Earnest Words

Get it to the green: Overly complicated golf analysis

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Getting a ball to this position is very important in golf. Well, ideally, it’ll fall into the hole and you wouldn’t be in this position.

My friend Jimmy, who doesn’t go by Jimmy but is a great golfer, said “shots within 50 yards are where you gain the most strokes.”

I think my game at Arrowood had significantly fewer shots under 50 yards than I have had before, because usually i hit the green with a chip shot on my second try to hit the green. I don’t hit it with approach shots.

I mean, technically, many of my approach shots were “chips” because they were not shots to the green in regulation (this means that you hit the green in a way that you can take two putts to get PAR). But that was because of my aforementioned incompetence off the tee.

I went back and looked at my course notes but also my course record (those are two different files that I will eventually explain).

Dear Reader, I am not just excited to review this information. I am overjoyed to review my incompetence in detail, with the hope that it will allow me to feel better about myself.

Looking at Arrowood on May 23, I had a total of 27 shots where I was planning on hitting the green. I think I also omitted some tee shots on here, just FYI.

Planned shots to hit the green where I executed my plan were as follows:

  1. 112Y PW on Hole 2
  2. 14Y SW chip on Hole 3 (since I missed the green, Par 3)
  3. 124Y 8 iron on hole 5
  4. 120y 8 iron on hole 7
  5. 10y SW chip on hole 8 (again, just missed it, Par 3)
  6. 35y SW on hole 10
  7. 120y+ 8 iron on hole 11 (hit the green, green in regulation! Par 3)
  8. 50y SW on hole 14 (green in regulation!)
  9. 100y PW on hole 16
  10. 60y SW on hole 17

That’s 10 holes where I hit the green with the shot I wanted to. That doesn’t include hole 1 or hole 6, where my shot rolled off and I was able to putt. So those might count. I won’t do it for now.

Shots where I missed were:

  1. 42y SW on hole 1
  2. 9y putt on hole 1
  3. 42y SW on hole 4
  4. 20y SW chip on hole 4
  5. 60y SW on hole 6
  6. 12y putt on hole 6
  7. 75y PW on hole 9
  8. Duff chip on hole 9
  9. Successful chip on hole 9
  10. 100y PW on Hole 12
  11. 25Y SW chip on Hole 12 (which should have been a 10y SW)
  12. 117y PW on Hole 13
  13. 20y SW chip on Hole 13
  14. 60y PW on hole 15 (Par 3)
  15. 18y SW Chip on hole 15 (Par 3)
  16. 150y 6 iron on hole 18
  17. 45y SW on hole 18

So I managed to get the ball on the green in 10 shots on 10 holes and 17 shots in 8 holes. How does that compare with other rounds?

If I look at my other published round, Oceanside Muni in April 2021, you’ll be able to see the carnage.

Successful shots to hit the green were:

  1. Hole 4: 46Y SW (Par 5, GIR)
  2. Hole 6: 110y PW (Par 4, GIR)
  3. Hole 7: 38y SW
  4. Hole 9: 30y SW
  5. Hole 10: 38Y SW
  6. Hole 11: 120y 8 iron (Par 3, GIR)
  7. Hole 15: 40y SW
  8. Hole 16: 50Y PW

That’s 9 holes where I hit the green with the shot I wanted to use to hit the green. However, it’s also only 2 shots of over 100 yards, whereas at Arrowood, 5 shots over 100 yards and 2 more shots over 60 yards, with an additional 2 shots that could go either way.

Here are the unsuccessful shots: 

  1. Hole 1: 60y PW
  2. Hole 1: 60Y SW
  3. Hole 2: 40Y SW* (maybe should be 4 shots here since I had a chance at a GIR…)
  4. Hole 2: 20Y SW
  5. Hole 2: 8y putt
  6. Hole 3: 15y SW chip (Par 3)
  7. Hole 3: 8y putt (Par 3)
  8. Hole 5: 60y PW punch (Par 3)
  9. Hole 5: 8y putt (Par 3)
  10. Hole 8: 60y PW
  11. Hole 8: 20y SW chip
  12. Hole 12: 50y PW
  13. Hole 12: 12Y SW from sand
  14. Hole 13: 12y SW chip (Par 3)
  15. Hole 14: 40y SW
  16. Hole 14: 10y putt
  17. Hole 17: 120y 8 iron
  18. Hole 17: 15y SW
  19. Hole 18: 50y PW
  20. Hole 18: 20y SW from sand

I managed to get the ball on the green with the shot I wanted to in 9 holes, 1 hole worse. So that’s 9 holes where I took at least 2 shots, even if I was putting on 4 of them.

Also, look at the average distance: my average distance for getting it on the green in one shot for arrowood was around 75 yards. When I missed, my average distance was 47 yards.

At Oceanside, my average distance to get it to the green, from over 50 yards, was 59 — nearly 15 yards less. My average distance when I got it onto the green was 34 yards.

So I definitely had better approach shots when I was playing arrowood, even if the score didn’t show it. And that’s because my approach shot wasn’t my second or third shot, but my third or fourth.

Here’s how this compares with some recent rounds. This also begins to show the challenges with my analytical method: it’s all over the palce.

CourseOver ParDouble shots from under 50Under 50 yardsOver 50 yardsTotal Shots into the Green
Arrowood 5/23+363x7 of 15 total (8 extra)7 of 12 total (5 extra)14 of 27 shots (13 extra)
Oceanside Muni 4/24+355x5 of 22 total (17 extra)2 of 6 total (4 extra)7 of 28 (21 extra)
Emerald Isle 4/21+385x1 of 20 (19 extra)4 of 21 total (17 extra)5 of 41 (36 extra)
Oceanside Muni 3/12+364x2 of 20 (18 extra)4 of 15 (11 extra)6 of 35 (29 extra)
St. Mark’s Executive Course 2/27+172x1 of 15 (14 extra)6 of 17 (11 extra)7 of 32 ( 25 extra)

I mean, the fairly obvious takeaway is that if you don’t hit the green, you’re going to need an extra shot. The other thing that’s important is how close you finish. At arrowood, I was hitting the green but ending up 3-putting after hitting it. At Oceanside on March 12 and at St. Marks, I was getting to close and putting in: I had 36 putts both those rounds.

Anyway, I felt like I was really improving when I wrote this and I think the evidence bears that out. If I can keep the ball on the course next time and maybe make some putts (I think I missed 8 putts within 3 yards), I should be able to break 100.

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