Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Which Stats Matter?

I've always thought that the most important statistics are the once closest to the hole.  With that in mind, here is a quick look at some statistic leaders and their Golfstat ranking.  The statistics don't necessarily reflect the true leaders, because not all teams sign up for the package.  However, it will still give a good correlation between statistical ranking and overall ranking.

Fairways:
1.  Ha Lee - Longwood: 95.90%  National Rank:  652  Scoring: 79.15

Greens:
1.  Camilla Hedberg - Florida:  86.60%  National Rank: 2  Scoring: 70.75

Par 5 Scoring:
1.  Kyung Kim - USC:  4.56  National Rank:  5   Scoring:  71.44

Par 4 Scoring:
1.   Stephanie Meadow - Alabama:  3.98  National Rank: T11  Scoring:  71.67

Par 3 Scoring:
1.  Grace Na - Pepperdine:  2.84  National Rank: 4 Scoring:   71.33

Total Short Game:
1.  Kim Kauffman - Texas Tech:  79.5%  National Rank:  5  Scoring:  71.50

Subpar Strokes per Round:
1.  Camilla Hedberg - Florida:  4.08 per rnd.  National Rank:  2  Scoring:  70.75

Putts/Round:
1.  Soo Bin Kim - Washington:  28.5  National Rank:  3  Scoring:  70.83

Putts/G.I.R.:
1.  Emily Collins - OU:  1.754  National Rank:  26  Scoring:  72.33

The lowest average in college golf this semester is Isabelle Lendl at 70.67.
Here are her stats and rankings:
Fwys: 83.3%  Rank:  T69th,  Greens:  78.2%  Rank:  9th,
Par 5's: 4.73  Rank: T19th, Par 4's:  4.01  Rank:  T4th  Par 3's:  2.92  Rank:  T4th
Short Game: 58.1%  Rank:  37th   Subpar Strokes: 3.92 Rank:  T3rd
Putts:  30.75  Rank:  T65th  PGIR:  1.775  Rank:  3rd

If you are in the top 30 in scoring, you have a pretty good shot at making the All America Team.
Here are the stats of the 30th ranked player to give you another form of comparison:
Tonje Daffinrud - Denver.  She averages 72.44
Fwys: 88.1%  Rank:  19th,  Greens:  74.1%  Rank:  t28th,
Par 5's: 4.92  Rank: outside top 100 , Par 4's: 4.11  Rank: t49th   Par 3's: 2.92   Rank: t4th
Short Game: 43.9%  Rank:  outside top 100   Subpar Strokes:  3.22 Rank:  t30th
Putts:  31.44  Rank: outside the top 100   PGIR: 1.8  Rank: t9th

The original thought that the farther away from the hole, the less important the stat holds true.  There is a minimum proficiency for every stat, but fairway hits isn't as important as green hits.  Green hits isn't as important as putting.  Overall putts doesn't correlate to score as much as putts on greens in regulation.

Okay, what does all this mean?  Just as I thought, the closer you are to the hole, the more important the statistic.  When I analyze the stats of the top two teams in the country, USC and Washington, the first thing that jumps out at me is how superior they are at playing par 5's.  That holds true to a golf statistician I heard speak about 15 years ago who said that the most important club on the PGA tour was the wedge.  I'm not sure how he proved that theory, but I do believe that being able to stuff a wedge into 10 feet is a skill that relates directly to scoring.

The next stat that jumps out at me on those two pages is birdies.  We are quite a bit better than USC in making birdies.  If we make more birdies, I guess we must also make more bogies.  Why?  The first key is our putting par.  We make more birdies, but our putting par stat isn't as strong.  The putting par is a combination of putts on greens hit and also putts that convert up and downs.  Here is the rub.  We are 7th in the stats as a team on p.g.i.r. and we hit a lot of greens.  However, when we miss a green, we don't get the ball up and down even half of the time.  That is our first goal, to get over 50% on total short game.

The difference between where we stand (34th) and where the best team right now stands (USC) is very small.  It is 7.31 shots per round.  That means, if every player on the counting four makes one more putt and one more up and down per round, we are in the same shoes.  That is a reachable goal!  However, it is a goal that comes with a lot of responsibility to work hard on short game and putting while maintaining or improving the ball striking we do well.

After all the analysis, it comes down to wedges, short game and putting!  It's time to get busy.



1 comment:

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