Study: Golfer Performance By State

Study: Golfer Performance By State

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How Does Your State Measure Up?

Which state has the best golfers? Which state has the worst?

Today we’re going to take a closer look at how golfer performance compares across state lines. While much of what we found aligns with our expectations, we found a few curiosities as well.

To bring you this information, we’ve partnered with TheGrint, a Golf GPS and Handicap/Stat Tracking service. TheGrint’s massive database provides absolutely incredible insight into the makeup of the golfing population as a whole.

How Data was Mined

Data was captured from TheGrint App and Website.

We used a total sample of 15,000 golfers who:

  • Are part of a USGA Compliant Golf Club
  • Have uploaded at least 5 scores to TheGrint

Abnormal scores (scores with handicap differentials lower than -10 or higher than 45) were removed from an initial sample of over 300,000. While it should be obvious enough, it’s worth mentioning that our data is limited to golfers who track their handicap. It’s also reasonable to assume that data from TheGrint skews towards a more tech-savvy golfer, and that could also suggest a demographic that is, on average, younger than that of the total golfing population as a whole.

To ensure valid sample sizes we’ve limited our graphs to show the top 20 states based on use of TheGrint.

Golfer Performance by State

handicap-by-state-grint-1

This graph shows the average handicap for golfers who live in a given state.

Insights:

  • Not surprisingly, the majority of states with the best golfers are those that experience mild winters. This is likely attributable to golfers having more opportunity to practice and play.
  • What some may find surprising is that Ohio and Minnesota rank high despite the fact that both see a fair amount of snow on an annual basis.
  • Despite warm weather and an abundance of golf courses, Florida ranks only 15th.

avg-scores-grint-1

This graph shows the average recorded score by state.

Insights:

  • While there isn’t a one-to-one correlation, as you’d expect, there is significant overlap between the states with the lowest handicaps and those with the lowest average score.
  • Differences between the two can be attributed to variations in slope ratings and the fact that average score considers all rounds played, while only the best 10 are used for handicapping purposes.

single-digit-player-grint-1

This graph shows the percentage of single digit handicap golfers within each state’s population.

Insights:

  • Within the Top 20 participating states, Tennessee has the highest percentage of better golfers, while New York has the lowest. I’m at least partially  responsible for the latter.
  • Once again the logical inference is that both ends of the chart are strongly influenced by climate.

As you may recall from our earlier post, only 10% of golfers who track their handicap break 80 on a regular basis, so to find that over 40% of golfers in 3 different states have single digit handicaps is surprising. It’s reasonable to assume that sample size plays a role in the result. TheGrint’s presence in Tennessee and Ohio isn’t as strong as it is in states like New York and California. So while golfers in those states who leverage TheGrint’s robust round tracking capabilities may in fact be above average players, there aren’t enough of them to measurably impact the national averages.

scores-posted-year-grint-1

The following chart shows the number of scores posted per golfer in each state on an annual basis.

Insights:

  • While, as you would likely expect, golfers in warm weather states post more scores annually, the difference in rounds played is not as significant as you might think.
  • The number of scores entered in cold weather states like New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey suggests that golfers in those states make the most of the active golf season.

Coming Soon

Stay tuned. In our next project with TheGrint we’ll take start to take a closer look at some data related to the golf courses themselves.

MyGolfSpy

STUDY: Overall Golfer Performance By Age

STUDY: Overall Golfer Performance By Age

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How Do You Measure Up?

Apart from whatever fun the game of golf offers, are we all just wasting our time? Can the wisdom of age make us better golfers, or will father time catch up before we wise up? Is stagnation the only real certainty?

We crunched the data to find the answers to these and other age-related golf questions. What we discovered may surprise you.

The Data

As we did when we discussed Golfer Performance by Handicap, we leveraged data from TheGrint, a golf handicap and stat tracking service, to take a closer look at how age impacts performance. As you’ll see from the charts, the good news is that, while each of us will invariably reach a point of diminishing returns, our golf skills may not decline as early or as rapidly as you might think. The bad news is that regardless of how long we play, we might not actually get much better either.

Worth mentioning again, because of the online and app-based nature of TheGrint, it’s reasonable to assume that its userbase skews a bit younger and more tech-savvy than the golfing population as a whole.

