# An Individual Score Is a Random Result

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@humblepeasant Random implies that you chance of getting a 3, 6 or 9 on any given hole are equal.  It isn't, even allowing for us to take a distribution around your handicap (so 3,4 or 5 for example).  There no doubt are random events out on the course, like a stone that causes a kick in weird directions and has moved from one day to the next.  However, a lot of things on the course don't change location or the way they react.  It is just luck of the draw when you hit a tree for example.  It might stop, kick left or right, or even come backwards, but it isn't random.  The tree is always there and only depends where you hit it

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17 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Oh hell... I'm not even random from warm-up on the range to playing on the course.  I guess there is nothing random about crushing it on the range and then playing poorly on the course.  And vice-versa.  It's a fact of life for my game.  Therefore I always try to have a crappy range session...

You shouldn't waste your good shots on the range. The gods only give you a handful a day, use them wisely.

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15 hours ago, criley4way said:

I think this is a math problem. Given enough rounds each round will fall in a normal distribution. This is what the new sandbagging software is based on. A 4 hcp will shoot between +5 and -5 of their course handicap 97% of the time. A 12 to shoot 72  once every  32 years or something.

At least I got your humor!😀

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3 hours ago, pganapathy said:

@humblepeasant Random implies that you chance of getting a 3, 6 or 9 on any given hole are equal.  It isn't...

We can know someone's long term statistics. If on a particular hole, someone scores a 4 50% of the time, 5 30%, 3 10%, and 6 10%, we don't have to be blind to that and we can of course calculate someone's "chances" of scoring this or that on a given hole. I don't think we're in disagreement here.

Even given all that, I think the individual result, within those given parameters, is random. For example, a coin toss: 50/50 chance heads/tails. However, if you flip it enough, you'll no doubt flip heads 10x in a row. *When* that happens to occur is what is random. It's only in the long term can we be confident that we'll get a 50/50 result of heads/tails (or in the case of some trick coin, maybe the odds are 60/40 heads/tails, etc.).

Someone might argue that golf is different, because we have more control over what happens than a coin toss. I would argue that, within the proper parameters (an adjustment for skill level), we don't! If we did, with an adjustment for course conditions, wouldn't we pretty much score the same thing every time? But we don't have that kind of control, we have good days and bad days, no matter what we do. We practice and improve in order to improve the parameters, lower our handicap, etc.

And having parameters doesn't mean it's not random. Without some parameters, statistical analysis can't be done. Maybe that's the source of some of the disagreement/miscommunication...I'm not contending that your result is completely random with no parameters...that there are lottery balls bouncing around and there are an equal number of "1" balls, "2" balls, "3" balls, etc., and that your score is no different than picking a ball like that. I'm getting the impression now that that might be what some people thought my contention was, and of course that's obviously not true!

I'll also add: due to our hindsight bias, past scores will always look less random than they were.

7 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I think you’re making an unnecessary complexity out of....’shit happens.’

No doubt!!! 😄

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1 hour ago, humblepeasant said:

If on a particular hole, someone scores a 4 50% of the time, 5 30%, 3 10%, and 6 10%, we don't have to be blind to that and we can of course calculate someone's "chances" of scoring this or that on a given hole. I don't think we're in disagreement here.

You're clinging really hard to this idea, and I've yet to see anyone else really accept what you're saying.

1 hour ago, humblepeasant said:

Even given all that, I think the individual result, within those given parameters, is random.

It is not.

1 hour ago, humblepeasant said:

Someone might argue that golf is different, because we have more control over what happens than a coin toss.

People have argued that… and they're correct.

1 hour ago, humblepeasant said:

If we did, with an adjustment for course conditions, wouldn't we pretty much score the same thing every time?

No, because we're not robots, so we put different swings on the ball each time we play the hole. Just because we're not robots doesn't mean we aren't the primary controller of the outcome.

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29 minutes ago, iacas said:

You're clinging really hard to this idea, and I've yet to see anyone else really accept what you're saying.

The particular idea you quoted, I didn't think anyone disagrees with...? If a player pars a hole 80% of the time, we could say that they have an 80% chance of paring the hole. I didn't think that was controversial.

32 minutes ago, iacas said:

No, because we're not robots, so we put different swings on the ball each time we play the hole. Just because we're not robots doesn't mean we aren't the primary controller of the outcome.

In theory a robot could have perfect control...including in a physical coin toss. But we don't. And because we don't, that's where the randomness of our results creeps in.

This is starting to remind me of discussions of free will. I would contend that free will, at least the way most people tend to think of it, is an illusion. Would you guys agree or disagree with that claim?

I know I'm starting to drift a bit off topic from golf, and I'm content to agree to disagree. I'm aware that I fail to convince even a single person here, and it's certainly a red flag to me when it's "everyone else" who is wrong. Accordingly, I've really thought twice and thrice about what I've claimed, tried to have an open mind to criticism, but so far I still stand by it. 🤷‍♂️

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40 minutes ago, humblepeasant said:

The particular idea you quoted, I didn't think anyone disagrees with...? If a player pars a hole 80% of the time, we could say that they have an 80% chance of paring the hole. I didn't think that was controversial.

Nobody's really talking about that, and that's not "random."

40 minutes ago, humblepeasant said:

In theory a robot could have perfect control...including in a physical coin toss. But we don't. And because we don't, that's where the randomness of our results creeps in.

