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Does Your 1st Hole Score Affect Rest of Round?

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  1. 1. Does your first hole score affect the rest of your round?

    • Yes
      18
    • No
      52


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Nope.  I've had good starts that went bad, and horrid starts that became good rounds.  What I have more trouble with is if I start well, then have a couple of early blowups to turn the round south.  It's harder for me to regain focus and recover some good from that.

IMO, it does sound like a really good or bad 1st hole score may have an effect on the rest of the 17.  These are some examples of a really good or bad 1st hole score effecting the rest of the round.

1.  Start thinking about shooting a really good score after a good 1st hole and then blowing up.

2.  Free-wheeling after a bad 1st hole and shooting a good round.

3.  Getting more focused after a good 1st hole and shooting a very good round.

4.  Losing focus after a bad 1st hole and shooting an exceptionally bad round.

When I say "effect" I mean a positive OR negative correlation with the rest of the round.

I am really impressed by how often Touring Pros seem to block things out and be able to play and execute 1 shot at a time regardless of what has happened previously, while many amateurs I see don't seem to have this skill.

Not unless I sustain some sort of injury. Some of my best rounds started off with double.

I'm confused.

At the time you posted this not one single person had said yes, you had one ambiguous answer, and everyone else said no effect.

And your conclusion was yes it did have an effect.

How does your conclusion follow from the responses?

I was replying to Fourputt specifically, not all the responses at that time.  However, I would say the same thing to Carl Spackler. By "effect" I don't just mean good 1st = good round and bad 1st = bad round, but also guys who are more likely to play a good remaining 17 after a bad 1st hole or play a bad remaining 17 after a good 1st hole. If a high % of Carl's best rounds start with double, then maybe a bad opening hole has a positive effect on how he plays the remaining 17.  With Fourputt, he indicated that he has trouble regaining focus when he has had a blow-up after a good 1st hole.  This might only account for a small % of his rounds, but it seems as if something might be going on there.

Here is an example with numbers.  Let's say a guy is a bogey golfer averaging 90 on a par 72 with a 1st hole of medium difficulty that he tends to average a bogey.  Let's suppose he knows Erik and has played a million rounds at this course making birdie 3% of those rounds and triple bogey 3% of the time on the 1st hole.  Given that we would expect him to averge +17 the remaining 17 holes, if the 1st hole score has no effect, then he should average 88 when he makes birdie on the 1st hole and 92 when he makes triple.  If his averages are significantly different (higher OR lower) than either of those, then it would seem that the 1st hole score does have an effect on the 17 remaining holes.  (Note- that effect may or may not be mental with a lower=lower or higher=higher correlation as it could just indicate that he is more physically on or off that particular day.  There are also other factors that could be at play like weather).

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Here is an example with numbers.  Let's say a guy is a bogey golfer averaging 90 on a par 72 with a 1st hole of medium difficulty that he tends to average a bogey.  Let's suppose he knows Erik and has played a million rounds at this course making birdie 3% of those rounds and triple bogey 3% of the time on the 1st hole.  Given that we would expect him to averge +17 the remaining 17 holes, if the 1st hole score has no effect, then he should average 88 when he makes birdie on the 1st hole and 92 when he makes triple.  If his averages are significantly different (higher OR lower) than either of those, then it would seem that the 1st hole score does have an effect on the 17 remaining holes.  (Note- that effect may or may not be mental with a lower=lower or higher=higher correlation as it could just indicate that he is more physically on or off that particular day.  There are also other factors that could be at play like weather).

Yeah, but what if he doesn't know Erik??

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Here is an example with numbers.  Let's say a guy is a bogey golfer averaging 90 on a par 72 with a 1st hole of medium difficulty that he tends to average a bogey.  Let's suppose he knows Erik and has played a million rounds at this course making birdie 3% of those rounds and triple bogey 3% of the time on the 1st hole.  Given that we would expect him to averge +17 the remaining 17 holes, if the 1st hole score has no effect, then he should average 88 when he makes birdie on the 1st hole and 92 when he makes triple.  If his averages are significantly different (higher OR lower) than either of those, then it would seem that the 1st hole score does have an effect on the 17 remaining holes.  (Note- that effect may or may not be mental with a lower=lower or higher=higher correlation as it could just indicate that he is more physically on or off that particular day.  There are also other factors that could be at play like weather).

I like your statistical setup!  But I'd guess this is generally what people are giving a guess at when they answered your OP.  Is there any other way to interpret "Does your 1st hole score affect the rest of your round?"

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Maybe someone playing bogey golf can post their scoring stats. I don't sweat a bad score on any hole because I know the pars are coming later. I suppose the exception would be a bad score on the 18th when a good round is on the line. I would assume a guy playing single digit golf knows they are going to make par or better most of the time. One hole shouldn't be a distraction.

