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# Does Your 1st Hole Score Affect Rest of Round? - Page 5

### Poll Results: Does your first hole score affect the rest of your round?

• 25% (18)
Yes
• 74% (52)
No
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree

This might help clarify what I mean by "affect"

2 hypothetical Golfers both average 5 strokes per hole (90 for 18).  Per 18 holes, both average two 3s (11.1%), four 4s (22.2%), six 5s (33.3%), four 6s (22.2%) and two 7s (11.1%).  Pretend these 18 scores are like a deck of cards (and ignore par/difficulty of hole differences)

Golfer 1's scores are INDEPENDENT of each other meaning he shuffles his deck after each hole.  If he makes a 3 on the 1st hole, he still has a 11.1% of making a 3 on #2.  You would expect him to average 88 after opening with a 3 and 92 after opening with a 7 as you would expect him to play the last 17 in 85 strokes regardless of what he makes on #1.  A score he makes on one hole has NO EFFECT (or predictive value) on the score on any other hole.

Golfer 2 does not reshuffle his deck after each hole.  His scores are DEPENDENT on what he has made on previous holes.  He will average 90 regardless of what he makes on the opening hole.  You can predict what he will make on #18 with 100% confidence based on what he scored on the first 17 holes.  If he makes a 3 on #1, he will take 87 on the remaining 17 holes, but will only take 83 on the last 17 when he starts with a 7.  The score he makes on #1 affects the rest of the round.

So how does "reversion to the mean" work with Golfer 1 who plays each hole INDEPENDENTLY?  If he opens with anything other than a 5, we expect his average score for the round to move towards his mean score of 5 BUT THIS DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE EXPECT IT TO GET THERE BY THE END OF THE 18TH HOLE.  i.e.  Suppose he opens with a 3.  We expect him to average 5 on the remaining 17 holes for an 18 average of 4.89 for the entire round.  If he ends up shooting 88 as expected, his average score started at 3 (after the 1st hole) but moved towards his expected mean during the rest of the round.

My point- If your average 18 hole score is the same regardless of whether you start with a birdie or a triple bogey, then you are showing characteristics of Golfer 2 where the score you make on hole #1 has an effect on what you score the last 17.  Phil's and several other posts seem to think Golfer 2's scores are independent, but drawing from a closed set that is not reset after each draw means future results are effected by past results.

(FWIW, I also believe some golfers may start drawing from a new deck with a different composition of scores but wanted to keep the above examples as simple as possible)

If someone averages 90 that doesn't mean they shoot 18 over every round. So the variables would be a lot more than you are saying here. Also an average in golf is in constant flux especially if you are using the handicap system. Any round can be below or above the average and the first hole only truly affects it as part of the overall score of that round. Other than mentally of course which is what I am sure most people thought you were going with this originally.

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It was the case for me yesterday. Made a regulation Par on the first. 14 pars for the day. Making par felt easy.

Last week i bogeyed the first. It felt like I was struggling to make bogey all day. Made 12 bogeys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatwoodtigerdo

If someone averages 90 that doesn't mean they shoot 18 over every round. So the variables would be a lot more than you are saying here. Also an average in golf is in constant flux especially if you are using the handicap system. Any round can be below or above the average and the first hole only truly affects it as part of the overall score of that round. Other than mentally of course which is what I am sure most people thought you were going with this originally.

I understand what you are saying and mostly agree but was trying to use a simplified example to help illustrate a point.  Just because someone doesn't think something affects them mentally, doesn't mean that it doesn't.

I can't resist jumping in on the independence/correlation issues between first hole, subsequent holes, and total round score.  There are two main possible dependencies here:  (1) dependence between first hole score and subsequent hole scores (or differentials), and (2) dependence between first hole score and total score.  There are also two possible sources of dependency (1): (A) first hole score being an indication of how you're performing physically with the swing that day, and (B) first hole score affecting your mental game so you play better or worse than you might expect given just (A).

Given what we know about golf, (2) is essentially guaranteed to be non-zero (i.e. total score and first hole score are dependent).  If your scores on different holes are totally independent (1), then as @whatwoodtigerdo said, if you average, say, par 72, then if you bogey a par 4 to start, you still expect to shoot 68 for the final 17 holes, and your total score will be 73 instead of 72, on average.  If your scores on different holes are dependent (1), this almost surely means that first hole score is positively correlated* with your scores on subsequent holes.  In other words, a birdie tells you you're swinging well that day and are more likely to swing well the rest of the round (A).  Or you've got a shaky mental game and you're more likely to turn the first hole into a streak of good or bad holes (B).  Regardless, there is going to be dependency of type (2).

I think the confusion is that most of us interpret the OP question as whether the score on the first hole affects our mental game only ((1) and (B)).  But of course you can talk around each other by talking about (1), (2), (A), and (B) but not explicitly specifying what exactly you're talking about.

*

Footnote (Click to show)
Note that it is of course possible numerically to have negative correlation between first hole score and average score for the other 17 holes of exactly the right amount that there'd be no correlation between first hole score and final score.  You could tell some story about how a first hole birdie always makes you overconfident and you blow a dumb stroke later that you wouldn't have, or that a first hole bogey makes you play smarter and you save a stroke later that you wouldn't have.  This isn't impossible but I think pretty much everyone is arguing between either holes are independent so no effect on subsequent holes (though obviously on total score), or good/bad first hole helps/hurts mental game and makes subsequent holes better/worse than they might be, so I'm only talking about those two more realistic options.

