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Handicap Index

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  1. Here's Mike Bender, otherwise a good instructor, doling out some misguided information. First, let's see how accurate that is: At 100 yards in the rough, PGA Tour players average 3.02. At 175 in the fairway, they average 3.07. Close enough. At 80, it's 2.96. At 155, it's 2.97. Close enough. At 120, it's 3.08. At 195, it's 3.17. That's not super close - it's a tenth of a stroke, or 1.4 strokes in favor of being in the rough per round. At 140, it's 3.15. At 215, it's 3.3. Not really close. Over a round with 14 driver holes, that's 2.1 strokes. Here's the other problem, and it's one commonly made by people who make comments like "distance sounds great but I don't want to play every drive from the trees." This isn't how it works. The longer hitters are not "hitting from the trees" all that often. In fact, despite what Mike Bender says, they're not hitting from the ROUGH much more often, either. Look at the 2017 driving accuracy stats. First place: 72.73% (by absolute world-beater [sarcasm] Ryan Armour). A player who hits 2 fewer fairways ranks all the way down at almost 125th place (at about 58.44% fairways hit). Those people are Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, and Branden Grace. Being as little as 20 yards ahead on EVERY tee shot OFTEN outweigh the disadvantage of being in the rough one to two extra times per round. (72.73% of 14 is 10.18, 58.44% is 8.18.) It's not like short hitters are gaining strokes with every drive. Truth be told, they're only gaining strokes on about 2 to 2.5 drives per round. On the other 12 or so, they're losing strokes to the longer hitters: they're losing strokes on the 8.18 fairways the longer hitters also hit, and the 3.82 fairways that even the short hitters miss. Mike Bender should know better. One of his students, Zach Johnson, would absolutely take an extra 20-30 yards, even if it came at the cost of a fairway or two per round. After all…
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