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Other than giving me some idea what I might be in for on the next 17 holes, not much more than that. That first hole will tell me if I might need to adjust something in my swing, or I might just have a pretty decent round. If I have to adjust something, I try to get it done in the first three holes.

Then again, I suppose in reality, every hole is the first one of the rest of your round.

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Yeah I like the each hole is a new hole approach. It's more than clearing the mind course management is part of it too. I often see guys get into trouble trying be a hero after a bad hole and it becomes a string of bad holes.

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I voted "no".

My first two holes are sometimes my only warmup, so there are times when I shoot doubles (or worse) on the first two holes then go back to bogey or sometimes par.

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If you apply the strategies in Lowest Score Wins, you won't have any bad holes. Duh. < /sarcasm>

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I voted no.

Last week in our league, I birdied the first hole, a par three.  On number two, I didn't get off of the tee very well but ended up with a bogie.  #3, the wheels fell off.

Two days later, I started off pulling my initial tee shot into the woods.  I finished that 9 fairly well but on the back nine, shot one of my best scores of the year.

I've hit some great warm up shots on the driving range before a round and then completely sucked afterwards.    I've also had trouble at the range and then played well.

No rhyme nor reason but I believe my rhythm played a major part each time.

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I looked at my last 11 scores. One the first hole I had 6 pars and 5 bogies.

• When I parred the first hole I averaged 79.3.

• When I bogied the first hole I averaged 79.2.

When I reexamined the original question, "Does a really good or bad score on the 1st hole tend to have an effect on how you score the next 17?", I rationalized that pars and bogies are not really good or really bad. To be really good it has to be a birdie, to be really bad a double bogie or worse.  So, I looked at the rest of my scores for 2014.

All of my opening holes this year were all pars and bogies, so I looked at 2013. In 2013 I opened a round three times with a double bogie and averaged 80.3. I had to go all the way back to November of 2012 before I started with a birdie, and that day I shot 82.

So, in my case, an opening hole score has little affect on my score for the round.

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I looked at my last 11 scores. One the first hole I had 6 pars and 5 bogies.

• When I parred the first hole I averaged 79.3.

• When I bogied the first hole I averaged 79.2.

When I reexamined the original question, "Does a really good or bad score on the 1st hole tend to have an effect on how you score the next 17?", I rationalized that pars and bogies are not really good or really bad. To be really good it has to be a birdie, to be really bad a double bogie or worse.  So, I looked at the rest of my scores for 2014.

All of my opening holes this year were all pars and bogies, so I looked at 2013. In 2013 I opened a round three times with a double bogie and averaged 80.3. I had to go all the way back to November of 2012 before I started with a birdie, and that day I shot 82.

So, in my case, an opening hole score has little affect on my score for the round.

Impressive data keeping.


Do you keep hole by hole scores in the spreadsheet used to calculate your handicap?

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One of my favorite stories is the day I started with a double bogie at Saxon Golf Course. Saxon's first four holes are all par 4, and number five is a par 3. So, my scores started...

Hole #1 - double bogie 6

Hole #2 - bogie 5

Hole #3 - par 4

Hole #4 - birdie 3

Now when I got to the par three to keep the string going and make an eagle, I would have to jar the tee shot for a hole-in-one. When the ball was in the air it headed right at the pin. It hit near the flag and finished a foot directly behind the flag. While I didn't start with a double bogie, bogie, par, birdie, eagle, I did start the round with s 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

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Impressive data keeping.

Do you keep hole by hole scores in the spreadsheet used to calculate your handicap?

Hi Lihu,

I keep my scores on www.oobgolf.com. You enter your scores hole by hole after you finish a round, and they compute all of the stats. The site is completely free. I have been using it since 2009.

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Hi Lihu,

I keep my scores on www.oobgolf.com. You enter your scores hole by hole after you finish a round, and they compute all of the stats. The site is completely free. I have been using it since 2009.

Looks cool. Thanks.

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We have a risky No. 1 hole at my course. OB left, deep-hazard ravine right. Deep valley from 150 yards out to 10 yards from green. Gusting left-to-right cross wind, sometimes a headwind.

If you hit the fairway and have a OK approach shot, you can get a birdie or a par. But if you...

  • miss your tee shot left or right... OR
  • end up over the green on a downhill shaggy lie... OR
  • hit the deep bunker to the right of the green...

you can end up with a six or an eight.

And, No. 4 offers a similar gauntlet (OB left, hazard right / blind tee-shot into stovepipe S-shaped landing area / water-hazard/marshland last 120 yards before the green + downhill shot hit into headwind).

Shot 11-over on the front (par 36) two weeks ago, and +7 came on these two holes.

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Not anymore... I typical start bad every round.  Like the last tournament I played in was 6 over the first 3 holes and 2 under the rest of the way for a 75.  Par 71.

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