Golden Tee 2011 — A Statistical View

By • Category: 2010 - Golden Tee LIVE 2011, Features, Statistics

Now that you’ve hopefully got many games of 2011 under your belts, you have a pretty good idea of the holes on which you score well, but more so, you probably know which holes are giving you fits.  Ever wonder if other players like you are struggling on the same holes?

Better yet, wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure if laying up for birdie on a tough par 4 will net you a better overall score than if you alternate between the tough eagle and the disastrous par or worse?  If an average player knew that a good player only eagles certain holes a small % of the time, he could decide to play the odds and take the safe birdie.

Well, a short while back I was approached by Jeremy Olson, a statistical analyst from Chicago who plays under the name NIGHTRAIN !.  He had developed a model to handicap each hole on the course based on certain variables and the scores he was shooting on them, but he needed a larger data set.  With the help of the GTF community, we’ve gotten many volunteers to give us access to their hole-by-hole scores on the 2011 courses, and with this data, Jeremy has been able to develop some awesome-looking spreadsheets and dashboards with great statistics for each hole!

SO, let’s take a look at some data!  These statistics are from 7-8 players whose handicap ranges from 15 to 21, which turned out the be the ideal audience for this type of analysis.  Also, the first few rounds played on these courses and any obvious outliers (blow-up rounds at 2AM, for example) were excluded.

First, pop open this spreadsheet and browse over the first tab.  Each course has all its holes classified into one of 5 categories, as defined below (remember that GT Par is the best score you can normally shoot without holing out — we used a slight modification of GT Par and called it “Potential”):

Easy:  75% handicap or better.  Only unforced errors can lead to dropped strokes.
Moderate:  50-75%.  Player is NOT faced with a decision whether or not to lay up.  Probability of GT par is reduced because of course variables, but chance of a penalty stroke is minimal.
Risk/Reward:  40-55%.  Player IS faced with a decision whether or not to go for GT par. Average score should be within +/- 0.10 of birdie (meaning the risk of getting Eagle is in balance with the penalty of par).
Professional:  40% or less. GT par is very difficult.  Risk of bogey outweighs benefit of Eagle.
Difficult:  50% or less.  No option to lay up with significant danger.  Probability of GT par is negative.  Chance of bogey high.

The % column shows how often players score the potential value (normally GT Par) on these holes, and the Avg. Score column shows that value for these holes.  You may find that “Potential”  is flexed a little bit towards what average/good players can realistically be expected to shoot on particular holes.

Now, click the Scorecards tab.  Here you see the hole-by-hole breakdowns for each course.  You’ll see an additional column for Handicap — the holes have been handicapped based off players’ percentage of realized Potential on those holes (again, you can also think about this as the ranking of a player’s average score on this hole relative to GT Par).  We didn’t always want to use GT Par as the standard for handicap because there are certain holes like Alpine #7 that may have a low GT Par %, but they are not necessarily difficult to birdie.  Now you truly know which holes are causing players in the 15 to 21 handicap range the most trouble!  You can use this knowledge to help with course management, and you can also use these ratings when playing with your buddies to know where to give strokes if you want to even things up based on your handicaps!

That’s the overview, but it gets bigger and better — each hole is analyzed in further detail in the write-up for each course!  Alpine and Grizzly are done and will be published soon, so be ready to head on over to those sections to see even more detail.  I’ll also soon be rolling these stats into a new format for each hole’s write-up!

Finally, we’ll be updating these statistics at various times throughout the year to keep them up to date, so hopefully this data can help your scores improve!  We’ll normally be pulling the 100 most recent games to get a good representation of how all our volunteers are currently performing.  Thanks big time to Jeremy for putting in the effort to gather up this valuable data for us!

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is a Golden Tee addict from Chicago, IL, thirsty for tips and tricks!
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2 Responses »

  1. Very cool…

    …now a link to the course overviews would be great so we know what we’re dealing with. 🙂 Such as: Alpine:

  2. Great work as always, Eric! And a big kudos to Jeremy for the idea & know how. Drop me a line if you want another “test subject”, I would be happy to give you access for this research! (I’m currently bouncing between 20/21 handicap)

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