Before we look at the really interesting stuff, let’s take a quick look at the breakdown of our demographics, sorted by age.

age-distribution-of-study

Insights:

The highest percentage of golfers who track their scoring statistics via TheGrint are in the 30-40 year-old age group.

A comparatively small number of young golfers (under 20) and older golfers (over 70) golfers leverage TheGrint’s golf stat tracking capabilities.

While the comparative lack of participation among presumably tech-savvy teenagers is surprise (perhaps there just aren’t that many of them playing golf), it’s not surprising to see usage of a golf stat tracking service decline as age increases.

Average Scoring By Age

This graph shows the performance of golfers by age. For this chart we use both the score itself and handicap differential. The score is a good metric, and one that all golfers understand, but it doesn’t take into consideration which tees were used by the golfer. Handicap differential does exactly that, which makes it an excellent baseline for normalizing performance.

average-score-by-age

Insights:

It’s noteworthy that the outliers are at the extremes.

The 20-30 year old group shows the best performance by more than a stroke. While the reasons aren’t immediately clear, some will no doubt guess that the younger demographic has more time to devote to golf. The cynics will likely assume the young guys cheat at a greater frequency than older golfers. It’s also entirely plausible that those playing with regularity at this age group are simply more likely to be accomplished golfers than the population as a whole.

It’s equally as interesting that other than the most senior golfers, the highest scores are reported by the 30-40 year olds. To a large extent, this demographic represents golf’s lost generation; an age range that often finds us in the most intense part of our professional careers. Look at most any club’s membership roster and you’ll discover that this is a demographic that doesn’t currently spend much time on the golf course

Par 3, 4, and 5 Scoring By Age

This graph illustrates scoring by age relative to par for par 3, 4, and 5 holes.

par-3-4-5-scoring-by-age

Insights:

What’s interesting about this chart is that it shows no significant difference in scores from age 30 to age 70. While some of us will likely see our skills diminish, others will certainly improve. While that appears to be a recipe for stagnation of the average, it also offers a glimmer of hope that we can always get better.

Also noteworthy is that between the ages of 30 and 70, golfers are shown to be statistical equals. After age 70, however; scoring declines in general with Par 4 and Par 5 scoring increasing significantly. The logical assumption is that once we reach a certain age, hitting greens in regulation on longer holes becomes more difficult, if not impossible.

Average Putts By Age

This graph shows putts per round and GIR% performance of golfers by age.

avarege-putts-by-age

Insights:

First is important to understand the close relationship between Putts per Round and GIR% per round.

Missed greens lead to fewer putts.

Think about it. When you hit the Green in Regulation, your approach shot most likely comes from a longer distance than it does after you’ve missed the green. In most cases that GIR from distance will leave you farther from the hole than your wedge will after you’ve missed the green.

With that in mind, while this graph shows relatively consistent performance from age group to age group, what’s really interesting is that GIR% declines with age. Consequently, we would expect the older groups to have fewer putts per round.

The fact that the oldest golfers hit roughly the same number of putts as the younger groups runs counter to the idea that the short game is the biggest strength of the older generation. The data actually suggests that it’s strength in other areas of the game that allow seniors to keep pace with younger golfers.

Want to See More?

If you’ve enjoyed this series with TheGrint, and would like to see more, definitely let us know. We’re happy to do more digging. While you’re waiting, be sure to check out TheGrint, and start tracking your game today.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Study: Overall Golfer Performance By Handicap

Study: Overall Golfer Performance By Handicap

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How Do You Measure Up?

What separates players from pretenders?  Where does the average golfer really struggle? How much difference could one more par per round make?

Today we’re going to try to answer all of those questions and more as we take a closer look at golfer performance by handicap. Along the way we’ll show you how golfers of varying ability levels compare across several metrics, and provide you with some clues that help to explain why golf products are marketed the way they are.

To bring you this information, we’ve partnered with TheGrint, a Golf GPS and Handicap/Stat Tracker. TheGrint’s massive database provides absolutely incredible insight into the makeup of the golfing population as a whole.

How Data was Mined

Data was captured from TheGrint App and Website.

We used a total sample of 15,000 golfers who:

  • Are part of a USGA Compliant Golf Club
  • Have uploaded at least 5 scores to TheGrint

Abnormal scores (scores with handicap differentials lower than -10 or higher than 45) were removed from an initial sample of over 300,000. While it should be obvious enough, it’s worth mentioning that our data is limited to golfers who track their handicap. It’s also reasonable to assume that data from TheGrint skews towards a more tech-savvy golfer, and that could also suggest a demographic that is, on average, younger than that of the totoal golfing population as a whole.

