Lou Stagner's Newsletter #36

Birdie and Bogey Chances by Distance to Hole

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5 index players from 15 yards in the rough... What percent of shots finish more than 20 feet from the hole?

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Chances to Hole Out

I recently posted a table that showed the chances the typical tour pro makes birdie or a bogey from different distances in the fairway. This was only for second shots in the fairway on par 4s.

I had a TON of requests to show this for different handicap levels.

Off to the Arccos Golf database we go. Arccos has a HUGE Black Friday sale right now… 20% off PLUS an extra 15% with the code DATALOU15

The table below is ONLY shots from the fairway, and these are ALL shots from the fairway on par 4s. It doesn’t matter if it was the second shot, or the fifth shot. If it was from the fairway, it is included.

There are not a lot of second shots really close to the hole on par 4s for amateur players, especially as the handicap increases. I decided to show all shots so I could have a better representation from the closer distances.

For each handicap index, there are three columns.

  • Chances the player holes out in 2 shots

    • Think of this as “sort of” like the chance to make birdie

  • Chances the player holes out in 4 shots

    • Think of this as the chance to make bogey

  • Chances the player holes out in 5+ shots

    • Think of this as the chance to make double or worse

For example, if you look at scratch players from 10-19 yards, the chances they get the ball in the hole in two shots is 50% (e.g., they would make a birdie if this was their second shot on a par 4).

The chances to get down in four shots is 4% (they make “bogey”).

The chances to get down in five or more shots is 1% (they make “double or worse”).

My Thoughts

The table above has some great info to help you manage your expectations. A five index from 110 to 119 yards holes out in two shots 8% of the time, four shots 28% of the time, and five or more shots 5% of the time. That is EYE OPENING.

You are probably tired of me saying this, but the key to lower scores is reducing those big numbers.

From 10-19 yards a scratch player is only about twice as likely to get the ball in the hole in two shots compared to a 20 index (50% to 26%).

Compare that to the chances the player will need five or more shots to get the ball in the hole from 150-159 yards. A scratch player is at 6% and the 20 index is at 27%. The 20 index is four and half times as likely to need five or more shots compared to the scratch player.

Use the table to:

  1. Provide great context on what is typical for your handicap index (MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS!!!)

  2. Show you what you need to strive for to lower your handicap index


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    Have a great week!

Lou Stagner