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Relative Importance of the Long Game, Short Game, etc. (Mark Broadie, Strokes Gained, LSW, etc.)

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1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

You'd be wrong.

What separates the good pros from the great pros is their superior long game. What is Tiger known for? His long game. He was bombing past people with accuracy. 

Tiger had the best short game too. He wasn't the best driver of the ball but after the tee he was the best until he decided to change his swing.

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Well, it turns out I did have my stats handy, although it's missing my 4 most recent rounds from this year. Nevertheless, here we go:

GIR v score.gifscore vs nGIR.gif

 

I can send someone the raw data if they want it. I excluded 9 hole rounds from the picture. I also didn't add trendlines, because I have 3 different data series (3 different years). But this is still interesting. I'm a little generous with my nGIR, so that might skew the data a bit. It looks to me that GIR is much more tightly bunched than nGIR data. For me, it's much more important to have GIR to score well, although I need to get 14 nGIR to break 80.

I was having issues with excel - it crashed on me multiple times. I didn't want to wrestle with it anymore, so that's why the charts don't look pristine.

Edited by DeadMan

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33 minutes ago, Shindig said:

@DeadMan -- does your second chart's nGIR label really mean "GIR + nGIR"?  That's how I'm reading it.  I should chart similar data for myself. 

Yes, that's correct.

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4 hours ago, 14ledo81 said:

The thing is, so much goes into that one stat.  You can't really neglect much of your game if you want to have a lot of GIR.

I'm not sure what you mean.

If you're saying that learning the full swing is a complex challenge, I agree. If you suggesting hitting GIR requires being competent with tee shots, lay ups, flighted wedges, punch shots, bad lies, and trouble shots, I'd agree with that as well.

But GIR are only part of my entire game and there are other parts that have hurt me much more in the last couple years. Had I used the 65/20/15 practice ratio instead of focusing so heavily on my iron swing, my challenges would likely be different (not saying better or worse scores).

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3 hours ago, MuniGrit said:

Tiger had the best short game too. He wasn't the best driver of the ball but after the tee he was the best until he decided to change his swing.

From 2004 to 2014 Tiger Woods ranked as follows on the PGA Tour in strokes gained by category, 

Driver: 13th
Approach: 1st
Short Game: 25th
Putting: 3rd

Tiger Woods short game was good. It isn't at the level you say it is to even come close to making it why he was elite. He averaged 1.28 strokes over the field just with his approach shots. Over 4x more important than his short game. He could have had an average PGA Tour short game (zero strokes gained in short game) and he would still be .65 strokes better than the next guy on the list. 

 

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7 hours ago, MuniGrit said:

What point do you consider it long game vs short game? I think of short game as inside of 100 yards when using your wedges.

100 yards is the official delimiter. At 100 yards, we see this contribution:

That table shows us that Tiger Woods gained 2.79 strokes gained total (from 2004-2012). Of those 2.79 strokes, 0.58 came from driving, 1.28 came from approach shots, 0.30 came from his short game, and 0.63 came from his putting.

Again, to Broadie, "short game" is 100 yards and in.

So that's 67% from the full swing (long game), and 33% from the short game and putting combined.

If you break out Tiger's years…

You'll find that the highest he ever gained in short game and putting was 0.71 and 0.99 respectively. At the same time, the most he gained in driving and approach shots was 1.09 and 2.01 respectively.

Tiger gained twice as much over the span of 2004-2012 from his full swing than his short game and putting combined.

That ratio is pretty steady across all player levels.

28% from the driver. 39% from the approach shots (67%). 19% from the short game, 14% from putting… 33%.

The same as Tiger's numbers.

6 hours ago, MuniGrit said:

Well yeah If it is only with 30 yards of the green then I would say long game then.

Yes, the ratio would be even more lopsided than the 2:1 ratio we have already.

6 hours ago, MuniGrit said:

The ability to scratch out a couple under to even par during a round when you have your C or worse game is what separates the good pros from great pros.

Nah. Not at all. You're letting some biases or history or perceptions govern how you see things.

Strip that away. Look at the data.

3 hours ago, MuniGrit said:

Tiger had the best short game too. He wasn't the best driver of the ball but after the tee he was the best until he decided to change his swing.

No he didn't.

