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CraiginKSA

How accurate are touring pros?

18 posts in this topic

I was watching the golf on Friday.  Tiger was hitting his second shot into a par 5.  He had 257 to the flag, into the wind.  His ball landed on the green and rolled 1 YARD to the right of the pin!

The math on that shot says that he was less than 1/4 of a degree off-line - arctan (1/257)! (assuming he was aiming at the flag).  Obviously, he isn't that accurate on every shot as he missed the cut.  For that shot though, he was damn near perfect.

For a 300 yard drive, if they are just 2 degrees off line, that tranlates into a miss of 10 yards.  As some of the fairways are only 20-30 yards wide, that's not a great margin of error.

On that shot where he hit it in the bush and didn't apply the rule properly and was assessed the penalty, he was say 30 yards off-line on a 280 yard drive - still only 6 degrees! Even that shot that Rory hit behind the bleachers was say 30 yards off line on a 265 yard shot - (arctan (30/265) = 6.5 degrees).

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From PGA Tour statistics, from 225-250 yards, the best player last year, Davis Love, averaged 39 feet from the hole. Tiger Woods averaged 48 feet. So they rarely hit it to a couple feet.  But those are the ones you see on TV.

A good rule of thumb for a "tour quality" shot is 5%. So, from 200 yards, that would be 10 yards, or 30 feet.

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To be clear, very few fairways are only 20 or even 30 yards wide on the PGA Tour. The U.S. Open fairways are often thought to be the narrowest and they're still 23+.

I recommend this article: http://thesandtrap.com/b/the_numbers_game/angles_of_error .

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Johnny Miller had his caddie calculate half yardages, so Johnny could either have 150 or 150.5 He actually said this in a clinic I attended when I was a kid

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Originally Posted by mvmac

Johnny Miller had his caddie calculate half yardages, so Johnny could either have 150 or 150.5    He actually said this in a clinic I attended when I was a kid

Johnny Miller is kind of a tool, though. He spreads that little anecdote around whenever he talks about himself, which is often. He likes to think it needed to be done to match his peerless game, even though I don't remember him knocking too many within 18 inches at any time. I doubt his caddy really measured to the half yard considering laser rangefinders weren't really around yet.

As for fairways, it's worth noting that even though they average over 20y wide or whatever, the players are often aiming for a specific spot, often expecting a certain approach yardage. There are hazards in the way that make them effectively narrower or shallower, they need to get an angle at the green, and Pete Dye is a hardcore troll. Often though, the players aren't so concerned with hitting the fairway as they are with getting a clear shot with a short club at the green.

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I am pretty sure I heard the same thing about greg norman. Personally I take it as a bit of joke.

Here is a question. Imagine you hit the ball at the exact same spot on the club at the exact same speed, how close together on average do you think it will land? Little things hitting the ball a little different (edge of dimple versus right on), wind, grass friction on launch, roll on land and so on would make me believe that worrying about sub  yard accuracy on anything over about 50 yards is a waste of brain cells.

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

Johnny Miller is kind of a tool, though. He spreads that little anecdote around whenever he talks about himself, which is often. He likes to think it needed to be done to match his peerless game, even though I don't remember him knocking too many within 18 inches at any time. I doubt his caddy really measured to the half yard considering laser rangefinders weren't really around yet.

As for fairways, it's worth noting that even though they average over 20y wide or whatever, the players are often aiming for a specific spot, often expecting a certain approach yardage. There are hazards in the way that make them effectively narrower or shallower, they need to get an angle at the green, and Pete Dye is a hardcore troll. Often though, the players aren't so concerned with hitting the fairway as they are with getting a clear shot with a short club at the green.

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Originally Posted by CraiginKSA

I was watching the golf on Friday.  Tiger was hitting his second shot into a par 5.  He had 257 to the flag, into the wind.  His ball landed on the green and rolled 1 YARD to the right of the pin!

The math on that shot says that he was less than 1/4 of a degree off-line - arctan (1/257)! (assuming he was aiming at the flag).  Obviously, he isn't that accurate on every shot as he missed the cut.  For that shot though, he was damn near perfect.

For a 300 yard drive, if they are just 2 degrees off line, that tranlates into a miss of 10 yards.  As some of the fairways are only 20-30 yards wide, that's not a great margin of error.

On that shot where he hit it in the bush and didn't apply the rule properly and was assessed the penalty, he was say 30 yards off-line on a 280 yard drive - still only 6 degrees! Even that shot that Rory hit behind the bleachers was say 30 yards off line on a 265 yard shot - (arctan (30/265) = 6.5 degrees).