There you go, making sense.

Unless the score is an outlier no golfer is ever truly affected.-The more times they play golf especially on that course the fewer scores are outliers.

Net Birdie-Par-Bogey are not outliers for a golfer so there is no affect to future scores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil McGleno

tries to trap everyone later with bad maths.

I don't know why this part made me laugh so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slice of Life

I don't know why this part made me laugh so much.

If you're like me, the "s" at the end is what makes me chuckle a little extra.  (The other reason you laugh is because its accurate and just plain funny.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil McGleno

Unless the score is an outlier no golfer is ever truly affected.-The more times they play golf especially on that course the fewer scores are outliers.

Net Birdie-Par-Bogey are not outliers for a golfer so there is no affect to future scores.

Most had no problem understanding the question I was asking.  A number of people said they were effected, while many said they weren't.  I see no problem with that.    The only reason I brought math into it was when someone said something that was contradicted by the numbers they supplied.

My OP said "really good or really bad score."  If someone only makes birdie on #1 once in 20 rounds, then I would consider this a really good score regardless of how many times they have played the course.

What basis to you have for saying that "no golfer is ever truly affected?"  If there is no effect for at least some golfers, then why does the PGA Tour keep "bounce back" and "reverse bounce back" stats?

Quote:

If you're like me, the "s" at the end is what makes me chuckle a little extra.  (The other reason you laugh is because its accurate and just plain funny.)

I'll let you back Phil and I will back myself on any math (or maths) test you like.  There are things I struggle with, but math is not one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree

I'll let you back Phil and I will back myself on any math (or maths) test you like.  There are things I struggle with, but math is not one of them.

MATH OFF!!!!

If you have a math debate is that called matherbating?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slice of Life

MATH OFF!!!!

Not for me.  I've made par on the first before and gone on to shoot my worst score of the year.  I've made a snowman before on the first hole and gone on to shoot my usually low 90's.

Heck just a couple months ago, started my round double, triple, triple the first three holes.  Went on to play holes 4-17 at just 9 over par.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil McGleno

If you have a math debate is that called matherbating?

Sounds good to me

Not particularly, no. I've had terrible first holes that ended up in great rounds, and perfect first holes where the rest of the round went to crap.

I can't find a pattern on it.

I started the first hole yesterday with what I thought was a great drive over the fairway bunker which would leave me a short pitch to the green. Nope. Needed about 3 more inches. I buried it so far under the lip of the bunker I just had to hack it free. So it took me two to get out of the bunker just short of the green. I hit the pin with the chip, which if it goes in would have been par. Nope. Rolled about 4 feet away and I did a 360 on the putt. Double bogey. Haven't had one of those in weeks. So I'm two over after one hole.

The next hole is a par 5. I was going to rip a drive on this baby to make up one of the shots I dropped. Sound familiar? Nope. Hit a hook into the trees. Terrible lie. Tried to advance it a little but it stayed in the rough. We've had a lot of rain lately and when they mowed they missed a swath in the rough. I found it. It was about 8 inches of Bermuda. All I could do was wedge it out. Hit a nice shot on the green in 4 and 2 putted. So I'm 3 over after 2.

I parred the next 16 holes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vangator

I started the first hole yesterday with what I thought was a great drive over the fairway bunker which would leave me a short pitch to the green. Nope. Needed about 3 more inches. I buried it so far under the lip of the bunker I just had to hack it free. So it took me two to get out of the bunker just short of the green. I hit the pin with the chip, which if it goes in would have been par. Nope. Rolled about 4 feet away and I did a 360 on the putt. Double bogey. Haven't had one of those in weeks. So I'm two over after one hole.

The next hole is a par 5. I was going to rip a drive on this baby to make up one of the shots I dropped. Sound familiar? Nope. Hit a hook into the trees. Terrible lie. Tried to advance it a little but it stayed in the rough. We've had a lot of rain lately and when they mowed they missed a swath in the rough. I found it. It was about 8 inches of Bermuda. All I could do was wedge it out. Hit a nice shot on the green in 4 and 2 putted. So I'm 3 over after 2.

I parred the next 16 holes.

Sounds like one of my rounds. Except replace "I parred the next 16 holes" with "and the rest of the holes were similarly played"

I've shot 60s starting with a bogey. I've also shot 80 haha it depends on the way an individual reacts. Everybody is different.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vangator

I started the first hole yesterday with what I thought was a great drive over the fairway bunker which would leave me a short pitch to the green. Nope. Needed about 3 more inches. I buried it so far under the lip of the bunker I just had to hack it free. So it took me two to get out of the bunker just short of the green. I hit the pin with the chip, which if it goes in would have been par. Nope. Rolled about 4 feet away and I did a 360 on the putt. Double bogey. Haven't had one of those in weeks. So I'm two over after one hole.

The next hole is a par 5. I was going to rip a drive on this baby to make up one of the shots I dropped. Sound familiar? Nope. Hit a hook into the trees. Terrible lie. Tried to advance it a little but it stayed in the rough. We've had a lot of rain lately and when they mowed they missed a swath in the rough. I found it. It was about 8 inches of Bermuda. All I could do was wedge it out. Hit a nice shot on the green in 4 and 2 putted. So I'm 3 over after 2.

I parred the next 16 holes.

I am curious how you voted??  While you played very well the last 16, it does sound like your score on 1 had some effect on how you approached your drive on 2.

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