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Increased Randomness on Putting


Skill vs. Luck in Putting  

40 members have voted

  1. 1. Read the question in the first post and answer here. Vote BEFORE you read any replies.

    • The gap between the good and bad putters would be narrowed.
      23
    • The gap between the good and bad putters would be increased.
      7
    • The gap between the good and bad putters would remain the same.
      10


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3 hours ago, GolfLug said:

Gap remains same. The good putters adapt just like they adapt for slow and fast greens on different courses. They will ram them home to hold the line better through the bumps on short putts and lag putt more defensively to have easier 2nd putts. I had slight inclination to say the gap would even increase.

BTW, the luck factor helping/hurting either group to any significant level is BS. 

I am going to disagree. This would mean the good putters would know the outcome of the randomness to know how to adapt. 

Also, wouldn't a putt that hits a big bump harder be deflected more offline than one that is hit slower? I've seen golf balls shoot 1-2 inches in the air before on longer putts due to imperfections in the green (i.e. Pitch Mark). I remember back in the day when spike marks use to be a bigger deal. PGA Tour players would just accept their fate if their putt had to go through a foot print of spike marks. They would get pissed off that the ball got deflected, and then stamp down the spike mark with their putter after the putt. 

Also, just to visualize, and I hope this helps out about how randomness hurts better putters..

image.png

Imagine a 10-FT putt, that is flat. The green area putters who make it 100% of the time. They got perfect speed for maximum capture speed. The teal color are putters who make like 50%. The blue area are those who make like 25% of the putts. Again on a perfect green. Now, the red crosshatch, is the area of imperfection that if hit into would cause 50% of all putts made to be missed, and 50% of all putts missed to go in. This would be random, but over 1000 putts the percentage would be around 50%. You can see how the imperfections only hurt the best putter. He would go from 100% made putts to 50% made putts. The golfer who made 50% would have half of his made putts go in, and half of his missed putts go in since his shot zone falls inside the imperfection area. The terrible putter would only have some of the putts effected, and others would be putted so bad there would be no help a all. 

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3 hours ago, GolfLug said:

Gap remains same.

I changed my vote because of the post below. 

1 hour ago, Phil McGleno said:

The gap narrows because randomness always reduces the effects of skill.—A good putter will have more putts deflected away from the hole than a bad putter—And a bad putter will have more putts deflected toward the hole than a good putter.

That is a net win for the bad putter twice-Though the number of bad putts that get deflected in is going to be small.

This made the good sense. 

On a personal note, I understand randomness but can't stand 'luck' as a significant factor for ANYTHING in golf. I think that influenced my first vote. 

EDIT: @saevel25 yes, I def stand corrected. 

Edited by GolfLug
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54 minutes ago, klineka said:
10 hours ago, Wanzo said:

I think it widens.  Bad putters have more bad putts that get even worse.  Overall dispersion gets bigger for both,  but increases the bad putter’s number by more because it started larger.  

Why are you only assuming that the bumps hurt the bad putter? I could rephrase your part in bold to say "Bad putters have more bad putts that get even better"

Bumps hurt the good putter too.  I probably am not explaining my thought process well, and good chance I'm totally wrong since I'm in the minority in the poll 😀.  But if you use the shotgun approach, say the average proximity on all putts for the good player is 2 feet.  And the average for the poor putter is 3 feet.  Then the randomness kicks in acts as a multiplier, some putts get better and some putts get worse.  When the multiplier is applied to the 2 proximities, the number increases more for the poor player.   say the multiplier is 1.5,

3x1.5=4.5 (new proximity average)

2x1.5=3 (new proximity average)

good player new versus old proximity...3-2=1 foot increase

bad player new versus old proximity....4.5-3=1.5 foot increase

 The poor player's shotgun increases by a wider margin.

Edited by Wanzo
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3 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

Bumps hurt the good putter too.  I probably am not explaining my thought process well, and good chance I'm totally wrong since I'm in the minority in the poll 😀.  But if you use the shotgun approach, say the average proximity on all putts for the good player is 2 feet.  And the average for the poor putter is 3 feet.  Then the randomness kicks in acts as a multiplier, some putts get better and some putts get worse.  Since the poor putter has more putts that are "worse" to begin with, the proximity increases more for the bad putter.  Their shotgun increases by a wider margin.

