A lot of hubbub has been made this year about the new “Strokes gained putting” stat on the PGA tour. This stat is the best thing going for quantifying just how well you’re rolling the rock. The only real issues with the stat are that it relies on precise shotlink data to determine distance from the hole, and doesn’t take into account a downhill double breaker on a 14 stimp green.
I wanted a way to put into a stat, how well I putt over a certain number of holes. I wanted a way to tell the story of my putting in the winter compared to my putting in the summer. Simple stats like putts per round, and even putts per green in regulation just don’t give me an accurate big picture look at my putting. So I came up with my own.
I’ll preface this next paragraph by saying I’m not a statistician in any stretch of the wildest imagination. But I’m alright with numbers and I have a decent amount of common sense, so here’s what my puny brain vomited up. Putting Strength Index.
Seems simple right? The percentage of strokes that are putts multiplied by the inverse of your GIR percentage. It is simple, but I think it could be effective. I also think it could be downright useful if I can work out the kinks and poke some holes in it. Here are a couple of examples to put it into numbers.
If a PGA professional shoots a round of 71, while putting 29 times hitting 12 greens in regulation (60th in rank of each stat on tour, currently) his PSI will look something like this.
I’m not going to guess on what the “average” golfers stats might be for a round, but I feel like I’m average to slightly above average on the spectrum of golfers worldwide, so I’ll use my stats from The Home Course last week.
So you can see the range of PSI. The only real problem with this stat that I’ve encountered in my limited testing is that if you don’t hit a green, you divide by zero. I think if you try that we enter a nuclear winter, or something. So it’s not perfect (SURPRISE!), but it’s not really created to be for one round. As with any statistic, it’s accuracy shines when the pool of data is expanded.
Since this isn’t a round specific stat, you can use it for 9 holes, you can use it for 36 holes, or you can use it for 371 holes. You can use it to pinpoint the period or series of rounds during the year at which you putted best. You can use it by course or for the entire year. I extrapolated my average stats out for a 30 round year (90 score with 37 putts and 6 GIR) and came up with this. (1110/2700)*(540/180)=1.23GIR for the year. With this info I know that at The Home Course, I putted roughly as well as my average despite hitting 6 less putts in my round.
So there it is. The next logical step, in my opinion is to work in a factor on putts over 3 feet and 7 feet. Those happen to be the length (within a couple of inches on either side) of a standard length putter and a standard flag-stick. Us “men of the munis” may not have shotlink, but we aren’t totally void of measurement tools. The endgame for this stat is to have “our” own version of Strokes Gained Putting.