Introducing Scoring Impact

As golfers we practice to get better and typically judge performance by the end score on the scorecard. In golf there are no fractions. We typically all remember the putts we missed as chances gone by and overemphasize the importance of the flatstick on the end result. This is likely because putting is the most binary of golfing skills, the ball either goes in or it doesn’t. Does perception match reality?

First let’s introduce the concept of “Scoring Impact”.

Scoring Impact for Strokes Gained Approach

Once you play more than 5 rounds using a shot tracking app like PocketPAR, you get a distribution of scores varying from your best days to your worst days. “Scoring Impact” is a measurement of how various factors explain the variation in scores. We show this impact via a simple correlation plot with a linear fit. An example of this is shown for Strokes Gained Approach vs. Score.


Clearly we can see a trend from the SG Approach plot. When the player has a better ball striking day on approach shots, he/she scores better. This intuitively makes sense… but how do we put it into perspective? The impact number in this case is 0.6 or 60%. This means that 60% of the scoring variation can be attributed to Strokes Gained / Lost on Approach shots.

Scoring Impact from Putting

To the left is Strokes Gained Putting impact for the same player. The best fit line certainly shows a relationship in which score improves with putting, however it is not as clear or obvious when looking at the data. In this case, the impact number is just 16%. This is 1/4th the impact of approach shots, meaning the player would be much better off putting in work on approach shots than putting if he wants to see scores improve.

We can expand this approach to all elements of Strokes Gained and even to traditional metrics such as Fairways, Greens, and # of Putts. After reviewing data from several of our power users over various handicap ranges, the summary data is shown in the table below where several trends appear:

  1. For all handicap groups, Approach shots were at the top in terms of impact on scoring.
  2. As handicap increased, so did impact of Driving on overall score.
  3. Putting was the least impactful area on overall score for all handicap groups, except one.
  4. Traditional metrics don’t correlate well with improved scoring.

Tracking traditional metrics is easy, but it doesn’t tell you how to improve. To reveal true opportunities you need advanced shot tracking and stats such as those provided by PocketPAR. Subscribe today to get easy access to these advanced stats and more in the “Analyze” section or check out our in-app demo for just how much you learn about your game.

Get tracking and #MakeMoreBirdies!

AmaTour Analytics: Champions Circle

I compete on the Golf Channel Am Tour in the Palmer Flight (4-8 handicap). This series follows the golf and how PocketPAR gives insight on tournament play.

Starting off the 2018 season with a win is always a plus, but I’ve found a disturbing trend in my golf…

The round started on 17 for me in the shotgun start format. Three easy holes to start and I made easy, if not frustrating pars. My short game just hasn’t been sharp. A wedge into 17 didn’t make the green and a two-chip on 18 left a 5 footer I was happy to make for par. You have to at least get a birdie look when you’re greenside in two on a par 5.

You know those holes that just don’t fit your eye? Just can’t get comfortable? #2 at Champions Circle is that for me. A tee shot with a narrow shoot favoring a fade makes me uncomfortable. Even if you smash a drive you have a long iron into a well protected green at best. My tee shot is pulled and runs all the way down into a small creek. Take a drop. Still have to lay up. Happy to leave with just a double.

Holes 2 and 3 at Champions Circle

Number 3 would be a great Par 5. It’s a bad Par 4. Into the wind it’s a 230 carry just to reach the fairway, followed by 200+ yards over a creek to a blind green with death left. It’s a bad hole. I smash a drive and a 4hybrid and am still short of the green (but safe). A bad chip leaves me in a tough spot and a 3 putt yields double.

Now this is where strokes gained analysis comes in handy. I’ve just gone +4 over two holes. Time to panic right? Except I know those are two of the hardest holes on the golf course. The field averaged 5.08 and 5.5 on the two holes. Meaning two doubles didn’t lose 4 strokes, it lost just 1.4 stroke to the field. Still not good, but manageable.

Cruise control. I play the next 7 holes at -1. Right back in the tournament with 6 holes to play. Queue the mental mistakes… I’ll make no excuses, I’ve struggled to close out rounds recently. This was no exception.

11. Took 4 shots to get in the hole from 80 yards.
12. Took 4 shots to get in the hole from 5 yards off the green.
13. Loose shot into a hazard.
15. Three putt from 40’.
16. Missed fairway, missed green, missed 5’er for Par.

Just a collection of lost momentum and poor shots. Whether it be a lack of focus or knowing I’m in the hunt, things got shaky, but what got shaky? What part of my game is struggling when the nerves get amped? PocketPAR has the answers.

Strokes Gained scorecard view. Green indicates areas of the green that were good / great during the round,, white indicates average, and red indicates areas and categories where performance was lower than the rest of the round.

Strokes Gained view of the scorecard gives details on the 6 hole struggle. I drove the ball well enough. My approach game left me in bad spots and my putter went cold as indicated by the red / dark red squares.

This is in-line with how I felt during the round. I hit uncommitted shots into the green on 11, 12, and 13. Didn’t feel comfortable with the wind and made half hearted swings.

