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PBDonahue

Scoring System I Created - Interested in Feedback

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First, I just discovered this site and am still familiarizing myself with it. Apologies if this is has previously been discussed or I'm in the wrong forum.

I recently listened to a podcast with Mark Broadie, the creator of the strokes gained system. I loved hearing about it and found myself wanting an analytic system for regular golfers to help determine areas of relative strength and weakness. The problem with strokes gained is that it's all relative to Tour pros, which has limited value for double-digit handicappers.

Relatedly, after flirting with a single digit handicap in the years after college, life quickly prevented me from devoting "enough" time to the course and I've struggled in the low 20s ever since. I only now (~12) years later have settled into a groove in my career where I can start putting in the necessary hours at the course to get better again. For now, my aim on the course is bogey golf, and my initial goal was to come up with a strokes-gained type system workable for that. (The good news for you real golfers: as you'll see the system is easily adaptable to scoring to par).

The idea of the system is to identify what clubs/aspects of your game cost you the most strokes. I first needed a scoring system adapted from par to bogey golf. The basis of this is the idea of "chipping for birdie" (or pitching). Meaning, if I can play a hole to where I'm chipping for birdie, I should be able to play bogey golf. Baked into this idea is the assumption that I should be able to two-putt any green if I was chipping/pitching from just off the green. Another way to view this approach is to take the green in regulation concept and expand the perimeter of the green by ~20-40 yards. That is the new area you're trying to get within to stay on track to bogey the hole.

I realize there are a million ways to bogey a hole and a million possible results from missing the green, but again the point here is to be able to construct a strokes-gained system. To do that I needed a substitute for the "average tour shot" which is the basis upon which every player's shot in the Tour's strokes gained system is relative. Hence the idea of a standard or average bogey: on a par 4, a drive, an approach that gets on our expanded "green" in regulation, a chip/pitch onto the real green, and a two putt. This also seems to quantify the actual feelings I have after a given hole, i.e. I don't feel much one way or the other with a "standard" bogey as described, but I feel frustration after a bogey in which I missed a 4-foot par putt or had to punch out from the trees.

While this system doesn't get nearly as complicated as Broadie's system (no fractions of shots), it does what it needs to do by identifying which of your shots were better or worse than the "standard" bogey baseline: Most shots are just that, baseline/net zero, and any shot that deviates from this standard is either a plus shot that opens the opportunity to par (or better) the hole while still playing with bogey golf skill, or a minus shot that puts you behind the bogey golf pace. As with strokes gained, whether a shot is plus, minus or neutral is determined largely by the degree to which it sets up the next shot. On a par 4, a drive should result in the reasonable opportunity to hit the (expanded) green in regulation, the approach shot should be on or around the green, the chip/pitch should get to reasonable 2-putting distance, the first putt should get to reasonable hole-out distance.

If implemented properly, the net amount of plus and minus shots on a given hole should correlate directly to the score on on the scorecard. Ideally I explained this well all so as to not require giving examples, but since I'm on a roll, consider the following (+ or - after a shot indicate plus or minus shot).

1 - par 4. Driver to first cut. Mid iron to 5 yards right of the green. Chip to 25 feet. Putt to 3 feet. Bogey

2 - par 5. Driver in fairway. Long iron to 100 yards. Short iron+ on green. 2 putt. Par.

3 - par 4. Driver- into the trees. Punch out. Mid iron to 5 yards right of the green. Chip to 25 feet. 2 putt. Double bogey.

4 - par 4. Driver in rough. Mid iron- duffed. Mid iron to 10 yards right and short of the green. skull chip- across green. Chip on. 2 putt. Triple bogey.

5 - par 4. Driver- into the trees. Punch out. 9i++ to 3 feet. Putt in, Par.

As you can see-- 

1 no + or - shots, bogey.

2 one + shot, par. 

3 one - shot, Double bogey. Note that the bad shot was the first one, and the golfer played "standard" bogey golf from then on out.

4 two - shots --> triple bogey.

5 two ++, one -, nets out to a par.

Total: three + shot, four - shots, -1 net. And sure enough the golfer is 1 stroke behind a bogey golf pace. 

