A Look At Tour Statistics

I’ve been a fan of PGA Tour statistics for a long time, because the numbers don’t lie . . . at least most of the time they don’t.  The Tour has long run their ad campaign on the theme, “These Guys Are Good.”  And they are.  But just how good are they?

At SCOR Golf, we’ve been doing a “deep dive” to find out a lot more about the Tour players and their statistics, with the goal of seeing the separation between the “haves” and “have nots” in various categories, particularly as it applies to hitting their approach shots from various distances.  Well, the results were surprising, to be honest.

We all know these guys hit it miles . . . at least most of them, but do they hit close?  Well, not all the time, the statistics prove.  Here are some interesting factoids revealed by our analysis:

  1.   Outside 175 yards, these guys are all about the same.  Very interestingly, we found out that the competitive advantage of the best over #125 in this category isn’t much.  From 175-200 yards, they range from 29 to 34 feet on their average approach; outside 200 yards, the range is 42-50 feet.  When you find out that tour pros make less than one percent of their putts over 35 feet, the advantage of being the best from long range isn’t all that great.
  2.  They aren’t as good as you would think inside 100 yards.  What surprised us was that tour players miss the entire green 10-15% of the time from inside 100 yards!!!!  And they average 15-18’ from the hole on their approaches inside 100 yards.  Bet you all thought they were better than that, didn’t you?
  3.  100-150 yards is the “SCOR Zone”.  The best in this range hit it inside 20 feet on average – the others don’t.  Tour players make 20-25% of their putts from 15-20 feet and half that many from 20-25, so hitting it closer with the 9-iron and wedges is where a tour player can pull away from the pack.

This all gave us reason to ponder why the typical tour player . . . and amateur for that matter . . . is carrying 5-6 clubs that go further than their 5-iron, and only 3-4 that go shorter than their 8-iron.  The numbers don’t lie.  If the best in the world can only hit it within 12-15 yards of the hole from that range, why would anyone need 10-12 yard distance gaps at the long end of their set?  Especially when it causes you to sacrifice distance accuracy at the short end because you don’t have tight enough gaps . . . because you don’t have enough tools in the toolbox.

A guy might be the best Mercedes mechanic in the world, but are you going to trust him with yours if he only has a hammer and pipe wrench?