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Home THE NUMBERS YOU DON’T KNOW!

The PGA TOUR is portrayed through the lens of television. While each tournament showcases the best players at the moment, it also is intended to tell a story. Often times it appears that players never miss a shot, especially the closer they get towards the hole. But once Sunday afternoon comes around the audience begins to see PGA TOUR players are human after all.

The implication through television is that everyone in the field makes putts from inside 5 or 10 feet. The reality is they don’t. The proof is supplied by ShotLink, which records every shot played in every tournament. It has done so since 2004.

Every Shot Counts is a new book by Mark Broadie, who helped to develop the strokes-gain approach for the PGA TOUR. Broadie, a professor at Columbia Business School, pioneered the strokes gained putting statistic, which was adopted by the PGA TOUR in 2011. In his new book, Broadie looks at the PGA TOUR by way of a statistical analysis. The book isn’t just about the elite players that make their living on the PGA TOUR. He also crunches a mountain of data, dating back to 2004, to show what really impacts players’ scores and reveals why many long-held assumptions about the game are actually false! After all numbers don’t lie!!

Who’s more likely to win: an amateur playing a best-ball scramble, or a pro playing a worst-ball scramble? Would you score better if you had a PGA TOUR pro hit all of your shots outside 100 yards from the hole, or if the pro hit all of your shots within 100 yards of the hole? What about the effect of a larger hole? Think it would make a significant difference in the outcome for all players: good and bad?

The technique of simulation, developed at the dawn of the computer and atomic eras, models the behavior of real world systems inside a computer. One of the very first computer programs calculated the trajectories of missiles to make artillery more accurate for the military, a challenge that is a lot like simulating the flight of a golf ball. Today, simulation has a wide variety of applications, including weather and climate forecasting, medicine, the design of traffic light systems, flight simulators for pilot training as well as video games!

If a pro could magically add 20 yards to his drives, how much would his score drop? Some might think there isn’t enough information available to attempt to answer this question. Thanks to the person responsible for bringing the world the strokes gained putting statistic, there are ways to tackle this issue.

In Every Shot Counts Broadie helps to quantify the age old question of gaining a magical extra 20 yards off the tee every time and what it means to your score. He uses TOUR trends to answer the question. Case in point, on a 460-yard hole a drive that travels 300 yards and finishes in the fairway leaves 160-yards to navigate. The PGA TOUR average strokes to hole out from 160 yards is 2.98 strokes. A drive that travels 20 yards farther and also finishes in the fairway leaves 140 yards to go, where the stroke average is 2.91,and represents a gain of 0.07 strokes. Was that the answer you were looking for? If the longer drive finishes in the rough, the PGA TOUR average strokes to hole out is 3.15, representing a loss of 0.17 strokes (3.15 compared to 2.98). Suppose, in a round with 14 par-four and par-five holes, one drive finishes in the rough while the rest find the fairway. The total gain for the round is 13 multiplied by 0.07 minus 1 times 0.17 to equal the sum of 0.74 strokes. In reality, the gains from longer drives differ substantially by the hole length, and some of the longer drivers finish in worse situations than the rough! Three-quarters of a stroke per round may not sound like much, but for a pro it could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income or the difference between winning or losing each week or simply making the cut, or playing on the Web.com Tour! However, for the weekend warrior is there a higher return? Broadie shares in the book his results for the player who regularly shoots in the 80s, 90s or 100+ if they could gain that elusive extra 20 yards every time off the tee.

The book breaks some popular myths but also allows avid players to learn more about their game as well. It covers the gamut of driving, approach shots from various distances and more. Its main focus is on the PGA TOUR but also covers amateur players. The book is well written and offers a unique view and approach into the professional game.

Every Shot Counts is available starting on March 6th. For avid golfers its an absolute must read. For anyone that possesses an analytical mind, they’ll find it both fascinating and a revelation into the modern game. It has the power to change the way you look at the game in the future!