Some problem areas:

It can be hard to accurately quantify the impact of driving, especially on par 5s. Even 20 handicappers can reach many par 5s in 2 without being Bryson--when does a strong fairway drive count as a + and when is it simply neutral? If I hit a strong drive and a strong approach into/around the green on a par 5, which club gets the + rating, or do they split it half and half? Also, what to do about generally "bad" shots that, with some luck, don't really turn out to be very punitive? E.g. a drive sliced on one hole will be OB, the exact same drive on the next hole might land in the adjacent fairway, which does little to nothing to prevent bogeying the hole?

For putting, what is must make distance? Obviously it varies for each person, but where do you draw the line at penalizing for missing a relatively short putt? 3 feet? 5? 7? What about lag putting? Should there be a "penalty" for 3 putting from 96 feet? Should three putting from the top shelf of a tiered green be treated the same as three putting on a flat surface?

Obviously it's still a work in progress but I really like the results so far. In addition to categorizing by club, I can also generally categorize by club type; driver, wood, long iron, mid iron, short iron, chip/pitch and putter. 

That's probably enough for now. Like I said, I welcome any and all feedback, positive or (substantively) negative. Is this interesting to/workable for anyone else? Am I overlooking anything? Is this a giant waste of time (ok maybe don't answer that). 

Anyway, If you made it this far, congrats? I guess? 

Looking forward to exploring this site more.

 

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9 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

Is this a giant waste of time (ok maybe don't answer that). 

To each his own, many of us have niches for an application to suite specific needs.
I've created my own which I refer to as "Player Improvement"
@dennyjones and I have worked on his application.

You should check out Game Golf
It already will give you all the insights you are describing.
It has the capabilities to make comparisons to several levels of player abilities. 

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First off, welcome to TST! Lots of good info and discussion on this site.

11 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

The problem with strokes gained is that it's all relative to Tour pros, which has limited value for double-digit handicappers.

Not necessarily. As @Club Rat mentioned, Game Golf does this data crunching.  I used to use Game Golf, and switched over to Arccos about a year ago, and it also does SG comparisons.  I can compare my game against pretty much any handicap over any number of rounds:

75DF8323-9821-475B-8DE4-53C7B6E40CBD.thumb.jpeg.476bffa3d5234cece9733b32e7bc0f71.jpeg
 

11 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

Baked into this idea is the assumption that I should be able to two-putt any green if I was chipping/pitching from just off the green. Another way to view this approach is to take the green in regulation concept and expand the perimeter of the green by ~20-40 yards.

You’ll see this concept referred to here as near GIR (nGIR).

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12 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

The problem with strokes gained is that it's all relative to Tour pros, which has limited value for double-digit handicappers

This simply isn't true. 

12 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

If implemented properly, the net amount of plus and minus shots on a given hole should correlate directly to the score on on the scorecard. Ideally I explained this well all so as to not require giving examples, but since I'm on a roll, consider the following (+ or - after a shot indicate plus or minus shot).

1 - par 4. Driver to first cut. Mid iron to 5 yards right of the green. Chip to 25 feet. Putt to 3 feet. Bogey

2 - par 5. Driver in fairway. Long iron to 100 yards. Short iron+ on green. 2 putt. Par.

3 - par 4. Driver- into the trees. Punch out. Mid iron to 5 yards right of the green. Chip to 25 feet. 2 putt. Double bogey.

4 - par 4. Driver in rough. Mid iron- duffed. Mid iron to 10 yards right and short of the green. skull chip- across green. Chip on. 2 putt. Triple bogey.

5 - par 4. Driver- into the trees. Punch out. 9i++ to 3 feet. Putt in, Par.

As you can see-- 

1 no + or - shots, bogey.

2 one + shot, par. 

3 one - shot, Double bogey. Note that the bad shot was the first one, and the golfer played "standard" bogey golf from then on out.

4 two - shots --> triple bogey.

5 two ++, one -, nets out to a par.

Total: three + shot, four - shots, -1 net. And sure enough the golfer is 1 stroke behind a bogey golf pace.

