trouble off the tee more often than musician A. However, fairways hit can’t take into account all of these variables. It is not enough information. We now know that how far you hit the ball combined with where your ball ends up when it does miss the fairway has an incredible amount of affect on a golfer’s ability to score.

This is exactly why Jim Furyk can still be one of the leaders on the PGA Tour in fairway percentage off the tee, but employing apoplexies gained, we know he is not one of the best drivers because he can’t smash it as far as the competition( who are more accurate than we firstly assumed ).

I could go on into putts per round, but let’s leave it there. Overall, traditional stats are a starting point, but the truth is a bit more complicated.

Apoplexy Gained Takes Most Everything Into Account

When Mark Broadie first introduced Strokes Gained analysis, it was a revelation about how golfers separate themselves from each other in each part of golf( tee shots, approach shots, wedge play, putting ).

The equation itself and explanation of how strokes gained works can mystify people sometimes. But the good news is you don’t really need to be able to calculate it yourself. There are plenty of apps and services that do this for golfers now and give them a top-level view of where they are losing or gaining strokes in each part of the game relative to other golfers. Some lessons are Shot Metrics, Arccos, DECADE, and now Shot Scope.

shot scopeAfter customers prevented questioning, Shot Scope recently added apoplexies gained analysis to its performance tracking system

If you do want to take a deeper dive into strokes gained, I recommend reading this article from Shot Scope. Also, Every Shot Counts by Mark Broadie is a wonderful book that I proposed to all golfers to get a fundamental understanding of how golfers truly generate their scores.

This quick video from Scott Fawcett from DECADE passes a nice, quick explain as well 😛 TAGEND

Strokes Gained Explained

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All in all, strokes gained is the easiest way to track your true-blue concert in each part of golf relative to other golfers.

For example, let’s say you were a 10 disability looking to get down to a 5 handicap grade. Seeing where you are gaining or losing strokes to a 5 hcp in each part of the game will give you a quick explanation of where you need to improve.

You might find that you are gaining apoplexies off the tee because you reached it relatively farther and keep it in play more often than a typical 5 impairment. Conversely, you could lose strokes on approach shots because you are missing too many dark-greens, and “when youre doing”, “youre in” tough postures on the golf course.

At that phase, “if youre using” a game tracking system like Shot Scope or Arccos, you could take a deeper dive into your approaching statistics to find out where the problem lies. It could be you are missing greens because you don’t take enough club. Or perhaps being too aggressive with your target leadings you to short-side yourself on one side of the green.

Either way, using apoplexies gained is a much more efficient process at getting to the truth on where you need to improve. PGA Tour musicians have benefited for years because Shot Link lines every shot they hit with precision. Now that game tracking platforms have become more popular, this same advantage is available to recreational golfers. We have enough data on where golfers are hitting shots on the course to serve as reference points for apoplexies gained calculations.

How Do Normal Golfers Perform Versus Tour Players?

If you’re a Practical Golf reader, you know that I don’t think it’s a good idea for weekend warriors to use PGA Tour musicians as inspiration for their play. But I thought it would be an interesting, merriment practise to see where golfers of various handicap degrees lose the most strokes in their play relative to the pros.

In 2021, Shot Scope officially added strokes gained data to their stats portal. The freeing will have three phases throughout the first six months of this year. Phase 1 will include strokes gained data vs. tour musicians, which is accessible now. Phase 2 will take a deeper dive into each statistic. Most importantly, Phase 3( scheduled to be held in June) will permit golfers to benchmark themselves against different handicap levels.

strokes gained shot scopeAn example of how the Shot Scope dashboard will display apoplexies gained analysis.

I asked Shot Scope to run some numbers for me with all this new data and watch where golfers at various handicap degrees are losing strokes to tour players.

While it won’t come as a surprise that regular golfers can’t outperform tour musicians at just about anything, I was interested to see where the biggest differences occurred.

Two of the biggest disclosures from Every Shot Counts and Mark Broadie’s research were the following points 😛 TAGEND

Putting is not as influential in scoring differential as we firstly assumed. Broadie assigned 15% important to putting in determining any player’s score. It turns out putting is much harder than we all conceived, and it’s harder for golfers to separate themselves from one another with the flat protrude. The long game accounts for roughly 2/3 of scoring differential. In other words, shots outside of 100 yards( tee shots and approach shots) are the biggest determining factor in why one golfer scores better than another. Broadie concluded that approach shots are where most scoring arises.