By the time I got to 13, I felt as if I had shot myself out of the tournament and lost all focus on the putting green with an inexcusable 3-putt. Limped into the house frustrated with my finish.

But I won! How could that be? The reality is that Champions Circle can be a brutal golf course. And while I did all my damage toward the end, the field was struggling with big numbers lurking.

I shot 81. The field average was almost 89. I had gained 7.4 strokes through 12 holes, even with 2 doubles. During my final 6 hole stumble to the clubhouse, I still gained 0.5 strokes on the field.

So I’m happy that my play early in the round carried me, I know the field gifted me this one and I need to get better.

With PocketPAR I know where. If you need me I’ll be committing to iron shots.

Time to #MakeMoreBirdies

From the Lab: Club Data

You asked for it, we got it. We’ve added the ability to track clubs with your shots in PocketPAR.

Manage Clubs in “Tweak” Menu

With our advanced stats engine, we can show you more than just how far you hit a 7 iron. Our shot tracking algorithms can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how you hit your clubs:

  1. Distance
  2. Proximity to the Hole
  3. Iron / Wedge Accuracy (Greens in Regulation)
  4. Driving Accuracy (Fairways Hit)

Need to know how if you are more accurate with a Driver or 3W? The max yardage you’ve ever hit a hybrid? We provide all this data to make it easier for you to understand your performance in simple to read box plots.

Start tracking shots today and #MakeMoreBirdies with PocketPAR!

Ways to Win: Rickie’s Rout

There is more than one way to win a golf tournament, Ways to Win will break down how the winner did it each week. 

Well if you listened to Johnny Miller this weekend, you would have thought Rickie won ugly, but sometimes its Thursday thru Saturday that wins a golf tournament. In fact, the recent string of victories by Speith, DJ, Hideki, and Justin Thomas have been victory marches on Sundays after blitzing the field early.

Rickie gained 13.5 strokes on the field in the first three days, allowing him to play conservatively down the stretch and still win by 4 strokes on the difficult PGA National.

Continue reading “Ways to Win: Rickie’s Rout”

Feature Focus: Summary and Statistics

Golf is hard. PocketPAR makes it easier.

Time to highlight features you may have missed and show how PocketPAR can help you improve. 

So you’ve finished your round, logged all your shots, and saved the data… Now what? As you’re about to head to the 19th hole and reflect on the day’s adventures, time to arm you with some analysis. PocketPAR‘s round summary will get you what you need from advanced to traditional statistics.

Continue reading “Feature Focus: Summary and Statistics”

Ways to Win: Dominant DJ

There is more than one way to win a golf tournament, Ways to Win will break down how the winner did it each week. 

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride…

After several near misses, Dustin Johnson finally broke through and won at Riviera in dominant fashion. Having to wait out the rain and play 36 holes on Sunday, DJ gave early notice to the field that he wasn’t backing up. Incredible play with just one bogey in his first 62 holes, coasting to a 5 stroke victory the rest of the way.

We all know Dustin can bomb it… but what did he do to dominate the field this week? Continue reading “Ways to Win: Dominant DJ”

Ways to Win: Spectacular Spieth

There is more than one way to win a golf tournament, Ways to Win will break down how the winner did it each week. 

After four consecutive top 10 finishes, Spieth re-emerged in the winners circle. The difference? A hot start in brutal conditions as Spieth put himself in position after round one, rather than digging a hole as he has in recent tournaments.

Once in position, Spieth did what Spieth does and separated himself from the field with the flatstick on Saturday. He gained almost 4.8 strokes on the field with the putter while hanging around the middle of the pack in other strokes gained categories on Saturday.

However, it isn’t just the putter that allowed Jordan Spieth to coast to his 9th PGA Tour victory. Jordan Spieth’s iron game has improved on his performance last year to put him back in contention. Let’s take a look at how Spieth’s performance this week compares to the season’s winners… Continue reading “Ways to Win: Spectacular Spieth”

Ways to Win: Year of Hideki?

As America starts to tune in for Super Bowl 51, there was a battle still being fought in the Deserts of Arizona. 

The 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open finished in stellar fashion as Webb Simpson and Hideki Matsuyama played four playoff rounds to crown the winner. Hideki sank a 10 footer on the short par-4 17th in front of record crowds.  He has now become 1 of 6 players to defend their title in the event joining golf greats, Ben Hogan, Jimmy Jimmy Demaret, Lloyd Mangrum, Arnold Palmer and Johnny Miller.

Continue reading “Ways to Win: Year of Hideki?”

Ways to Win: Eagles Soar for Rahm

There is more than one way to win a golf tournament, Ways to Win will break down how the winner did it each week. 

A bunched leaderboard on Sunday led to a thrilling finish by the young Jon Rahm. There are multiple ways to win on the PGA Tour, but this week Jon Rahm put on a ball striking clinic, particularly with the big stick. Playing a Torrey Pines with brutal rough, Rahm hit 11 of 14 fairways and averaged 305 yards off the tee on Sunday. Maximizing his opportunities, Rahm raced up the leaderboard with a back nine 30 that included two eagles. Continue reading “Ways to Win: Eagles Soar for Rahm”