No. I said "just because we're not robots doesn't mean we aren't the primary controller of the outcome."

Player skill determines let's say 90-95% of what they score on that hole at that point in time. And I don't mean a generalized set of parameters: I mean how they hit the ball those 2 or 7 or 4 times when they're playing the hole that time.

The "randomness" about where exactly a ball bounces and rolls and whether the wind gusts a little or a lot during a ball's flight, etc. is a small contributor. It's not the primary driver of the score.

40 minutes ago, humblepeasant said:

This is starting to remind me of discussions of free will. I would contend that free will, at least the way most people tend to think of it, is an illusion. Would you guys agree or disagree with that claim?

Oy.

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, iacas said:

Nobody's really talking about that, and that's not "random."

I know, but you were...I was responding to your comment about my text you had just quoted.

39 minutes ago, iacas said:

Player skill determines let's say 90-95% of what they score on that hole at that point in time. And I don't mean a generalized set of parameters: I mean how they hit the ball those 2 or 7 or 4 times when they're playing the hole that time.

I know that how the club-head hits the ball determines the ball flight (and that higher skill results in better and more consistent contact). That's not inconsistent with what I'm saying about the randomness of results.

39 minutes ago, iacas said:

The "randomness" about where exactly a ball bounces and rolls and whether the wind gusts a little or a lot during a ball's flight, etc. is a small contributor. It's not the primary driver of the score.

That "randomness" is not at all what I'm talking about when I talk about the randomness of the results.

I obviously fail to communicate. I'd be interested to hear someone else, in their own words, explain to me the point I'm trying to make (even/especially if they disagree with it), because I don't think people are getting it (much less actually disagreeing with it). Most of the "counter-arguments" I'm in full agreement with and are not actually counter to my theory.

I've honestly already put too much time into this thread, so unless I have a eureka moment of a new way to put it, I'm tapping out. I would recommend the books "Fooled By Randomness" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and "Free Will" by Sam Harris.

I think that my recent post here from this morning is still the best way I know how to try to convey what I'm trying to say:

Edited by humblepeasant
typo

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4 minutes ago, humblepeasant said:

I'd be interested to hear someone else, in their own words, explain to me the point I'm trying to make

If you don't know what you're trying to say why would someone else?

4 minutes ago, humblepeasant said:

I've honestly already put too much time into this thread, so unless I have a eureka moment of a new way to put it, I'm tapping out. I would recommend the books "Fooled By Randomness" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and "Free Will" by Sam Harris.

This isn't a matter of free will or a philosophical debate.

Your position seems to hinge on this:

3 hours ago, humblepeasant said:

Someone might argue that golf is different, because we have more control over what happens than a coin toss. I would argue that, within the proper parameters (an adjustment for skill level), we don't!

I disagree. We do have more control. Much, much more control.

90-95%, just to throw out some numbers.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

If you don't know what you're trying to say why would someone else?

Oy.

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25 minutes ago, humblepeasant said:

Oy.

Truth. I disagree how much of a score, even on one hole, is out of our control.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Truth. I disagree how much of a score, even on one hole, is out of our control.

Right. I mean...how do sandbaggers do what they do?

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Golf scores are about as random as the amount of TP in the store right now.

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On 3/31/2020 at 12:43 PM, Double Mocha Man said:

Oh hell... I'm not even random from warm-up on the range to playing on the course.  I guess there is nothing random about crushing it on the range and then playing poorly on the course.  And vice-versa.  It's a fact of life for my game.  Therefore I always try to have a crappy range session...

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3 minutes ago, bwdial said:

Good one! You need to start having the crappy burgers that are lopsided on the range.

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Is a test grade random, or is it mostly influenced by aptitude, effort (studying), and concentration?  In the same way, a golf score MOSTLY influenced by athleticism, practice (not simply hitting ball after ball on the range), and preparation (having a game plan for the course). There are other things that factor in of course. Chalking a score off to a random event may help rationalize how well or not so well you played, but it won’t help you improve in the long run. Random things can happen of course. I hit a drive once that struck a bird flying past 20’ front of the tee. It added a stroke or 2 to the hole, but the other 80 some strokes were based on my ability. Golf may be hard, but it isn’t random.

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I’ll bite.  Sometimes my swing is butter, other days it’s the crappy swing from 2 years ago.

See, my old swing is the setup I just fall into. I stand over the ball and my grip and alignment just feels SOO GOOD.  Then I put my swing on it.  The one all the guys tell me is SOO SMOOTH, as the ball predictably does a belly flop into the lake.

My new setup is not so comfortable.  It feels funny.  But the ball just pops. It goes where I aim. It lands where it should.

The long of it is this. My rounds are not random.  If I ‘warm up’, I can get into my new setup before the first tee.  If I do not warm up, I will flail away with my beautiful old swing for about 12 holes before I realize whats going on. In fact, I can look at my scorecard and see what swing I was using.  When I groove my new swing the ‘so called’ randomness will go away.

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Maybe what the OP was trying to say is that you will have good days and bad days and knowing that helps his game. A 10 HC who shoots a 90 knows that he will be back to shooting in the 80's and to keep heart.

I know that I do have control and that for me it comes down to concentration. I used to be a person who played golf as if it was a walk in the park. Letting my inner dialogue run and enjoying nature. That was nice, but my game sucked. I decided to get serious, practice and CONCENTRATE. Now I shoot scores I once dreamed of, but some days no matter how hard I try I suck.

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