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.