There are a lot of flaws with this logic. You identified that the golfer is 1 stroke behind a bogey golf pace, but there isn't enough info there using your +- system to determine what the strengths and weaknesses were for that golfer over those 5 holes.

Hole 1. You give no + or - shots, when in reality, the fact that the bogey golfer two putted from 25 feet means he putted better than the average bogey golfer on that hole, hell he almost putted as good as a PGA tour player on that hole (average putts to hole out from 25 feet on the PGA tour is right around 1.93)

Hole 2. The fact that the bogey golfer drove it in the fairway is likely gaining him some fraction of a stroke against the average bogey golfer who hits less than 50% of their fairways. A long iron to 100 yds out is also likely gaining a fraction of a stroke too since that shot likely went 160-200 yds and in play. You then gave him the + for hitting the green with his short iron, but you ignored the two pretty substantial plusses that preceded the 100 yd shot that resulted in the GIR.

Hole 3. Again, you gave him a - rating for that hole, even though they were + on putting for that hole and most likely that mid iron that was hit 5 yds off the green was probably a slight + too compared to average bogey golfers.

Hole 4. Same thing. If he chipped it to 6 feet this time then two putted that would be a + on the chip.

Hole 5. Again with the putting. That 3 footer should be a + for the bogey golfer, even a 3 footer for a PGA tour player is gaining them fractions of a stroke so it should definitely be a + for the bogey golfer.

I guess what I don't understand is how you are able to determine a golfer's strength and weakness in different areas without assigning a + or - to every single shot?

Like reading over those 5 holes, you didn't assign any + or - to the putting or chipping but you specifically stated that pitching/chipping and putting are two of the areas you break out.

12 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

It can be hard to accurately quantify the impact of driving, especially on par 5s. 

It's not hard if you use strokes gained and compare similar handicap levels. 

12 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

Even 20 handicappers can reach many par 5s in 2 without being Bryson

Many? Which most people would consider to be more than half? Not a chance. There is no way that most 20 handicappers reach over half of their par 5s in two. Sample size of 1, but I'm a 3 handicap and I don't even reach half of my par 5s in two, and thats even with me playing from 300-500 yd shorter tees than I realistically should be for my length. Heck I don't even reach a quarter of my par 5s in two and pretty much all of my par 5s are 475-550 yds and I have above average distance even for a 3 handicap.

12 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

when does a strong fairway drive count as a + and when is it simply neutral? If I hit a strong drive and a strong approach into/around the green on a par 5, which club gets the + rating, or do they split it half and half?

This is exactly what I was talking about earlier. Every shot needs to have it's own rating (which is exactly what strokes gained does) and your system doesnt go detailed enough since your results would obviously be skewed if you gave both of those shots a + but then the player still bogeyed the hole.

12 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

For putting, what is must make distance? Obviously it varies for each person, but where do you draw the line at penalizing for missing a relatively short putt? 3 feet? 5? 7? What about lag putting? Should there be a "penalty" for 3 putting from 96 feet? Should three putting from the top shelf of a tiered green be treated the same as three putting on a flat surface?

Again, this has already been measured/quantified for all levels of golfers using strokes gained data.

12 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

In addition to categorizing by club, I can also generally categorize by club type; driver, wood, long iron, mid iron, short iron, chip/pitch and putter. 

But you can't really. Not using the example holes you provided at least. If I were to come to you with that exact recap of my round and asked you which area of my game I needed to work on more, chipping/pitching or putting, how could you possibly quantify which area needed more work? Or if I asked you how did my driving compare to other bogey golfers over those 5 holes? That's not something, based on the recap you gave, that you would be able to answer. 

If this system works for you great, but IMO you're making it much harder on yourself and much less accurate than if you were to use an existing stats tracking program. 

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Thanks all for your feedback, especially @klineka for the thorough reply.

The most immediately helpful piece of information is that a much more effective and advanced version of this already exists. I definitely should've looked into that more...a one sentence post asking if anyone knew of a strokes gained system for amateur golfers would've saved all of us a lot of time. Whoops. In any event much appreciated and I'll definitely be checking out the apps mentioned.