The Data

So how did that hold out in the Shot Scope data? Have a seem below 😛 TAGEND

strokes gained shot scope

I’d say it held up pretty well! As you would expect, in aggregate, golfers of all disable degrees are losing strokes to tour musicians. Of course, singular golfers might gain strokes in one category with exceptional play-act, but on the whole, there’s a reason why pros establish the big bucks.

As you can see, the clearest tendency is that approach shots are where golfers lose the most strokes. The crack seems to widen as handicaps get higher as well.

Tee shots take second place. The gap isn’t as extreme as approach shots, but they are still very significant.

Putting does edge out the short play in just about every handicap level.

Overall, when you combine tee shots and approach shots and divide them by the total strokes lost, Broadie’s ratios hold up- even more than the 2/3 he talked about at certain handicap levels.

One thing to note is that Shot Scope does consider anything outside of 50 gardens as an approach shot. Some apps will use the cutoff at 100 gardens. Overall, I think this does skew these numbers a little more towards approach shots. But I don’t think it modifications members of the general takeaways I will embrace in the next section.

Some Bigger Takeaways

I wanted to show this data to reinforce some of the key concepts I discuss on Practical Golf. And to be honest with you, I got a lot of this wrong and even resisted this information when it first became available to me year ago. But as I discussed in my long driver experiment, I’m not opposed to changing my psyche when new information becomes available!

The Biggest Scoring Breakthroughs Come With Approach Shots and Tee Shots

If a golfer is looking to have a breakthrough in their game and shoot their lowest ratings- I generally said about two things 😛 TAGEND

Build your game around hitting more dark-greens into the rules of. I still believe this traditional statistic has the highest value. But what it truly means is that I want you to become a better iron player and smarter with your targets. Become more efficient with your motorist: keep it in play( it’s not fairway or bust ), and employ reasonable methods to increase your distance. You can listen to our latest episode of the Sweet Spot Podcast to learn more about this concept.

Yes, that musics unbelievably simple, and it’s not going to be easy. It will likely involve more rule hour and perhaps swing lessons, but the data is unequivocal on this. Tee shots and approach shots are going to make the biggest difference in your scoring.

Short Game Is Still Important, But Perhaps More of a Refinement

The last thing I want to do is make it seem like your wedge play and putting are not important. They’re still very important for scoring !!!

I see these as quick wins, but they have a ceiling.

Generally speaking, if golfers paid more attention to their wedge play and putting, they can experience a faster reduction in their ratings. However, that progress will eventually get “tapped out” formerly an appropriate proficiency tier is achieved.

So if you are someone who loses a lot of strokes around the greens with chunks, skulls, and three putts, that can be low-hanging fruit for a handicap reduction. If you were tracking your stats applying apoplexies gained, this would become very clear.

And, of course, there is the time element. If you simply have a limited amount of time to practice, I often view the short game as a better short-term investment.

We Are All Unique Snowflakes

One of my greatest ” handicaps” as your virtual coach-and-four is that I cannot account for each of your situations. You all have varying skill levels, hour commitments, and different objectives for your golf game. Some of you are looking to break 100, and others are looking to take that final step of becoming a scratch golfer. That’s the beauty of this game!

If you do want to become a better golfer and build the process more efficient, then I belief a theory like strokes gained and stat-tracking, in general, can be invaluable.

Despite what I discussed in this article at a generic tier, each of you likely has your own unique set of circumstances. Some of these trends might not hold up for you, but you wouldn’t know unless you tracked and had the right analysis done.

To that purpose, we are running a pre-season special on Shot Scope’s V3 concert tracking system where you can save $40( you can read my review here ). If wishes to are benefiting from the brand-new apoplexies gained feature, you will have to start entering your springtime rounds before the rollout is complete this June. I’ve paid attention to this market a lot over the years and still believe they offer the best value since you get a GPS watch, 16 sensors that attach to your tractions for on-course tracking, and access to their robust stat-tracking portal at no ongoing cost.

Additionally, some of the other products and apps I’ve mentioned in this article can also show strokes-gained analysis.

Here are some more articles I’ve written employing Shot Scope’s data that I think you’ll find interesting 😛 TAGEND

30 Million Shots Analyzed: Here Are 4 Corrects Holding Golfers Back

How Does Performance Change By Handicap Level ?

Driver vs. 3-Wood Off the Tee: What’s the Right Decision ?

Average Driving Distance By Age& Handicap Level

Why Iron Play Is So Important For Scoring Potential

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