Does this take into account that pros do not hit straights shots?

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Does this take into account that pros do not hit straights shots?

How does that matter? He's asking about accuracy only. (Well, he said accuracy although I think what he really meant was precision) Oh and not good with multiquote on mobile but x129 I agree with you regarding the half yard nonsense of Norman and miller. Way too many uncontrollable variables for somebody to claim that level of precision.

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Originally Posted by CanuckAaron

Does this take into account that pros do not hit straights shots?

When you read Jack Nicklaus' stratgey for why he played that high fade his whole career, the bottom line was, if he hit a straight shot and missed by 10 yards, he would be 10 yards away from the pin.  If he aimed 5 yards left of the flag and the shot went straight it would be 5 yards left of the flag.  If he hit a 10 yard fade, then he would still be 5 yards away, but right of the flag.  If he hit that perfect fade, then he would be right on the stick.

So, yes, the pros don't hit it perfectly straight, but they are still very accurate.

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Originally Posted by iacas

To be clear, very few fairways are only 20 or even 30 yards wide on the PGA Tour. The U.S. Open fairways are often thought to be the narrowest and they're still 23+.

I recommend this article: http://thesandtrap.com/b/the_numbers_game/angles_of_error .

Erik, thanks for this great article!  I'm sending it to all my engineering buddies. Now I have scientific, trigonometric proof why I yip 3 footers all the time.  It's not me, it's the very nature of golf that's working against me!

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Originally Posted by mvmac

Johnny Miller had his caddie calculate half yardages, so Johnny could either have 150 or 150.5    He actually said this in a clinic I attended when I was a kid

There was a great quote/joke by Bernhard Langer about the yardages on sprinkler heads.  He asked, "is that to the front of the sprinkler or the back?"

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

How does that matter? He's asking about accuracy only. (Well, he said accuracy although I think what he really meant was precision)

Oh and not good with multiquote on mobile but x129 I agree with you regarding the half yard nonsense of Norman and miller. Way too many uncontrollable variables for somebody to claim that level of precision.

I thought it would matter because the curve will compensate somewhat for a shot that starts off line. If a shot is curved into a target it will actually increase the available target area because of the angle of approach to the given target. For example on a dogleg left if a right handed player hits a draw they are effectively providing themselves with a much larger target and margin of error than a golfer who plays a straight shot.

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I thought it would matter because the curve will compensate somewhat for a shot that starts off line. If a shot is curved into a target it will actually increase the available target area because of the angle of approach to the given target. For example on a dogleg left if a right handed player hits a draw they are effectively providing themselves with a much larger target and margin of error than a golfer who plays a straight shot.

You're right that they are providing themselves a larger margin for error but not a larger target. As far as the precision question goes, they are still aiming at the flag (well not always but they're aiming at some tiny spot). So just because they play smart and provide themselves the best leave if they miss, it doesn't really affect how much they miss by. OP should check out the touring pros track man thread for some numbers. Granted these are practice numbers but it gives some sort of idea. Especially Luke Donald's... He hits a handful if shots to a bunch of different distances and you can see just how good he is at hitting those. Ill link if when I get to an actual computer. :) EDIT: Here's the link: http://thesandtrap.com/t/54229/trackman-figures-from-some-tour-players/0_30#post_660229 Check out Luke's PDF in post #1. (Well, all of them really, but that one in particular is pretty cool)

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Fairways hit % and Greens in reg stats are all you need to know. that's what stats are for.............

They're obviously pretty good.......but very human too.  They miss their share of shots too, just like us hackers.  LOL

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it depends on the club for me. For Someone like Phil who hits a 100 yard wedge shot, he's probably trying to hit an exact spot on the green, with the spin he wants to get the exact position he wants. A long iron, i think there aim might be something like one side of the green or another. They might aim at an exact spot, but there probably accepting a higher level of variance.

Best pro's average 30-33' to the pin from the fairway, so just saying. But there wedge game the best pro's are down to about 12'-13'

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I have played golf with several tour pros and to the average Joe out playing golf, touring pros are damn accurate.  Unless you are a very low handicap golfer already, play with someone who is a 2 or 3 handicap and remember that they are not good enough to make it on Tour.  Watch and see how much better they are than you are.  See how much more accurate they are.  Then think...this person is a 2 or 3 handicap and is not good enough for Tour. Then think...just how good and how accurate is a guy who is a +3 or so handicap.  Trust me...they really are that good and that accurate.  Yes, they will  hit errant shots but they are doing so under an extreme amount of pressure.  They are playing for their livelyhood, not just drinks afterwards or a few bucks in skins.

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