From 2004-2012, his average rank in the short game (100 yards and in, off the green) was 45th. He finished worse than 45th in driving twice (and six of the ten are inside the top 10). He never finished worse than 45th in approach shots. Never. In fact, he finished first six times. The times he didn't finish first, he finished… 4th, 4th, 3rd, and 5th. That's an average position of 2nd.

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That is what I observed in my own game. If my long game is on, I can score in the 70's. if not, I'm struggling to make it in the mid 80's

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The data I have read here does have me support that long game seems to matter more. It's just that the data in my real life goes against it. Out of my ~16 golf buddies I have been playing with for over 10 years, of which I feel we are all comparable in skill, I have always been the shortest (I'm 250 w/ driver, they are all 250-300).  I have also always had the lowest index of this group* by at least 2 (we usually range from 8-12 HI). Short game and not getting penalties/doubles are my strengths. 17 people is a small data set admittedly, but in general when I play w/ randoms, the same feels like it holds true a lot.

*not counting 6+ mo. breaks

(don't nick me for "picking my friends wisely", I assure you it just turned out this way) 

Edited by bones75

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@bones75 "long game" is not really about distance. 250 is far enough to be scratch, and far enough to hit greens in regulation. A good long game also leaves you with easier up-and-down opportunities.

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7 minutes ago, bones75 said:

The data I have read here does have me support that long game seems to matter more. It's just that the data in my real life goes against it. Out of my ~16 golf buddies I have been playing with for over 10 years, of which I feel we are all comparable in skill, I have always been the shortest (I'm 250 w/ driver, they are all 250-300).  I have also always had the lowest index of this group* by at least 2 (we usually range from 8-12 HI). Short game and not getting penalties/doubles are my strengths. 17 people is a small data set admittedly, but in general when I play w/ randoms, the same feels like it holds true a lot.

That part that I put in bold explains exactly why you shoot lower scores than your friends. 300 off the tee isnt all that great if you hit 5 of those drives OB every round. 250 in play is always better than 300 OB. Also the fact that you minimize/eliminate doubles also shows that you have course management skills and know how to avoid taking unnecessary risks, something that most amateur golfers lack. 

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@bones75 coupled with what @iacas said, the long game is also about not getting those penalties that you mention in your post.  If you're getting a lot of penalty strokes, your long game isn't what it should be to score well.

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12 minutes ago, bones75 said:

Out of my ~16 golf buddies I have been playing with for over 10 years, of which I feel we are all comparable in skill, I have always been the shortest (I'm 250 w/ driver, they are all 250-300).  I have also always had the lowest index of this group* by at least 2 (we usually range from 8-12 HI). Short game and not getting penalties/doubles are my strengths. 17 people is a small data set admittedly, but in general when I play w/ randoms, the same feels like it holds true a lot.

2

I think the bolded part supports the thesis of the thread.

If you were to mentally track where everyone stood on every hole after "regulation" (3 shots long par 5's, 2 shots par 4's, tee shot par 3's), do you think that typically they are all in better shape than you? And you simply "out-hustle" them close to the hole? If so, a tip of the hat to you.

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Such quick and confident responses! Yea, I definitely get what you guys said.  I just often feel that they are so much better ball strikers than me. But yes, keeping it in play is a must-have not a nice-to-have.

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44 minutes ago, bones75 said:

Such quick and confident responses! Yea, I definitely get what you guys said.  I just often feel that they are so much better ball strikers than me. But yes, keeping it in play is a must-have not a nice-to-have.

I'm going to pile on with the rest.  Avoiding penalties is 100% full swing stuff, and most doubles come from full-swing problems too.  I have very very seldom 4-putted for a double, and have NEVER hit a ball into a hazard while putting.  OK, once I hit a putt into a bunker, so ALMOST never.  If avoiding penalties and doubles is your strength, full-swing shots are your strength too.

Edited by DaveP043

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13 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

 If avoiding penalties and doubles is your strength, full-swing shots are your strength too.

Its a nice sentiment, but not one shared by my friends!  "If you're short enough, you don't get into trouble..." is a common jab, as well as the typical "nice chipping/putting today..."  (we are all friends, none taken offensively).  I routinely win our nassau's, so I'm not whining, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't get caught up in their mind games some days.

Edited by bones75

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