Explaining Strokes Gained

Strokes Gained sits on the shelf of golf terms labeled often-used, rarely characterized. You hear the views on TV broadcasts, in golf media and increasingly in manufacturers’ marketing literature.

But what does it mean? It’s a question we get somewhat often at MyGolfSpy so let’s flesh it out a bit. Considering the two words absent-minded any context, “strokes” and “gained” seem innocuous enough.

It’s not like we’re talking about axiomatic structures or oblate spheroids. But ask your regular foursome to define “Strokes Gained” and I’ll wager a steak dinner you’re more likely to get blank looks rather than a remedy answer.


Strokes Gained is the brainchild of Columbia business professor Mark Broadie. It’s the definitive concert statistic in the field, a welcome replacement for silo statistics such as putts-per-round and percentage of fairways hit.

Chiefly, Strokes Gained is a statistic that communicates the performance of a golf shot relative to a benchmark. Put another way, Strokes Gained doesn’t tell you how good( or bad) a shot is. It quantifies how good( or bad) each shot is based on a defined context.

If this sounds familiar, we’ve touched on the subject before.

For example, a tee shot that travels 250 gardens down the fairway on a 450 -yard par-4 doesn’t have the same value for every golfer. If you’re a PGA TOUR pro, this shot might have a negative Strokes Gained value because, on average, PGA TOUR players hit the ball further. This leaves a shorter approach shot which, on equilibrium, produces a lower median score.


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However, for the average 18 -handicap player, such a tee shot would develop a positive Strokes Gained measurement because the average driving distance for higher-handicap players is a fair bit less than 250 yards.

Here’s another one. Let’s say you’re comparing your lay to the PGA TOUR average, where 7’10” represents the distance at which a golfer has a 50/50 chance of making a putt. Let’s also assume that it takes an average of 1.5 apoplexies for a PGA TOUR pro to hole out from this interval. Therefore, if you have the same distance putt and make it, you gain 0.5 strokes. The formula is simple. It’s the average number of strokes–the actual number of strokes. In this case, that’s 1.5 -1= 0.5. If you don’t construct the first putt but make the second largest one, the Strokes Gained on that shot would be -0. 5( 1.5 -2 ).

Also, because Strokes Gained develops a value for every shot, golfers can look at the aggregate values for various parts of the game, such as: Driving, approaching, tee-to-green, putting, etc.


Strokes Gained is a rather simple concept formerly you get the idea that a golf shot can’t be defined as “good” or “bad” without some sort of context. It’s like asking whether $ 400 done a lot of money. For a dozen golf projectiles? Perfectly. For a round of golf at Augusta National? Probably not.

The PGA TOUR produces Strokes Gained values for every shot for every player in every tournament. As expected, different contexts for all this information is other PGA TOUR musicians. Bryson DeChambeau produces the Tour in both median driving distance( 323.5 gardens) and Strokes Gained driving( 1.142 apoplexies/ round ). However, Rory McIllory, who is second in driving interval( 318.7 gardens) is eighth in Strokes Gained driving( 0.636 strokes/ round ).

But for the rest of us, concert handling platforms such as Shot Scope and Arccos now give Strokes Gained analysis for their customers. Earlier this year, Shot Scope announced it would add Strokes Gained data to its platform in three stages,a process that now is complete. From a competitive standpoint, it’s an important achievement for Shot Scope, given that Arccos launched its Caddie Strokes Gained Analytics in August 2020.

The primary welfare of individual performance tracking systems is the ability to benchmark against progress purposes. For instance, let’s say you’re a 15 -handicap golfer and you want to know what it would take to get down to a single-digit handicap. Strokes Gained will tell you how each segment of your play measurings up. That path, you can see how close( or far) “youre ever” relative to that goal.

If you want to dig deeper, Shot Scope renders Strokes Gained analysis based on a variety of criteria such as interval and pit moniker( par-3, par-4, par-5 ). For instance, the data might indicate you fight more with tee shots on par-4s that are more than 425 gardens. Or that you gain apoplexies on par-3s in comparison with other golfers of the same handicap.

Whatever the occurrence, the point is that if you’re looking to improve, it’s vital to start with the correct information. Strokes Gained assistances achieve that.

Because every golfer has different strengths and weaknesses, objective data can help you understand where the greatest the possibilities for improvement exists.


Part of the exhilaration( for some of us, anyway) in various regions of the Strokes Gained framework is all the potential quantitative rabbit holes. It’s a free-flowing, brainstorming session that produces contemplations such as …

Given enough data, could we assess shot performance based on the time of year? Grass type? Course circumstances? Time of play? Tournament venue? Rough versus fairway? And so on.

And given a large enough sample size, who are familiar with? Maybe Strokes Gained will help you select your next Member-Guest partner.

If you’re into this type of stuff, check out Shot Scope’s FREE Strokes Gained E-book .

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