How statistics may change golf

Statistics are part of many sports and are often used by managers, coaches, and players to make decisions.

Golf is not yet up to par with others sports (see the Moneyball craze in baseball or the efforts of some NBA teams to analyze games) but that moment might be just around the corner, according to Slate:

We’re in a golden age for golf research because the PGA Tour has opened ShotLink’s books to researchers. Two professors at the Wharton school, for example, looked at 1.6 million tour putts and concluded that professional golfers are risk-averse. They examined putts for par and putts for birdie from the same distances and discovered that pros make the birdie putts less often. They suggest that pros leave these birdie putts short out of fear of making bogey, and then calculate that this bogey terror—and the resultant failure to approach birdie putts in the same way as par putts—costs the average tour player about one stroke per tournament.

It’s insights like this that offer the provoking notion that a Moneyball-type revolution awaits golf.

It would seem like an advantage to players to have this kind of data and analysis in hand as long as they don’t completely overrule their instincts for the game. Just because one has statistics available doesn’t necessarily mean they will be used judiciously.

h/t Instapundit

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