With that said, let’s look at what we found out.

Distribution by Handicap

This graph shows the distribution of handicaps among golfers who track their scores with the Grint. This provides the foundation data that helps us to define the average golfer (based on ability level).

unnamed (12)

Insights:

  • The highest percentage of golfers who track their scores is found in the 11-15 group.
  • A comparatively small percentage of golfers with handicaps of 20+ track their scores. This could indicate that the majority of that group doesn’t keep a handicap, and may not even keep score.

What would be interesting to better understand is what motivates a golfer to keep score? Do we reach a certain ability level and decide it’s time? Are we driven to better understand our games, or do most of us simply need to be tournament legal?

Scoring Percentiles

This graph illustrates the cumulative percentage of golfers who break 80, 90, and 100 on a regular basis. If you’re looking for a reason why it doesn’t make financial sense for a golf company to cater exclusively to better players, the answer lies in this data.

unnamed (9)

Insights:

  • Only 10% of golfers who track their handicap break 80 on a regular basis. Let me say that again. Only 10% of golfers break 80 on a regular basis.
  • 49% of golfers break 90 on a regular basis.
  • 86% of golfers break 100.

Where would you spend your marketing dollars? Success hinges on the average golfer.

Of course, there are things the data doesn’t tell us. How long does it takes the average golfer to break 100? How much harder is it to break 90…and then 80. We’re going to need more data.

Birdies, Pars, and Bogeys

While the following graph looks scary, it’s not nearly as complex as it look. It is interesting, however; as it shows how many birdies, pars, bogeys,etc. each handicap bracket makes per round. For example, note that the 11-15 handicap bracket makes .5 birdies per round (1 every 2 rounds) to go along with 5.1 pars and 7.7 bogeys per round.

unnamed (8)

Insights:

  • While many believe better golfers make several birdies per round, the data suggest that eliminating big numbers (double bogey or worse) is actually the key to significantly lowering your scores.
  • The chart provides an excellent guide for what it takes to get to the next level. For example, you can easily see where your game falls short compares to the average of those with similar or better handicaps. Getting to the next level could be a simple as making one more par per round or eliminating a single blow-up hole.

Strokes Over Par

unnamed (7)

This graph shows the average score relative to par for all holes. For example, Handicap 1-10 golfers score 0.65 strokes over par on par 4 (an average of 4.65).

Insights:

  • Very good golfers excel on Par 5’s, but comparatively struggle on Par 3s while less skilled players perform comparatively better on Par 3s, but struggle with Par 5s.

The discrepancy is likely explained by the fact that good golfers are generally longer and more accurate with the driver and often leave themselves with shorter shots into greens. Par 3s for better players tend to be longer (back tees), which often means a long iron is required.

Less accomplished golfers struggle with Par 5s because they present more opportunities to miss (hit bad shots), while Par 3s offer a scoring advantage because they often play 150 yards or less from the forward tees.

Coming Soon

Is there a correlation between age and golfer performance? In our next study powered by TheGrint, we’ll show you what the numbers say.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Survey – Your Life As a Golfer

Survey – Your Life As a Golfer

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With all this doom and gloom hovering over the industry we figured it’s probably important to better understand how exactly it is that you (actual golfers) came to play this game. If we can understand what sucked the current generation of golfers into the madness that is golf, maybe we can figure out a way to lure the next generation to the game as well (at least the guys who don’t take up lacrosse).

We also wonder what, if any, correlations exist between the origins of your life as a golfer (when you started, where you started, and how often you play) and the equipment that’s in your bag today. Was your equipment destiny predetermined?

We’d sure like to find out.

The Enticement (Giveaway)

This survey is a bit longer than our previous ones (just a few more questions) so to entice you to take a whole 5 minutes out of your day to get through it, we’re going to randomly select one lucky respondent to receive a really cool prize package from the MyGolfSpy Vault. Technically we don’t actually have a vault, but rest assured, somebody is going to get something VERY cool.

Take the Survey Now

Survey Link for Mobile Users: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YouAsAGolfer

When the Results Are Tallied. . .

We think there is some incredibly interesting information to be gleaned from this survey. We’re definitely looking forward to sharing the results with all of you. Be sure to come back to find out what we learn.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)