I think what it boils down to is that the bad putters would gain a bit and the good putters would loose a bit from their respective normal from the ensued randomness. That makes sense so I changed my vote.  

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I've heard a story about Bobby Jones, however even I'm not old enough to verify it as true. Bobby was supposedly putting one day with who I believe was Horton Smith, but I may be wrong on the name. When he was setting up to putt, Horton (or whoever) asked him if he was going to clean the worm castings from his line, since the may knock his putt off line. Bob's response was "they may knock it on line as well". 

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6 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

On a personal note, I understand randomness but can't stand 'luck' as a significant factor for ANYTHING in golf. I think that influenced my first vote. 

I think for the most part a golfers skill is taken into account in golf. Like having your ball end up in a divot in the fairway, you may get this bad break once every few years, or maybe 5 times in a year. 

6 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

But if you use the shotgun approach, say the average proximity on all putts for the good player is 2 feet.  And the average for the poor putter is 3 feet.  Then the randomness kicks in acts as a multiplier, some putts get better and some putts get worse.  Since the poor putter has more putts that are "worse" to begin with, the proximity increases more for the bad putter.  Their shotgun increases by a wider margin.

A putter who makes 100% of his putts from 5-FT on a perfectly flat putt, with perfect green. Could exist in the world. Maybe Tiger would make 100/100 one day on a perfectly flat surface from 5-FT. If you add in the randomness, then for the putts near the edge, there is a 33% chance that putt would miss, and a 66% it would make, instead of a 100% chance it would make. To me, the randomness just causes better putters to miss more often.  Which closes the gap. 

 

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36 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

A putter who makes 100% of his putts from 5-FT on a perfectly flat putt, with perfect green. Could exist in the world. Maybe Tiger would make 100/100 one day on a perfectly flat surface from 5-FT. If you add in the randomness, then for the putts near the edge, there is a 33% chance that putt would miss, and a 66% it would make, instead of a 100% chance it would make. To me, the randomness just causes better putters to miss more often.  Which closes the gap. 

What would happen to the bad putter?  He makes a few more but maybe his bad misses that get knocked off line even further cause him to 3 putt a percentage of them?  I know probably not from 5 feet, but if you apply the logic to all putts and not just 5 footers?

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  • Administrator

I have an answer written up, but I'll wait a little bit to post it. Go ahead, keep arguing.

But stop changing your votes, please. Your vote is your vote. If you're wrong, let the vote show it.

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47 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

What would happen to the bad putter?  He makes a few more but maybe his bad misses that get knocked off line even further cause him to 3 putt a percentage of them?  I know probably not from 5 feet, but if you apply the logic to all putts and not just 5 footers?

If you want to get really into the weeds. Then, it would depend on length of putt. A 5-FT putt would not get deflected far enough offline that it would make the 3 putting that much higher.

If it's a 50-FT putt, you can get lucky and hit the flag stick and end up 3-4 FT closer than you would otherwise. You can hit a big pitch mark and end up 5-FT short of where you might end up. 

I still think in overall bumpiness, like Aeration of greens. You go from a perfectly smooth surface to aerated greens. A putter that makes even 90% of their putts, and the other 10% could be happen to be knocked in. Let's say the aeration cause 50% of their putts made miss, and 50% of their putts missed made. Then you have them making now 50% of their putts. 45% from the putts that get knocked offline, and 5% from putts missing getting knocked in. 

If you have a golfer who lets say makes 30% of their putts, another 30% could be knocked in from the aeration, and 30% would never be knocked in. So now they make 15% of the putts they would on perfect greens, they make 15% of their missed putts they wouldn't otherwise, and the other 30% wouldn't matter. So, they end up making 30% of their putts. 

The difference in putts made goes from 60% to now 20% difference. Randomness to me, narrows the gap. 

 

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14 hours ago, iacas said:

I may move this later, but for now, here is fine.

Assume a perfectly smooth putting surface. One on which putts that are hit the proper speed and on the proper line go in, and one on which missed putts miss.

Skill would rule the day — the best putters would be the best putters by some margin over the worst putters.

Here's the question: if you made the greens bumpier, so that a ball could be directed a little left or a little right each time it hit a little bump (and the longer the putt, the more of these little misdirections could happen), would that narrow or increase the gap (or keep it the same) between the good putters and the bad putters? Why? What's your reasoning?