And yes klineka, one definite flaw which I alluded to but probably could've more expressly stated is the lack of detail in what I came up with. I was slowly compiling a blurry low-res version of a system you all are already familiar with in HD. I do know that in a proper strokes gained system, virtually every shot will at least fractionally gain or lose strokes. The reason my (again, primitive) system has a lot of strokes with no + or - is because, by (flawed) design, there is a much wider array of shots that are average by definition. Isn't nearly as detailed to incorporate baselines such as 1.43 putts from a certain distance thus gaining 0.43 of a stroke on one putt.

As discussed early-ish in my OP, it instead centers around the very generic baseline of (for a par 4) a drive, nGIR approach, chip and two-putt. A shot that falls in line with that pattern isn't going to gain or lose a stroke, which I realize rarely if never happens in a more advanced system.

Relatedly, while I understand the references to 20-handicappers, my system isn't based on handicap, but on bogey golf. I realize ~20 or probably a bit lower is the handicap equivalent of bogey golf, but again I just wasn't thinking in such detailed terms when doing this. It really just started with one interesting thought after another and went from there.

Bottom line is I'm feeling quite dumb at this point--the equivalent of someone trying to invent calculus, getting halfway to algebra, then presenting my idea to a math message board without ever realizing calculators already exist. Hell of way to introduce myself! Sincere thanks again for the replies, I'm just gonna go chip in the backyard...

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53 minutes ago, PBDonahue said:

Bottom line is I'm feeling quite dumb at this point--the equivalent of someone trying to invent calculus, getting halfway to algebra, then presenting my idea to a math message board without ever realizing calculators already exist. Hell of way to introduce myself! Sincere thanks again for the replies, I'm just gonna go chip in the backyard...

Lol. TST humbles me on a regular basis. It’s all good. 😃

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1 hour ago, PBDonahue said:

Sincere thanks again for the replies, I'm just gonna go chip in the backyard...

How'd the chipping in the backyard go?  Here's a strokes gained calculator for putting only, based on the handicap you plug in.  


Use this tool to calculate the strokes gained metric for any round of golf. Track your putting improvement.

 

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16 hours ago, PBDonahue said:

Thanks all for your feedback, especially @klineka for the thorough reply.

The most immediately helpful piece of information is that a much more effective and advanced version of this already exists. I definitely should've looked into that more...a one sentence post asking if anyone knew of a strokes gained system for amateur golfers would've saved all of us a lot of time. Whoops. In any event much appreciated and I'll definitely be checking out the apps mentioned.

And yes klineka, one definite flaw which I alluded to but probably could've more expressly stated is the lack of detail in what I came up with. I was slowly compiling a blurry low-res version of a system you all are already familiar with in HD. I do know that in a proper strokes gained system, virtually every shot will at least fractionally gain or lose strokes. The reason my (again, primitive) system has a lot of strokes with no + or - is because, by (flawed) design, there is a much wider array of shots that are average by definition. Isn't nearly as detailed to incorporate baselines such as 1.43 putts from a certain distance thus gaining 0.43 of a stroke on one putt.

As discussed early-ish in my OP, it instead centers around the very generic baseline of (for a par 4) a drive, nGIR approach, chip and two-putt. A shot that falls in line with that pattern isn't going to gain or lose a stroke, which I realize rarely if never happens in a more advanced system.

Relatedly, while I understand the references to 20-handicappers, my system isn't based on handicap, but on bogey golf. I realize ~20 or probably a bit lower is the handicap equivalent of bogey golf, but again I just wasn't thinking in such detailed terms when doing this. It really just started with one interesting thought after another and went from there.

Bottom line is I'm feeling quite dumb at this point--the equivalent of someone trying to invent calculus, getting halfway to algebra, then presenting my idea to a math message board without ever realizing calculators already exist. Hell of way to introduce myself! Sincere thanks again for the replies, I'm just gonna go chip in the backyard...

No worries at all man, I appreciate the willingness to consider other ideas, that doesn't always happen here. Like I said, if that system works for you, great, just wanted to make you aware that other options exist as well. 

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