I voted C - it would be increased.

Reasoning is that the better putter will more often chose a line that drops the ball in the center of the cup. This means that small effects by imperfections on the green would still go in more often than for poorer putters who hit off-center to the hole.

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I voted the gap narrows. Good putters will now miss some putts that were hit on line at the right speed due to the imperfections. Bad putters will still miss about the same because they were off line and at the wrong speed. They are not going to get the benefit of the bumps because their Read, Bead and Speed were off to begin with. The good putter may miss a putt by an inch due to an imperfection. The bad putter was 2 feet off to begin with and still won’t get a bump to help that bad a putt.

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11 minutes ago, chspeed said:

I voted C - it would be increased.

Reasoning is that the better putter will more often chose a line that drops the ball in the center of the cup. This means that small effects by imperfections on the green would still go in more often than for poorer putters who hit off-center to the hole.

From 10', the accuracy required to just hit the edge of the cup is +/- 1.01 degrees with prefect speed.  At the extreme example of a putter, on perfect greens, makes 100% of their putts assumes they hit the ball with sub 1 degree of accuracy from 10', and with the ball dying into the hole perfectly most of the time. With some leeway for faster speeds of the ball hits more towards the center of the cup. This is assuming no break. 

I just think that in reality, the notion that they would hit the center of the cup at such a rate that the imperfections would not matter is not realistic. 

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9 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I just think that in reality, the notion that they would hit the center of the cup at such a rate that the imperfections would not matter is not realistic. 

Yeah, not sure. Didn't think about this too much, just the first thing that popped into my mind. BTW, didn't say the imperfections would not matter, just saying they'd matter less close to the center of the cup than they would at an edge.

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  • Moderator

Let me see if I can present this another way.

Player A is a good putter and makes 50% of his 8’ putts on tour quality greens. Player B is a bad putter and only makes 10% of the same putts.

For argument’s sake, let’s say a bumpy green deflects the ball to a degree that it affects a putt holing 1% of the time, both good and bad.

Player A’s make % on a bumpy green would still be 50%. He loses 1% on good lines but gains 1% on misses. Over 1000 putts, the bumpy greens deflect 5 (1% of 500) of the putts he would have holed off line and 5 (1% of 500) of the putts he wouldn’t have holed into the hole.

Player B’s make % however becomes 11% (10.8% if you’re a math major). He loses and gains the same 1% as Player A, but since he’s less likely to hit a good line to begin with, the bumpy greens affect him differently. Over 1000 putts, he misses 1 (1% of 100) he would have made on a perfect green, but makes 9 (1% of 900) he would have missed. On a bumpy green, this player holes 108 putts of this length, versus the 100 he would have holed on a perfect green.

Player B is a slightly better putter on bumpy greens while player A stays the same, this narrowing the gap.

I hope this makes sense. I think I did the math right, but I put this post together here and there while working, so mistakes could have been made.

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I get the logic behind the gap narrowing, but those would have to be some pretty crappy greens for it to make much of a difference, so I answered the same. 

What are we really talking about here? The slightest fraction of a stroke at most.

 

 

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Intuitively, I believe that it would hurt both golfers, but that it would hurt a good putter  more. Hence, the gap would be narrowed. 

From 8 feet, a tour level putter would make about 50%. Let's say a mediocre amateur would make about 33%. 

If a bumpy green deflects one third of the 8 footers that should have been made offline enough to turn them into a miss, then suddenly the elite putter is making 34% and the mediocre putter is making 22%. The gap has shrunk. 

The second consideration - what happens to the putts that would have missed? - is a bit harder to pin down. When you consider that a mediocre putter has more opportunities for their bad putts to be deflected towards the hole, it is seems likely that the gap might even shrink further. But I'm not sure that this is true. 

The mediocre putter who misses 67% of their 8 footers on perfect greens should have more opportunities for fortunate breaks. But with that said, a mediocre putter is going to have misses that are so far off line that no amount of favorable bumps can save them. Let's say 20% of their putts are hit so badly that they have no shot whatsoever. By contrast, an elite putter should always be somewhere around the hole, which means that even though they have fewer misses, almost all of them have a chance to be "saved."

In summation, I think the effect on putts that would have missed on perfect greens is pretty much a wash, while the good putter is badly hurt on putts that would have gone in. Therefore the gap narrows.

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